After Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe, Grant McCann promised to freshen things up for the trip to Shrewsbury Town and there were three changes, one of them being for the injured Herbie Kane. Sadly Rovers seemed anything but fresh in a dismal first half; they were lethargic and ponderous instead.
Marko Marosi had already made two excellent saves from Fejiri Okenabirhie and Tyreese Campbell by the time Josh Laurent curled one past him from the edge of the box after 18 minutes and some dozy defending allowed Campbell to spring the offside trap and put the home side 2-0 up by half-time.
The situation cried out for James Coppinger, and the introduction of the Maestro at the break prompted an improved second half but no tangible reward. Tommy Rowe fed in John Marquis who spooned his shot over the bar from close range. Marquis then claimed he had forced the ball over the line from close range after Andy Butler flicked on Ali Crawford’s corner. Rovers’ frustration was complete in the closing stages when substitute Kieran Sadlier miskicked in front of goal and then Marquis and Sadlier finally forced saves from the under-occupied home goalkeeper Steve Arnold.
So Rovers missed an opportunity to open up a gap with seventh-placed Peterborough United and close the gap on Saturday’s visitors Charlton Athletic. They have not won away in the League for two months and this travel sickness needs to be addressed if Rovers are to avoid missing out on the top six.
by John Coyle