Two Penalties

By Stephen Byrne and Keith Brookman

When Rovers were awarded two penalties at Portsmouth a few days ago (19th February 2019) I couldn’t for the life of me remember the last time we had two spot kicks in the same game.

I needn’t have worried though, as Stephen Byrne, as usual, had the answer to hand and he kindly sent me the complete list of 19 matches in which we have been awarded two penalties in a match (reproduced at the end of this article).

There are three current Former Players Association members on that list, namely Jamie Cureton, Marcus Stewart and Richard Walker.

Richard walker pen - Photo Credit Neil Brookman
Richard Walker successfully scores from the penalty spot against Mansfield Town in 2005    
[Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
I doubt if Jonson Clarke-Harris will dwell on his penalty miss against Portsmouth at Fratton Park; having scored once from the spot in the first half, he blazed his second half penalty over the bar. He seems a confident player and I’m sure it won’t be the last spot kick he takes for us!

He’s in good company, though, as he’s not the first Rovers player to have taken two penalties in a match and scored one and missed one. It happened to Jamie Cureton on two occasions, but more of that later!

It was on Boxing Day 1925, in a match against Bournemouth, that Rovers were first awarded two penalties and both were scored by Jonah Wilcox. He also scored twice more from open play in a 7-2 win and thus became the second Rovers player, after Sid Leigh in 1921, to score four goals in a league match.

Rovers weren’t so fortunate on the second occasion they were awarded two spot kicks in the same match. When suffering a 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Swindon Town on in December 1928 both Albert Rotherham and John Phillips failed to find the back of the net with their attempts from 12 yards.

The first Rovers player to take two penalties in a match and score one and miss one was Harold Houghton, in a 3-1 away defeat at Cardiff City in March 1937.

Jackie Pitt scored both penalties awarded to Rovers in a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Newport County on in March 1948 and both Alex Munro and Tony Ford scored from the spot when Rovers recorded a 3-0 home win against Luton Town on 10th February 1970.

Sandy Allan, against Tranmere Rovers in 1971, and Bruce Bannister against Blackburn Rovers in 1972, both scored twice from the spot. Both games were won by Rovers (2-1 against Tranmere, 3-0 against Bournemouth).

Bannister wasn’t so ‘spot on’ in 1974, though, when he scored one and missed one in a 3-0 win against Bournemouth.

Another 3-0 win, against Brentford, in 1985 saw Brian Williams successfully convert two penalties and Marcus Stewart did the same in a 4-3 win against Bradford City in 1993.

Now we come to Jamie Cureton, who twice took two spot kicks in one game, against Reading in 1998 and Colchester United in January 2000. On each occasion he scored one and missed one. We beat Reading 4-1 but lost 5-4 at Colchester.

JC pen - Photo credit Jeff Davis
Placing the ball on the spot the Jamie Cureton way [Photo credit – Jeff Davis]
A 6-2 win against Oxford United, in 2001, saw Dwayne Plummer miss a penalty and Mark Walters score one, while in a 2-2 draw against Bury in 2004 Jamie Forrester scored one and missed one.

Junior Agogo and Richard Walker both scored penalties in a 4-4 home draw against Mansfield Town in 2005 and the same two players took penalties in a 2-2 draw against Orient in 2006. That game ended 3-3 with Agogo missing his penalty and Walker scoring his.

In 2007 Walker scored both of his spot kicks in a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Leyton Orient and in 2009 Darryl Duffy missed a penalty and Jeff Hughes scored on in a 1-0 home win against Huddersfield Town (see photos below)

That was the last occasion we were awarded two penalties in a game, until Tuesday 19th February this year and the tale of Jonson Clarke-Harris against Pompey!

So, out of a total of 38 penalties awarded in the 19 games we have been awarded two of them, we have scored 27 and missed 11.

Richard Walker has been involved in three games where we have been awarded two penalties and has a 100% success rate, having scored four out of four, while Jamie Cureton missed two of the four spot kicks he took when we were awarded two in a match. However he more than made up for that in other games, and is still scoring goals, for Bishop’s Stortford!

Walker and Junior Agogo are the only two players to have taken spot kicks, when we have been awarded two, in more than one game.

We have twice been awarded two penalties in matches against Bournemouth and Leyton Orient but only once have we been awarded spot kicks twice in a match in the same season. That was in 2004/05, against Bury and Mansfield Town.

Interestingly, we have been awarded two penalties in 16 home games but only three times on our travels.  Should we read anything into this?!

The full record of matches in which we have been awarded two penalties is as follows.

