By Keith Brookman
There was a time, in the 1960’s and early 70’s, that Rovers played in red and white shirts, black shorts and red socks with a white trim; although it was only when there was a colour clash, of course!
Up until recently I had only seen black & white photos of the red & white stripes (does that make sense?) but often wondered if any colour photos existed,
Thanks, then, to Richard Jarman who posted these of his Dad, Harold, on Facebook recently.
They were taken during the first round FA Cup tie on 26th November 1966 between Rovers and Oxford City at the non league side’s White House Ground, which they leased from Brasenose College Oxford.
I also have a black & white photograph, also from Harold’s collection, from that game and that is also shown here; note the floodlight pylons emerging through the roof of the stand!
The ground was later sold off for housing development and Oxford City now play at Marsh Lane, Marston, Oxford.
When this cup tie took place, Rovers were in second place in the Third Division while their hosts were seventh in the Isthmian League and had won their previous five games going into this one.
Rovers were two goals ahead inside half an hour. The first, an own goal by John Lambert, arrived when the defender intercepted a through ball from Kenny Ronaldson and sliced his clearance over the head of his goalkeeper John Shippey.
The second goal came from the penalty spot after Robert Jackson brought down Alex Munro just inside the area and Joe Davis drove his spot kick beyond the reach of Shippey.
The Isthmian league side hit back after the break and pulled a goal back on 65 minutes when John Woodley rounded Stuart Taylor and beat goalkeeper Bernard Hall with a powerful drive.
Five minutes later they were level when Tony Bradbury beat Hall to give Oxford City hopes of a cup upset in front of a home crowd of 5,100.
It wasn’t to be though, and a replay was needed at Eastville three days later to determine who would go through to round two. Rovers comfortably won that game 4-0 thanks to an Alfie Biggs hat trick and another goal from Ronaldson.
Rovers beat Luton Town, at home, 3-2 in round two, but lost 3-0 to Arsenal in round three, in a game played at Eastville.
The side for that game at Oxford was as follows: Hall, Davis, Parsons, Stone, Taylor, Mabbutt, Jarman, Brown (J), Biggs, Ronaldson, Munro.
Rovers in red and white, though, wouldn’t happen these days, would it!