Bristol Rovers defender Lee Brown experiences full gamut of emotions
Bristol Rovers defender Lee Brown says he experienced the best and worst moments of his career in a matter of minutes at the Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
John Ward's side were closing in on a hard-fought 1-0 victory over relegation rivals Barnet before striker Harry Crawford plundered a last-minute equaliser that looked almost certain to earn Edgar Davids' side a share of the spoils.
Rovers striker Ryan Brunt, however, claimed a stoppage-time winner to add to Fabian Broghammer's 77th-minute opener to ensure a crucial last-gasp victory in what was a thrilling crescendo.
"I couldn't believe it when Barnet equalised," said Brown. "It was the worst feeling I've had in a football match for a very long time. I honestly thought that was it; it was going to be a draw.
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"When Brunty took his chance to score with virtually the last kick of the game it was probably the best feeling I've had in a football match throughout my entire career.
"You could also see and hear that the crowd enjoyed it as much as the boys did. I said in the changing room afterwards: Can you imagine what the morale would be like around the place if we riding high at the top of the league? It would be unbelievable; second to none.
"Even when we have been bottom of the league the fans have stuck with us. There can't be many other clubs around where that would be the case."
Rovers climbed out of the bottom two for the first time in almost two months on the back of Friday night's victory and will attempt to build on a three-match winning sequence when the players return to action at Cheltenham Town tonight (7.45pm).
"We came in on Saturday morning still buzzing from what happened on Friday night," Brown said. "It is important that we put all that excitement behind us now and focus solely on the game at Cheltenham.
"It was a great feeling for everybody involved on Friday, but it's all about moving on quickly and seeing if we can win another three games in a row. You have to be ambitious, but we also have to take things one game at a time and the one at Cheltenham is going to be difficult because there is going to be a bit of spice about it as it is a local derby of sorts.
"We go there as underdogs because they are up there flying in the league and we are where we are. We have a lot of respect for them as a team, but we know that we have ability amongst our own squad, too."
The trip to Whaddon Road, where Rovers will face a team with realistic ambitions of earning automatic promotion to League One, is the first assignment in a busy four-week period during which Ward's men face five further games.
"February is going to be another massive month for us," Brown said. "We have six games to come and a good return of points could really push us on into mid-table.
"It is important, however, not to forget that we are still firmly entrenched in a battle against relegation. We have responded well to the new manager, but we haven't really achieved anything yet.
"If we can maintain our current form over 20 games maybe we will be able to say we have done a good job. If we finish the season outside the bottom two I'd be happy with that, considering where we have come from. Anything else would be a real bonus for me.
"We can all talk about getting in the top-half of the table, but realistically we are still in the bottom six and if we lose a couple we could be right back where we started. We can't take anything for granted."