Bristol Rovers fan's view with Dennis Payter
THE wet and slippery conditions made for a fast and entertaining game with the draw a fair result against a Bradford team which is going well this season.
What we lacked in skill, we made up for in plenty of enthusiasm, fight and endeavour although having done the hard work of scoring three times it was disappointing to concede three in a home game.
Just as we were wondering what on earth Rovers were doing signing a 33-year-old on loan, who cannot get in the Aldershot side Guy Branston cropped up and gave us the perfect start.
Tom Eaves and Michael Smith both deserved their goals for the shift they both put in. Eaves covered a lot of ground while Joe Anyinsah again had a lively game alongside him.
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I was surprised to see Smith and Seanan Clucas line up in the middle in preference to the out-of-favour Ollie Norburn, although Smith did justify his selection with an impressive all-action display. I don't know what Norburn has done to upset Mark McGhee because on his early season form the youngster from Leicester is still needed in the middle.
Once again, we made that mistake of taking an early lead because all it did was upset the visitors. Their blend of fast, attacking football showed why they are challenging at the top.
We have now conceded nine goals in our last three games as our defence continues to look very poor. Despite Branston's goal, his strong display and very positive attitude in his post-match interview, I am not sure he is the answer to our problems.
With Branston playing alongside Garry Kenneth and Jim Paterson we look very slow at the back. I was surprised Paterson was not replaced near the end as he struggled to cut out the string of crosses coming in from the left and another worry was again that two of the goals came from headers.
It was amazing that the mass push and shove ended with Wayne Brown, the smallest man on the field, getting a red card. McGhee joked: "He must have punched someone in the knee cap."
Most of the players got involved in the scuffle on the right-hand touchline, but not Derek Riordan, because, as you know, he likes to stay on the left.
I presume (and you only have to hope) that as McGhee would say, "We have still not seen the best of Riordan" because once again on Saturday he failed to have much impression on the game.
It was the first time in nine away games against Rovers that the Bantams have not been beaten, so I'm sure the Yorkshire men were content to settle for a point.
Now we have to take the same fighting spirit, minus Wayne Brown, into next Saturday's grudge game at Wycombe. The players surely won't need lifting for this one.