After 18 terrible months, 18 months with no live football, no fans in stadiums, not being able to travel any further than your local shop let alone away, the prospect of a Tuesday night in Accrington felt like an all-expenses paid trip to a sun-drenched oasis.
The pies tasted better. The pre-match pint hit harder. And with excitement and pastry coursing through my veins, I arrived at the stadium with a song in my heart…
… and then Pontus Dahlberg somehow palmed Joe Pritchard’s weak shot against the post and into the net and I remembered that watching Rovers away is often a miserable, empty experience. Welcome back.
In his defence, the Swedish stopper did follow that howler with a couple of smart saves in quick succession as Rovers were carved open. From there, the windy conditions ensured a game of attrition in which Richie Wellens’ men could only muster a single shot on target. Rovers often looked utterly lost in the final third with Tiago Cukur out of his depth and Aidan Barlow and Dan Gardner struggling to impose any kind of influence on the game.
The introduction of Omar Bogle and Cameron John added fresh impetus but for all their huffing and puffing, Rovers never looked in danger of troubling the Accrington keeper. Indeed, it was Stanley who had the best chance of the second half as John Bostock’s woefully underhit backpass saw Colby Bishop through on goal, only for Dahlberg to save again.
A worryingly underwhelming performance.
by Rob Johnson