AFTER what looked to be a dire position for Rovers just over a week ago, things look a lot brighter today.
Watford rolled into town on Saturday, a game on paper that we had a great chance of victory if we could repeat the form shown at Norwich in midweek.
With chairman John Ryan and fellow directors ‘banging the drum’ in the South Stand there was a great atmosphere in the ground and we were optimistic.
But no game is easy, and things looked tricky when Danny Graham headed the visitors into the lead midway through the first half.
Hands up who thought ‘here we go again?’ but just on the stroke of half-time Jason Euell, who looked suspiciously offside, crowned his home debut with a goal. to level the scores.
Things would have looked even better if keeper Loach hadn’t beaten out Jason’s one-on-one in the opening minutes of the second-half.
In keeping with the bizarre refereeing, Watford were reduced to ten men on 82 minutes but Rovers, no matter how hard they tried, could not get the winning goal.
So it was of to Pride Park, a ground where we had a 100 per cent record in the league since we were promoted, on Tuesday with the 623 other Rovers’ fans - the numbers being down due to Derby’s insistence on keeping the fixture a Platinum plus game.
Things had got off to a panicky start, as I found out that some fans had turned up for the coaches who had been booked on for the original Boxing Day game and assumed they would be on for the rearranged fixture.
Luckily we managed to get all aboard, but getting out of town took at least 25 minutes due to those stupidly-arranged roadworks on White Rose Way and the M18.
Derby, who had a good victory over the Blades last Saturday, must have thought we were there for the taking.
Although the Rams had the better of the opening 20 minutes, Rovers stepped up a gear and took the lead just before half-time with a goal by ‘King’ Billy - a goal reminiscent of Lewis Guy’s goal on the same ground three years ago.
There was only one team in it in the second half as Rovers shot out of the starting blocks and increased the lead after 47 minutes with a second goal by Sharp after great work by Keegan, Moussa and Oster.
He should have followed it up with a third, but he pulled his next shot, aggravating his groin strain. Another close-range header was saved before Joseph Mills fired in a screamer to make it 3-0. It was a good night for the Mills family, as ex-Rover and older brother Matty scored the winner for Reading against Everton in the FA Cup.
The Rams did pull a consolation goal back in stoppage time, but it was too little, too late, to prevent Rovers taking three very important points back up the M1 with them. Let’s just hope Billy and Brian Stock’s injuries were not made any worse.
The whole team were magic. George Friend looks a natural at centre half, as does Hirdy at right back, Moussa had his best game to date, whilst young Woodsy made three or four very important saves.
Tomorrow sees the long-awaited game at Elland Road. Any bets as to how long it will be before the Weeds’ fans starting singing to us ‘Your just a town full of Leeds’ fans. We will, of course, give them back “Did you cry when Hayter scored”. We have sold around 2,000 tickets, and have nine official coaches travelling (there are still a few seats left).
Any positive result from there will be a bonus, and would we not all like the bragging rights again.
The game is closely followed by Coventry’s visit to the Keepmoat on Tuesday night.
For fans travelling to the Leeds game on the coaches, the bus lists will be posted in the bike stand cover near car park 1 so you can see at a glance what coach you are on.
Coach times Retford 11.45, Harworth 11.50, Bawtry/Rossington 12.00, Hare and Tortoise 12.05, Sprotbrough Ivanhoe 12.10, Infirmary 12.15, and Keepmoat 12.30.
Members Fares £10 (adult) £9 (OAP), Under-16’s £8.00. Add £2 if you are a non-member although you can join the Supporters’ Club on the day and get your £2. back Enjoy the games
Rovers ‘till I drop...