Cards aim to start another run
3:45pm, Thu 18th Sep 2014
Bristol Rovers v Woking
3pm on Saturday 20 September 2014
In midweek Garry Hill’s side narrowly lost their unbeaten record at Torquay United. Going nine games undefeated was a fantastic achievement but they now need to ensure that that defeat is not quickly followed by another. In playing away at Bristol Rovers the Cards will probably be appearing in front of their biggest league crowd of the season but Woking showed last season, in their superb display at Luton Town, that they are not over-awed by the big occasion. Let’s hope the Cards can play with the same spirit and skill on Saturday.
The Cards now lie third in the table, behind second-placed Torquay on goal difference and a point behind leaders Barnet. September always looked as though it would be a testing month and few Cards fans probably expected the side to claim nine points out of twelve so far – which puts the loss at Torquay in perspective. The side will be keen, though, to show that the club’s early season form is not just a ‘flash in the pan’ but presages a genuine challenge for a top five finish. There could be no better way of demonstrating that than bouncing back from Tuesday’s defeat with a positive result at Rovers.
The Cards will presumably still be missing captain Mark Ricketts and, of course, long-term absentee Kevin Betsy, and there must be a doubt over James Clarke, who has impressed strongly in recent games at right back but who was forced off at Torquay. Ross Worner will presumably continue in goal in the absence of Aaron Howe and Jake Cole.
Rovers were relegated from the Football League at the end of last season: the first time they have experienced life outside the Football League. The side plays at the Memorial Stadium in the suburb of Horfield, sharing the ground with Bristol Rugby Club. They are known as the Gas from the old gasworks that was next to their former ground at Eastville, although their traditional nickname was the Pirates.
Gasheads experienced a rude introduction to life in the Vanarama Conference as they saw their side draw at home to Grimsby on the opening day and then lose successively to Barnet away and, much more worryingly, to Altrincham at home. But things improved subsequently and Rovers have now won their last three games, beating Wrexham at home, Lincoln City away and, on Tuesday night, Nuneaton Town at home by a 3-1 scoreline. Rovers now sit in 10th place in the table, four points behind Woking.
Manager Darrell Clarke was formerly manager of Salisbury City and became Rovers’ manager in March 2014, with eight games of last season remaining, having been assistant manager to John Ward. Among Clarke’s summer signings were Daniel Leadbitter, a right back from Hereford United; midfielder Lee Mansell, captain of Torquay United; Matty Taylor, striker, from Forest Green Rovers; midfielder Stuart Sinclair, signed from Salisbury City; and, most recently, Colombian Angelo Balanta. Adam Cunnington, a Conference second top scorer with Tamworth, is on loan from Cambridge United.
Bristol Rovers Football Club,
The Memorial Stadium,
Tel: 0117 9096648.
Official website: www.bristolrovers.co.uk
The Cards Trust coach leaves at 11.30am. Cost is £16 for members and £21 for non-members. Ring the Club Shop on 01483 772470 or email email@example.com to book your place.
Exit the M4 at junction 19 and join the M32. Travel along the M32 for 3.1 miles until you reach junction 2. Here, exit the motorway and take the third exit signposted Horfield and Southmead and follow the road through a division and a roundabout both of which have clear signs reading "The Memorial Stadium". Once through this area you join Muller Road and you should continue to drive along it for 1.4 miles until you come to signal-controlled crossroads. Signposted right is Horfield Health Centre and Library. At this junction ignore the sign and turn left into Filton Avenue where the ground is located almost immediately on the left.
The Rovers’ website advises that it’s very difficult to park close to the ground but that finding a space within a five to ten-minute walk is usually relatively easy - parking on Muller Road is a popular choice, as is Gloucester Road, although this is often more difficult. If Muller Road and Gloucester Road are busy then there are many other roads across the other side of Gloucester Road - travel past the Wellington pub along Kellaway Avenue and you'll find another area of roads often used for matchday parking.
Bristol Parkway Station is about two miles from the ground. Trains from Paddington also run to Bristol Temple Meads station in the city centre. The Rovers’ website advises as follows re public transport : From the city centre a number of buses run up Gloucester Road and along Filton Avenue directly past the Memorial Stadium. Detailed timetables and bus numbers can be found at the First Group website. Trains also run from the city's main station, Bristol Temple Meads, to Montpelier (less than two miles from the stadium) and to Bristol Parkway (a similar distance). Timetables for trains can be found at the First Great Western website. A taxi to the Memorial Stadium from the city centre is likely to cost around £6, although with a standing charge of not much less than £3 wherever you cab from, it's likely to make little difference if you catch a taxi if this is your preferred method of transport.
Tickets can be purchased in advance: see the Rovers’ website. ‘On the day’ ticket prices are:
Terrace: Adults £18; Concessions £11; U18 £10
South Stand: Adults £20.50; Concessions £12.50; U18 £11.50
The Cards’ next home game on Saturday 27 September is a very attractive fixture against Kidderminster Harriers, usually one of the best footballing sides in the league.
Come on, you Cards!