Fans View: Almost a full sackful from Santa for Rovers

Penalty! But should George Long have been red-carded for this foul on David Syers?                                     PICTURE: steve parkin.
Penalty! But should George Long have been red-carded for this foul on David Syers? PICTURE: steve parkin.
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Well Santa has been kind to Rovers, giving us seven points from a possible nine, writes Paul Mayfield - but how close did we come to a maximum haul?

We took an early lead at Oldham when Rob Jones was first to react as the ball came back off the upright, but were pegged back by a wonder strike from the Latics.

We dominated the second half but a point looked the best we were going to get, before a last minute cross was headed into the net by David Syers.

Saturday saw us take the trip over the Pennines again. and how Preston can say we had just over 450 fans in the away end, beggars belief, as we estimate 900 or so made the trip.

We again got made a perfect start, Syers seeing his shot come back off the post and roll over the line in the first minute. It was to be an interesting day for David who was later left behind by the team coach!

Then David Cotterill swung in a free kick which eluded everyone to settle in the back of the net and the game was wrapped up 10 minutes from time when Kyle Bennett was foulded in the box and Billy Paynter drilled home the spot-kick.

It was good to hear Sheffield United had been beaten by Hartlepool, so we were joint second , with only goal difference seperating us. It had been Rovers best performance of the season to date.

So to the mouth-watering New Year’s Day fixture against the Blades. They had sold 4,300 tickets, and we were were heading for our biggest gate of the season, thankfully, as the two highest crowds previously at the Moat this season have been the Fireworks display and the One Direction charity game.

Rovers took the lead with a penalty, after that man Syers had been fouled. Should the keeper have got an early bath, was one of the questions at half-time. Paynter again converted and seconds into the second half, we nearly increased our lead when Hume’s effort struck the upright and bounced out to safety. We were not to be denied as David Cotterill’s free kick was headed home by Syers, to continue his rich vein of goalscoring form.

Rovers were cruising and the Blades had hardly threatened Gary Woods’ goal, but history was to repeat itself, from the game at Bramall Lane a couple of seasons ago, when we were winning 2-0 had a player sent off, then were pegged back in the seventh minute of injury time to a 2-2 draw. This time Billy Paynter was shown a straight red card for an innoculous challenge on McMahon, then they were awarded a highly- debatable penalty, Griffin allegedly tugging at the shirt of one of the Blades subs, Blackman converting the spot kick.

With the clock in the final minute of stoppage time, the ball was played into our box, stuck a post and there was Kitson to fire the ball home for an underserved equaliser. He did the same to us last season for Portsmouth, and you can see why he is unpopular with Rovers fans, as he celebrated and gestured to us in the West Stand.

So it was two points dropped, but we can go top of League One tomorrow as our rivals are in the FA Cup, when we host Colchester.