IT was a case of so near yet so far for Rovers in Saturday’s game against Birmingham at St Andrews.
We were a couple of minutes away from picking up a well deserved point but, as we have done so often in the past, we conceded very late on.
Up to the last 15 minutes it looked like we had done enough. Although Birmingham had more shots on goal the defence again looked solid.
But we shot ourselves in the foot by putting ourselves under pressure and Marlon King does not need asking twice as he bragged a brace.
With Forest losing, a result at St Andrews would have put us in good stead for this weekend against Leicester.
Carl Ikeme pulled of a top drawer save to deny the Blues in the first half but when our goal came it was sheer class. James O’Connor fed Billy Sharpe, who in turn put a great ball to Copps and he instinctively picked out Marc-Antoine Fortune who made no mistake.
The goal silenced the already quiet home supporters. In contrast our fans were up for it, giving the side great backing.
It was a shame then that only the full contracted players acknowledged our support at the end.
A lot of fans commented on how friendly a welcome the home stewards gave the Rovers’ supporters.
One steward must have shook the hand of every Rovers’ male fan and gave the ladies a peck on the cheek. He also looked after the elderly fans by guiding them to their seats in the lower part of the stand. For most of the game my mate from Birmingham, John Belia, a Rovers season ticket holder, was looking forward to rubbing his wife Sue’s nose. She is a Blues season ticket holder and was sitting in the Tilton Road stand. I would love to have been a fly on the wall when they got home!
Even the Police were friendly. They virtually made the A45 a clearway all the way back to the M42, closing off all the roads and helping us get home in good time. I wish other forces would take note and treat away fans in this manner.
Monday night saw the Supporters’ Club Christmas raffle drawn. I felt really sorry for one committee member, Dave Hickling, who had sold more than £175 worth of tickets to work colleagues - mainly Leeds United fans - and did not have one ticket drawn out.
In fact I felt so sorry that I trawled through the drum to prove that I had put his tickets in the draw!
Winning numbers can be seen in the local papers, and the VSC forum, and hopefully the match day programme tomorrow.
The home game against Leicester is crucial as the Foxes are not having things their own way, so hopefully there is another three points for the taking.
A lot of credit must go to Rovers’ youth team who gave Chelsea a hard game in their FA Youth Cup third round tie against Chelsea at Staines on Wednesday night before losing 2-1.
We even had the cheek to go in front with a goal from Liam Wakefield, a goal he will treasure I am sure.
Well done to the lads and manager’s Paul Wilson and Paul Stancliffe.
With Rovers’ boss Dean Saunders promising more focus on the youth team, the future looks bright.
The next away game sees us off to Burnley on Boxing Day and we are running a couple of coaches early to the game, stopping off for a pint, food and lunchtime karaoke - it should be fun. These buses will leave Retford at 9.30, Harworth 9.35, Bawtry/Rossington 9.45, Hare and Tortoise 9.50 and Keepmoat 10.15. Please book early as there are only a few seats left.
The normal buses are leaving Sprotborough 11.05, Infirmary 11.15 and Keepmoat 11.30. Again, please book early as the coach companies need to know how many coaches we need.
There is also a bus running from North Branch - phone Jim on 077803-16923. For the other coaches phone Paul 07961-727769/01427-880154 or Len 01302-817347.
Let’s go out and beat the Foxes.Rovers ‘till I drop