26.12.25 Rovers 7 Bournemouth 2        Wilcox (scored 2)
29.12.28 Rovers 1 Swindon T 4              Rotherham (missed), Phillips (missed)
27.03.37 Cardiff C 3 Rovers 1                 Houghton (scored 1, missed 1)
27.03.48 Rovers 2 Newport C 3              Pitt (scored 2)
10.02.70 Rovers 3 Luton T 0                   Ford (scored), Munro (scored)
21.08.71 Rovers 2 Tranmere R 1            Allan (scored 2)
14.03.72 Rovers 3 Blackburn R 0           Bannister (scored 2)
19.01.74 Rovers 3 Bournemouth 0        Bannister (scored 1, missed 1)
06.04.85 Rovers 3 Brentford 0               B.Williams (scored 2)
09.10.93 Rovers 4 Bradford C 3             Stewart (scored 2)
15.08.98 Rovers 4 Reading 1                  Cureton (missed 1, scored 1)
08.01.00 Colchester U 5 Rovers 4          Cureton (scored 1, missed 1)
21.04.01 Rovers 6 Oxford U 2                Plummer (missed), Walters (scored)
10.08.04 Rovers 2 Bury 2                        Forrester (scored 1, missed 1)
19.03.05 Rovers 4 Mansfield T 4           Walker (scored), Agogo (scored)
31.01.06 Rovers 3 Orient 3                     Agogo (missed), Walker (scored)
29.09.07 Rovers 2 Orient 3                     Walker (scored 2)
23.08.09 Rovers 1 Huddersfield T 0      Duffy (missed), Hughes (scored)
19.02.19 Portsmouth 1 Rovers 1            Clarke-Harris (scored 1, missed 1)

2019 Former Players Dinner with Rickie Lambert – Get yer Tickets NOW!

Oh, yes, it’s back!

The 3rd Annual Former Players Dinner will be dancing its way into town on the evening of Thursday 28th March 2019.  We are again supporting our club financially by holding it at the Memorial Stadium.

This is our whopping great event where around 32 former players / first team staff , and some current employees / Directors, join us for food, fun and mingling.

This years Special Guest is none other than former Rovers, Liverpool and England striker Sir Rickie Lambert!   Back of the net!

The price has been held as the same as last season, at £380 for a table of eight guests (up to two former players will join your table), or £50 per head (subject to availability).

There are only a limited number of tables available so please book your place as soon as possible, by emailing Mo Bell, the BRFPA Secretary at

Rickie Lambert of course…

The evening includes:

  • Guests start arriving from 7pm, and are then seated at 8pm in the Poplar Insulation Hospitality Suite. 
  • A delicious three course meal and access to a late licensed bar
  • The attendance of up to 32 former players / first team staff from across the eras.
  • The presence of current and former Rovers staff, and BRFPA President & Rovers stalwart Billy Clark.
  • An uproarious after dinner performance from comedian Austin Knight
  • A raffle and auction of superb football memorabilia, mainly Rovers related.

Guests in the two previous years have included Jamie Cureton, Graham Day, Steve Elliott, Gerry Francis, Bobby Gould, Barry Hayles, David Hillier, Harold Jarman, Vaughan Jones, Phil Purnell, Paul Randall, Andy Reece, Martin Thomas, Andy Tillson, Geoff Twentyman, Josser Watling, and all the way from Spain, David Pritchard.

Updates on the guest list will be given via social media and on our dedicated page on this website HERE

Getting the New Year off to a Good Start?

By Keith Brookman & Stephen Byrne

Welcome to 2019, everyone, and to a big day in the football calendar.

But playing on 1st January appears to be a recent tradition with today’s game being only our 29th game on this date.

True, Rovers played their first game on this date way back in 1898 when they won 3-1 at Eastleigh in a Western League fixture.

On that occasion Rovers recorded a comfortable victory thanks to goals from George Green, Jack Jones and Jim Cottrell, in what amazingly remains, over a century later, the only time the club has won a fixture on this date by more than one goal.

There were just three more games played on this date before the club was elected to the Football League in 1920 and none of them were won. There was a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace in 1910 and a 1-0 defeat by the same club in 1915 and sandwiched between those two matches was a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Cardiff City in 1914.

The first New Year’s Day fixture as a Football League club was an away game against Luton Town, in 1921, and ended with a 2-1 win in our favour. A crowd of 6,000 saw a little bit of history made that day as Luton defender Alf Tirrell became the first player to score for both sides in a League match featuring Rovers. Sid Leigh scored Rovers other goal that day.

There was only one more New Year’s Day match before the outbreak of the Second World War, and that was in 1938 when we lost 2-0 in a home game against Watford.

In 1966 we were beaten 4-3 at Brighton, the highest number of goals scored in a New Year’s Day game involving The Gas, while the only goalless draw on this date came against Barnsley, at Oakwell, in 1972.

In total we have played 28 New Year’s Day games, winning 11, drawing five and losing 12.  Of those 28 games, 13 have been played at home and 15 on our travels.

A few milestones have been reached by Rovers players on this day. For example, Ray Warren scored twice in a match for the only time in his career and his brace helped The Gas record a 3-2 home win against Notts County on this day in 1949.

