Laithwaite Independent Financial Advisers
3:00pm - SaturdaySat 20th SeptemberSep 2014
| Att: 6028

Bristol Rovers
Bristol Rovers
2 - 0


Cards aim to start another run

Brian Caffarey
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,
Filton Avenue,
BS7 0BF.
Tel: 0117 9096648.

Official website:

By coach

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 to book your place.

By car

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.

By train

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!

Cards slip to second defeat

Brian Caffarey
11:23pm, Sat 20th Sep 2014
Bristol Rovers 2 Woking 0
20 September 2014

The Cards suffered their second successive defeat on the road this afternoon at the hands of a resurgent Bristol Rovers side at a lively Memorial Stadium. Garry Hill’s side got off to the worst possible start, conceding in the third minute as Adam Cunnington volleyed home. They more than held their own in the remainder of the first half, causing some anxiety to Rovers fans, who wanted to see their side build on their early lead. But the Cards found it hard to keep their passing game going in the second half and Rovers wrapped the game up in the 86th minute with a fine Lee Mansell strike from a free-kick. Woking now find themselves in 4th place in the table, with two home games coming up against Kidderminster Harriers and Nuneaton Town.

Adam Newton started at right back in place of the injured James Clarke, while John Goddard got the nod in midfield ahead of Keiran Murtagh.

The Gas went straight onto the attack. A half-cleared corner led to a cross to the far post where an unmarked Adam Cunnington sweetly volleyed home, giving Ross Worner no chance.

It took a few minutes for the Cards to re-group but, when they did so, they began to pass the ball well, making good progress through the midfield areas. Josh Payne shot wide in the fourth minute after a pull-back and Joey Jones nearly wriggled down the bye-line before the ball ran out of play. Chris Arthur, looking more comfortable going forward than defending, went on several surging runs down the left flank, winning a couple of corners, from one of which Scott Rendell headed wide from an acute angle. But Rovers were creating chances too. Cunnington skewed the ball wide when the ball ran loose in the box.

On another day the Cards might well have been awarded a penalty on the quarter-hour mark when Sinclair handled in the box but the referee presumably decided it was not deliberate.

Dean Morgan, posing a threat at this stage, tricked his way past defenders to send a dangerous cross-cum-shot curling just past the far post. Woking continued to have more of the attacking play as Payne fired fiercely into the chest of keeper Mildenhall, shooting again before the move petered out. Another chance fell to Morgan on the half-hour mark, after some fine approach play, but he shot well wide.

However, an even better chance fell to Cunnington two minutes later as he volleyed over the bar after the ball had bounced to him off Mike Cestor. Gasheads were rueing another missed opportunity a few minutes later when a clever reverse pass left Arthur stranded, with Matty Taylor blasting over.

The home side had the better of the closing minutes of the half as some defensive hesitation gifted them a free-kick and some loose passing set in.

Overall, the Cards had, if anything, looked the more fluent side in the half with the ball on the deck but their approach play wasn’t matched by clear chances created, whereas Rovers had not only scored but had spurned a couple of good opportunities to double their lead.

Half-time: Bristol Rovers 1 Woking 0

The Cards came out for the second half with a different formation, Jones moving back and Arthur and Newton operating more as wing-backs. But the side started slowly, looking a little ‘flat’, and had Cestor’s speed of recovery to thank for averting an early Rovers’ threat. It wasn’t until the 56th minute that the Cards created a menacing attack, with Payne once again firing in a shot which Mildenhall chested away. Another effort, from distance, was well wide, before Rendell forced the keeper into a fine save from a free-kick – only to look up and see that the linesman’s flag had been raised anyway for offside.

Payne, prominent in midfield, though sometimes lacking his usual accuracy of passing, did superbly in the 68th minute to retain possession out left before crossing for Rendell to find the side-netting, from a difficult angle, with a header.

Jones was booked for a ‘professional’ foul as he tugged back an opponent just outside the area and more yellow cards followed quickly for Murtagh (who had only just come on as a substitute for Goddard) and Arthur. Worner was then called into action, rushing out of his area to foil Taylor.

The Cards were now finding it difficult to make progress, with too many balls hit long and not sticking up front and too many free-kicks given away. Fortunately for the Cards, Rovers had wasted these set pieces but their luck ran out in the 86th minute after Payne’s rash challenge just outside the area. Lee Mansell’s fine strike beat Worner all ends up as the ball flew into the far top corner.

The five minutes of added time did not avail Woking and, indeed, Dave Taylor passed up a fine opportunity to add a third goal as he side-footed over after a swift counter-attack had opened up a tiring Cards defence.

This was a frustrating afternoon in some ways. Rovers are clearly a decent side and benefit from great support but one felt that Woking were somewhat below par, especially up front, and on another day would have gained something from this match. No one had quite the spark needed to grab an equalising goal at a time when the side was well in the game and enjoying plenty of possession.

The team will no doubt benefit from a week’s break after an exhausting series of games – time which, we hope, will also see some injured players come back into the reckoning.

Woking: Ross Worner, Adam Newton (Nick Arnold 64), Joe McNerney, Mike Cestor, Chris Arthur, Giuseppe Sole (Reece Beckles 82), John Goddard (Keiran Murtagh 74), Josh Payne, Joey Jones, Dean Morgan, Scott Rendell

Unused subs: Andy Little, Theo Lewis

Booked: Cestor, Jones, Murtagh, Arthur, Payne

Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Daniel Leadbitter, Lee Brown, Tom Lockyer, Tom Parkes, Lee Mansell, Matty Taylor (Jamie White 93), Jake Gosling (Ollie Clarke 46), Dave Martin, Stuart Sinclair, Adam Cunnington (Ellis Harrison 61)

Unused subs: Will Puddy, Mark McChrystal

Booked: Gosling

My MOTM: Joe McNerney (pictured)

Attendance: 6028 (276 Woking fans)
Bristol Rovers LINEUP
30Ross Worner
2Adam Newton ('64)
32Chris Arthur
5Joe McNerney
3Mike Cestor
21Joey Jones
7Josh Payne
22John Goddard ('74)
24Dean Morgan
10Giuseppe Sole ('82)
9Scott Rendell
31Andy Little
33Nick Arnold ('64)
14Theo Lewis
8Keiran Murtagh ('74)
20Reece Beckles ('82)

Bristol Rovers 2 - 0 Woking (Garry Hill Interview)

Bristol Rovers 2 - 0 Woking (Giuseppe Sole Interview)

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