Stylish Rovers Ousted by Lucky Vale

by on 13/12/05 at 11:57 pm

A fluid Gas performance was not rewarded with an FA Cup 3rd Round tie as a fortunate Port Vale spawned their way into the next round.

A now settled Rovers eleven took to the hallowed turf of the Memorial Ground today off the back of three wins and the fact that they outplayed their League One opponents in the first meeting at Vale Park.

The now more-confident Shearer was in goal, and the back four was comprised of the solid-looking Lescott, Hinton, Elliott and Carruthers.
The difference between the Rovers back four of now compared to a few months ago is evident.
Hinton is now playing in his preferred position, Carruthers is putting in the effort of two players at left back and the super Steve Elliott is beginning to get his fellow defenders really organised.

The Midfield contained Hunt and Disley in the middle with Gibb and Campbell on the wings, with Junior and Richie up front to lead the way.

After a choppy five minute settling-down period Rovers began to get the ball on the deck and start stringing the passes together, with things starting at the back where Elliott and Hinton are now more than happy to play the simple ball wide to the full backs or midfield, rather than trying to slam the ball over the top for Junior to run on to.

However, in the testicle-hammeringly irritating way that football is, Port Vale took the lead on 22 minutes.
A chancy ball over the back of the Rovers defence seemed to be bouncing its way out for a goal kick, but a run by a Vale midfielder saw the ball scuffed back across goal.

The first Vale player to it kicked air which saw the ball run through his legs and on to Trinidad and Tobago international Mark Birchall, who miscued a shot straight at Shearer, only for the Gas ???Keeper to see it skewed past him by the outstretched leg of Aaron Lescott.

A big blow obviously, but never fear, this is Trollope and Lawrence brand Rovers- with added levels of passing and patience.
The Gas didn???t resort to long ball, or panic football, but continued to apply their passing play to a relatively open match.

We saw ball after ball either whipped into the box from the wing, or played to Junior or Richie???s feet however due to some sterling defending all match long by ???82er Clayton Fortune.

The next 68 minutes were all Rovers, a combination of crosses from Gibb, Campbell, Carruthers and a couple by Elliott meant we were rueing a more dominant force in the air up front, however I feel the same performance against a weaker defence would have yielded at least a brace of goals.

Chance-wise Walker had an excellent left-foot long-ranger tipped wide, Junior had a grass cutter cut out at the last minute, Elliott hit the bar with a header and Campbell had one cleared off the line by the impressive sh*thead Fortune.

Unfortunately for Rovers it was one of those games where we couldn???t find that clinical touch up front to unlock the floodgates- but don???t get me wrong, I was thoroughly pleased by tonight???s display- and Gasheads should be nothing but proud of the boys.

It was nice to see the majority of Gasheads stay and applaud the team after the final whistle- something not done after a defeat for a long while.

However, onto the league and the home visit of Torquay United- if we play anywhere near as well as we did tonight than I can see other result than a Gas victory.

Onwards and upwards Gasheads- This is the time to be getting behind the boys as we try to propel ourselves up the table.

???The chosen XI would suffer a loss in battle, but would only emerge stronger against the yellow-gulls from the south-westerly land??? – 5:00 From the Book of Warboys

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