It Happened in May – Pt 2 – Battle at the Mem

By Keith Brookman

Having looked back at the month of April 2007, we have returned to the same year and the following month.  We have also taken this lockdown opportunity to give you a bumper month, with a separate release for each of the four stunning wins in May 2007!

We hope that the memories contained in these articles will bring back many memories of an incredible month of May just 13 years ago. We also trust that you are all taking care of yourself, your loved ones, friends and those who may be in the vulnerable category as we wait for this awful virus to pass. Wherever you are, and whatever you do, please stay safe.

Naturally, there was a buzz around the club in the build up to the first leg of the semi final play off, a game against Lincoln City on 12th May, with a 5.15pm kick off.

Here is just a sample of some of the things the players said, beginning with Sean Rigg. Remember this was the same season that he spent quite a time out injured after having his jaw broken in an FA Cup tie at Barrow.

‘I trained hard after I had been left out of the squad for the JPT Final in Cardiff and managed to push myself back into the squad soon afterwards, which was good. Then I scored my first senior goal at Macclesfield two weeks ago, which was a big highlight of the season for me. I waited a long time for it, but felt I was getting closer to scoring with every game I played and it finally came at the Moss Rose.

‘I went on at the start of the second half at Hartlepool and I was a little bit nervous as I knew I had to go on and try to do something for the team so I went out and gave it everything.’

Lewis Haldane in the thick of the action [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]

Richard Walker, who by then had been at the club for three seasons, said; ‘This is by far the best, without a doubt. We’ve had some fantastic games, from Luton in the Carling Cup, to Derby in the FA Cup and the games against Bristol City in the Johnstone’s Paint trophy, not to mention the final of that competition. Last week at Hartlepool was another special game, and I hope there are three more massive games to come.’

Goalkeeper Steve Phillips, who had already collected three Player of the Year Awards by the time the Lincoln game came around, said he had enjoyed his first campaign at the Mem; ‘I’m proud to have been a part of it all, and to come from City to Rovers and be accepted as I have has been just unbelievable.’

‘The season I’ve had here has been the highlight of my career so far, by any stretch of the imagination, and I think that says it all.’

Stuart Campbell gets away from his former team mate Jamie Forrester [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]

Skipper Stuart Campbell couldn’t wait for the two games against Lincoln to come around; ‘I’m really looking forward to the games; I can’t wait, to be honest. It’s a great occasion with a great reward at the end of it. We’ve not scored against Lincoln in the two league games against us this season. They beat us quite convincingly up at their place, although we travelled up there on the day of the game which wasn’t the ideal preparation.

‘They were down here just three weeks ago, when we played out a goalless draw, and I thought we played well in the first half and missed a number of chances. However, they came at us and they had a couple of chances, so it’s quite evenly balanced and I think both teams are looking forward to playing each other.’

Craig Disley heads Rovers in front [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]

A Memorial Stadium crowd of 10,654 saw Rovers take a slender 2-1 lead into the second leg and some wondered if that would be enough. Craig Disley, on 10 minutes, and Richard Walker after 54 minutes, scored for Rovers while Lincoln’s response came from a future Rovers player, Jeff Hughes, who scored just after the half hour mark. There was also a former Rovers player, Jamie Forrester, in the Lincoln lineup as well.

Paul Trollope remained positive even though his side held just a slender advantage going into the second leg the following Thursday at Sincil Bank; ‘Some of our forward play today was very good and I think we can nick a goal in the second leg. If we can do that it will be tough for Lincoln.’

Lewis Haldane congratulates Richard Walker, who has just scored Rovers’ second goal [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]

Off the pitch it was reported that as many as 150 Rovers supporters clashed with riot police after the game making the Gloucester Road a no go area for some thirty minutes.

In the aftermath of the game it was revealed that on loan defender Joe Jacobson, who had missed out on a place in the JPT Final because he was cup tied, would also miss out on another final if Rovers were to reach Wembley because his loan spell would expire a week before the final, though he was eligible for the second leg of the semi final.

Joe Jacobson looks for his next pass [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]

‘’We’ve got to get there first and make sure we finish the job on Thursday,’ said Jacobson, who added; ‘But if we make it, my loan will be up, and I won’t be able to play in the final. I was at the Millennium Stadium cheering the lads on for the Trophy final and I’d be at Wembley too, supporting them all the way.’

Find out what happens next on the 17th of May – see you soon…

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