Fine draw at Norwich raises hopes that we are back on track

Great point: Rovers Mark Wilson with Norwich's Henri Lansbury at Carrow Road.              Picture: Stephen Pond
Great point: Rovers Mark Wilson with Norwich's Henri Lansbury at Carrow Road. Picture: Stephen Pond
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THINGS can only get better as the song goes, and if results are anything to go by we are back on track.

Faced with two very difficult away games at Swansea and Norwich - both teams boasting great home records - in four days, was a daunting task.

Especially with 13 players ruled out through injury. No wonder chairman John Ryan tried to get Tuesday’s game postponed.

After the 6-0 goal thumping by Ipswich, to only concede three at the Liberty Stadium was a bonus.

If things were not bad enough already, James Coppinger tore a thigh muscle in the warm up, forcing Dean Shiels to start and leaving us with just three centre-halves and a goalie on the subs bench.

Things did not start too well and we conceded in the first six minutes.

A feeling of ‘here we go again’ swept through the away fans. Swansea followed it up midway through the half with a second.

I don’t know if the Swans took their foot off the throttle in the second half, or it was more resolute defending, but we only allowed one more goal to be put past us.

It was certainly a baptism of fire for debutantes Franck Moussa and Jason Euell. The one disappointing thing was that we did not have a single shot at goal throughout the game.

But the players available put in a great shift, encouraged throughout by the 200 or so fans giving the full backing to manager Sean O’Driscoll and the boys.

The support culminated in a text to the supporters at the end of the game from media manager Steve Utley to thank the Rovers fans for their support on behalf of Sean, the players and management.

I think a lot of Rovers fans will have had a headache from the drum, but it really created a fantastic atmosphere from our fans - a thing not lost on the Swans’ fans who said how well we backed the team.

On the five-hour long trip back, fans were looking anxiously for the other results as we did not want to be dragged further into trouble.

Thankfully, our plight has not worsened that much despite just one win in ten games.

Unfortuntely. I could not make Tuesday night’s trip to Carrow Road - a team which has scored eight injury-time winning goals throughout the season.

We could only muster two coaches for the trip, but still had several hundred fans backing the lads. Unfortunately no drum was allowed.

Seasoned striker Grant Holt fired the Canaries in front, but the story had a happier ending as we grabbed a late equaliser ourselves, albeit from an own goal, to claim a well deserved point.

By all accounts the two performances were like chalk and cheese, as the whole squad battled for the deserved point.

George Friend had an outstanding game at centre-back, but all the players could be proud of their efforts and if this continues we should be out of the danger zone pretty quickly.

By all accounts the stewarding at Carrow Road was over zealous, resulting in a few complaints from Rovers’ fans.

It was alright for the home fans to stand up and support their team, but when it came to our fans it was a different matter.

The Supporters Club buses rolled back into Donny just before 2am, full of mostly tired and weary souls but happy that Rovers had stopped the rot.

It was with some surprise to see Sean appear at the Fans’ Forum the next night at Thorne. It speaks volumes for the man after being on the road until the early hours to answer the fans’ questions along with Mickey Walker, Steve Uttley and chief executive Dave Morris,

The night was attended by over 50 fans, who asked some great questions.

If you live in the Thorne area it’s worth giving Brian Armitage and his the group in that area your support.

The next forum is at Carcroft Club on Thursday, March 31.

Tomorrow sees the visit of Watford. Let’s hope that we sting the Hornets and claim three points. They got beat at home by Bristol City on Tuesday so let us compound their misery and make it a bad week for them.

Hopefully we should have some injured players back in contention, as we currently have 13 players on the injury list, but John Ryan’s plea to the FA to postpone Tuesday game fell on deaf ears.

Give the lads your full vocal backing and bring a friend as it a reduced admission fixture. Then it’s off to Pride Park on Tuesday, a game we can win as the Rams are on a worse run than us.

Coaches to Derby leave Retford 4.45pm and pick up at Harworth 4.50, Rossington/Bawtry 5.00, Hare and Tortoise 5.05, Infirmary 5.15, and the Keepmoat 5.30, closely followed by the trip to Leeds tomorrow week. Please book early for the coaches. A reminder for the Leeds and Forest games please book via myself only on 07961-727769.

Enjoy the game. Rovers ‘till I drop.