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FOUR points from two away games – games here last year we drew a blank. Riches indeed! However a school report written on our team would read ‘marks are improving, but can still do better’.

The first half at Telford was fine and a two-goal lead established. The first goal was from a well-placed Wright free-kick. Collins headed it to the far post and debutant Racine turned it in. The second goal resulted from a strong run and clever pass by full-back Turley. Reece was waiting way out on the right and raced forwards, releasing a fierce shot. It glanced off pony-tailed Blackburn into the net. The goal should be credited to Reece. It came from a direct on target shot.

In the second half Telford showed more spirit and threw more men forward. Rovers forgot their passing game and for much of the half they were under pressure. Russell made one superb save and was beaten only once – the match was won!

His fine save resulted in him receiving a huge hug from James Turley. Steady on James! We do not want our star goalkeeper missing because of cracked ribs!

David Hockaday was critical of his team afterwards, but is not that how he works? He is publicly loyal to the players when we lose, but was harsh in his criticism following the Telford win.

It was very different at Gateshead, where the match was played in the middle of a splendid athletic stadium. My pre-match forecast was 0-0 and it looked like being correct as neither side, for most of the game looked like scoring from open play. In fact they did not. Yet again Rovers failed to defend a set piece and a glancing header left Russell stranded. In attack we were very frustrating.

Only Reece seemed capable of doing something incisive and decisive. Ben Wright, who had been so impressive at Telford was way off the pace and was substituted at half-time.

James Norwood replaced Wright and was as anonymous as he was at Telford. Don Rogers was a thrilling winger for Swindon in the 1960’s and 70’s. His colleagues say they had to continually talk to him to keep him involved otherwise he would drift out of the game. Is it the same with James?

Now some general points. Team selection on both Tuesday and Saturday was first- class. The teams selected were geared to win both matches, not to keep individual players happy. That view is tommyrot. So in view that the squad is larger. It is not, since the end of last season 10 senior players have left, four of whom were strikers, Seven have joined with the strikers being replaced. The difference is that the squad is stronger, and all evidence points to team spirit being excellent.

Now the flag. I write as a member of the supporters club, full of admiration for the work so many do, especially in organising coach trips.

The flag is puzzling; ‘You can’t change history’ it says. No one can, and surely no one wants to. It has been stated clearly by the management that the club history is both acknowledged and respected. By your actions you cannot affect history but the future. The flag smacks of defiance, which is a pity and I hope not meant .

What do you think of the flag? Post your comments below.

Comments (1)

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11:27am Thu 23 Aug 12

Chrisgump11 says...

With so many injury disruptions - Jared, Green, Jan K, Chris Stokes etc - a solid enough start by Rovers and signs that the team is improving.

I'd like to see the promising Marsh get his chance but still await proof that Viera can make a real impact.

Puzzling is a polite way of describing the flag. I 'get' what Dale is trying to do - yes, losing the black and white stripes is a big step, but it is part and parcel of a statement showing that expectation and ambition has changed. We are expecting to succeed not sparkle then fade.

Also, the amount of work now going on behind the scenes is terrific, as well as initiatives involving the community as a whole.

For those of us trying to win more support for the club, the flag was a slap in the face. It takes time and cash to make one - that could have been used to better effect in supporting the efforts being made on and off the field.

I hope the flag makes no reappearance as it can only undermine confidence of players and create damaging division
With so many injury disruptions - Jared, Green, Jan K, Chris Stokes etc - a solid enough start by Rovers and signs that the team is improving. I'd like to see the promising Marsh get his chance but still await proof that Viera can make a real impact. Puzzling is a polite way of describing the flag. I 'get' what Dale is trying to do - yes, losing the black and white stripes is a big step, but it is part and parcel of a statement showing that expectation and ambition has changed. We are expecting to succeed not sparkle then fade. Also, the amount of work now going on behind the scenes is terrific, as well as initiatives involving the community as a whole. For those of us trying to win more support for the club, the flag was a slap in the face. It takes time and cash to make one - that could have been used to better effect in supporting the efforts being made on and off the field. I hope the flag makes no reappearance as it can only undermine confidence of players and create damaging division Chrisgump11

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