Peter Aitken scored his first Gas goal in the 1-0 win against Luton Town, at Eastville, on New Year’s Day 1977, while in 1983 Les Bradd scored his one and only Gas goal in his only appearance for the club, a 3-1 defeat against Cardiff City at Ninian Park.

Peter Aitken - scored his first Rovers goal on New Year_s Day 1977 - no credit
Peter Aitken – scored his first Rovers goal on New Year’s Day 1977

And who can forget that famous 1-0 win at Ashton Gate, against our nearest and dearest back in 1987, recalled here by Stephen. I’m sure that many Gasheads who were there have their own stories to tell of that game, but they won’t be too dissimilar from his account.

 ‘There are many of us who will still list this match amongst the top three Rovers games we have ever witnessed.

‘Whilst City were going strongly in Division Three, Rovers dawdled agonisingly close to the relegation zone. Taking three friends to the 11.30 am kick off at Ashton Gate, I found myself apologising for the fact that The Gas were about to be trounced, fearing a four or five goal margin.

‘Oh ye of little faith! My memory tells me that, from the outset, the Robins pounded Rovers’ goal, hitting the woodwork and having at least one goal disallowed. After half an hour, incredibly, it remained goalless, although it was difficult to see how.

‘At this point, Rovers lost goalkeeper Tim Carter through injury and, in the days of just one substitute, midfielder David ‘Boris’ Mehew went in goal. Although Carter later returned, Rovers were on the end of a pummelling, but the elusive first goal would not come.

‘With three minutes remaining, just as even the most ardent Rovers supporter was beginning to believe an unlikely point could be won, young Rovers midfielder Gary Smart picked up the ball some thirty yards out and let fly with a speculative strike which looped just under the bar. Incredibly, before a crowd of 17,122, Rovers had snatched a hugely unbelievable victory from the jaws of a heavy defeat.’

Gary Smart - taken after he_s moved on from the Gas and was playing for Bath City - photo credit Neil Brookman
Gary Smart – taken after he’s moved on from the Gas and was playing for Bath City                    [photo credit Neil Brookman]
I don’t think I can top that one, but I can recall two New Year’s Day games in recent history for very different reasons.

In 2013 we beat Plymouth Argyle 2-1 at The Mem, with Joe Anyinsah and Matt Lund scoring for Rovers and Conor Hourihane netting for Argyle.

A crowd of 7,332 saw Rovers, who were in the bottom four of League Two at the time, pick up three valuable points in the fight to preserve their Football league status and what was John Ward’s first game in charge in his second spell as manager saw the last game in charge for Argyle boss Carl Fletcher.

Matt Lund on his way to scoring against Plymouth Argyle in 2013 credit JMP
Matt Lund on his way to scoring against Plymouth Argyle in 2013  [Photo Credit JMP]
Fletcher had been summoned to the Rovers boardroom after the match and was late arriving for his press conference. When he did, he broke down when asked the first question and revealed that he had just been sacked. Not sure that Argyle’s timing can be described as impeccable in that instance and it shows how cruel a game football can be.

Former AFC Bournemouth player Fletcher has since resurfaced at the club and, after spells as the club’s U-18 manager and, more recently as U-23 manager, he accepted a new position in November 2018, becoming the club’s Loan Player Manager.

One year ago, there was a crowd of 10,014 here at The Mem for another 2-1 win, this time against Portsmouth.

Pompey took a 64th minute lead when Oliver Hawkins gave the visitors the lead, but Rovers kept searching for an equaliser and that duly arrived on 85 minutes when Stuart Sinclair was on hand to pounce after goalkeeper Luke McGee could only parry a Billy Bodin shot straight to him.

That set up a grandstand finish and, with 90 minutes on the clock, Rovers were awarded a free kick some 25 yards from goal. Lee Brown touched the ball to Liam Sercombe, whose shot found the bottom corner of the net to secure a dramatic Gas win.

Bristol Rovers v Portsmouth 010118
Liam Sercombe celebrates his late, late winner against Portsmouth a year ago today              [Photo credit JMP]
The only Rovers player born on this date, is Micky Evans who scored four goals in 21 league games for us in 2000/01. He came into the world on this day in 1973.

In addition to Les Bradd, Adam McCall, Roy Carter, Steve Mildenhall, Tom Hitchcock and John-Joe O’Toole also made their Gas debuts on New Year’s Day.

Former Rovers players have also recorded personal milestones on this day. Alan Gow, then at Falkirk, scored a 26 minute hat trick against Dundee United in 2007, Dennis Bailey grabbed a hat trick in QPR’s 4-1 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford in 1992, while Paul Randall scored five for Yeovil Town against Heavitree United in 1987.

Let’s hope that we record another New Year’s Day win in our 29th game on this date when we take on Burton Albion at The Mem at the beginning of 2019.

Happy New Year, everyone!