WHAT a start to the season. Let’s hope last Saturday’s trip to Brighton is not a taste of things to come.
We set off from Retford on coach one at 7.30am, all in high spirits and looking forward to the visit to Brighton’s new stadium.
Unfortunately, an hour into our journey, the engine lost complete power.
Rolling our sleeves up, we stripped down the unit to find we were missing an idler pulley on the engine drive and the drive belt was all chewed up. After a 50 minute hold up, we set off again.
We had to change drivers at Stanstead services, this cost us a further 40 minutes, and at this point I was beginning to panic that we would not get to the game until nearer half-time.
The one advantage of being delayed was that the coaches ahead of us informed us of the hold ups on the Dartford crossing - the M25 had been shut for over a day due to an accident which the players and fans were caught up in late Friday making it a horrendous journey.
We decided to go through the Blackwall Tunnel instead, which saved us more misery, passing the impressive Olympic stadium on the way.
It was great tracking all the other coaches as to which way they had gone to avoid the hold ups.
We eventually pulled into the stadium at 2.50 and, after a frantic dash to the ticket office, I got in just on kick-off.
The ground reminded me of the Galpharm at Huddersfield - two good stands, two stupid ends.
Rovers spoilt the Brighton party in the first half, when ‘King’ Billy became the first goal scorer in a competitive match at the new stadium. Up to half-time, Rovers controlled the game, but the game went the pattern as often happened last season.
We sat back on our lead and things started to go badly.
An horrendous challenge by Dunk on Sharp saw him suffer a serious ankle injury and had to be stretchered from the pitch. Brighton boss Gus Poyet, who had earlier been sent to the stands, made a substitution that changed the game, and Buckley fired home the equaliser.
James Hayter was also stretchered off late in the game.
Seven minutes into injury time, Buckley scored his second and the winning goal.
As we had got to the game late, the signed frame shirt the Supporters’ Club were to present to our Brighton counterparts, who had supported us through our dark days, had to be presented outside the ground after the game.
At least the trip home was quicker, but all the fans’ thoughts and talk was the injuries with speculation ranging from a broken leg in three places to serious ligament injuries.
Lightning can’t strike twice in successive games we thought, but it did.
Tuesday’s Carling Cup game against Tranmere at the Keepmoat Stadium shows that it can with Ryan Mason also being stretched off with an ankle ligament injury.
Has manager Sean O’Driscoll run over a black cat or something?
The game saw a patched up Rovers play a brilliant passing game to record a 3-0 victory to go forward to the next round.
Kyle Bennett scored, what he described as his best ever goal in the second half, after Chris Brown, on his second debut for the club, had struck home a fourth-minute penalty with Mason also guiding home a great goal before the break.
It was great to be back at the Keepmoat, and the 4,339 crowd was one of the better ones on the night.
I am looking forward to the Hammers coming down here tomorrow, with the Florists (Nottingham Forest) due on Tuesday.
Let’s get some points on the board. I just hope our luck has changed.
The Viking Supporters Club are holding their AGM tomorrow in the Lakeside bar I believe at 11-11.30.
Don’t forget to use the home match coach from Retford (1pm) , Harworth (1.20) and Rossington (1.30.)