In Search of Gas – Dec 18 & Jan 19

 In Search of Gas is an attempt to track down as many former Rovers players, who are still involved in the game, as possible.

Most will have played first team football for Rovers in the past, while others are still contracted to The Gas, but are away on loan or work experience.

What began as something to do on the opening day of the 2018/19 season, became a little bit of an obsession for former Rovers Head of Media Keith Brookman, as you will see from his weekly updates!     

The latest instalment lives on the main page HERE, and the rest of the season will be archived in chunks.

December 2018 and January 2019 are being archived below, right in front of your very eyes.

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Chapter 26 –  Week commencing 28th January 2019

The outstanding FA Cup fourth round tie, between Barnet and Brentford, took place on Monday at The Hive and ended all square at 3-3. Goalkeeper Luke Daniels made one of his occasional appearances for Brentford in this one and will no doubt get another game when the replay comes around.

Rovers made their first signing of the transfer window when they brought in young Reading defender Gabriel Osho or, to give him his full name, Gabriel Jeremiah Adebayo Ademilola Osho. The club is still working out how to fit that lot on the back of his shirt!

Quite a few matches took place on Tuesday and Rovers took a point from their home game against Peterborough United. Graham Coughlan’s side were leading 2-1 going into the 90th minute when the visitors equalised with a spectacular strike from substitute Joe Ward. Tom Nichols scored one of Rovers’ goals, from the penalty spot, against his former club while Ollie Clarke scored his sixth of the season. Goalkeeper Aaron Chapman was on the bench for the Posh.

In the Premier League, another Gas goalie, Neil Etheridge was on the losing side as Cardiff City were beaten 2-1 at Arsenal and Brighton & Hove Albion assistant manager and former Fulham player Paul Trollope saw his side lose 4-2 at Fulham after they had, at one point, led 2-0.

In the Championship Oli McBurnie scored twice in Swansea City’s 3-3 home draw against Birmingham City, to take his goal tally for the season to 15. Connor Roberts was also in the Swansea side.

Reading drew 1-1 at Bolton Wanderers and goalkeeper Sam Walker was again on the bench for the Royals.

In League One, Marc Bola was in the Blackpool side that drew 2-2 against Wycombe Wanderers at Bloomfield Road. Joe Jacobson and Paris Cowan-Hall were in the Wycombe side and Jacobson scored the second goal for the visitors; ‘Wycombe were back in front in bizarre fashion as Jacobson fizzed a low corner from the right, with the ball beating everyone in the penalty area and squirming under goalkeeper Christopher Mafoumbi.’

Joe Jacobson - Photo Credit -Neil Brookman

A product of the Cardiff City Academy, Joe Jacobson was loaned to Accrington Stanley and then Rovers before signing a permanent deal with The Gas.
Left BS7 in July 2009 and went on to play for Oldham Athletic, Accrington Stanley (again), and Shrewsbury Town before signing for his current club, Wycombe Wanderers, in July 2014.
Earlier this season he made his 200th league appearance for The Chairboys.  [Photo Credit: Neil Brookman]

Ollie Norburn was in the Shrewsbury Town side beaten 4-3 at Bradford City. His side had drawn level at 3-3 in the 93rd minute, only to concede the winner in the 96th minute.

Gillingham striker Tom Eaves seems to be firing blanks at the moment, though he did go close to breaking the deadlock in their goalless draw against Accrington Stanley at the Priestfield Stadium; ‘The Gill’s leading scorer hit the woodwork after being played in by Brandon Hanlon after 20 minutes and also forced Stanley goalkeeper Jonny Maxted into a brilliant save just after half time.’

In the clash of the Division’s top two, Luton Town came out on top, beating Portsmouth 3-2 at Kenilworth Road. Lee Brown was in the Pompey side for this game but the result leaves them five points adrift of The Hatters.

Mansfield Town, second in the league Two table, were in this part of the world and took a point from a 1-1 draw at Forest Green Rovers. Ryan Sweeney played, and was booked, for The Stags, while Conrad Logan was on the bench.

Lee Nicholls was again in goal for MK Dons, who were 2-1 winners against Oldham Athletic at Stadium MK (what an original name that is. I’ve always thought they could have come up with something better than that!)

David Pipe and Cristian Montano were unused substitutes for Newport County and Port Vale respectively as their sides played out a goalless draw at Rodney Parade.

Slough Town were in National League South action at Billericay Town and, with Louie Soares and Scott Davies in their side, were beaten 3-2.

In the Southern League Premier South Division, Weymouth were 2-0 winners at Gosport Borough and Josh Wakefield and Abdulai Baggie were once again in The Terras lineup.

Josh Wakefield - Photo Credit Neil Brookman

Josh Wakefield joined Rovers on a one month loan in February 2015 having played for AFC Bournemouth, Dagenham & Redbridge, Welling United and Torquay United.
Although he was on the bench a few times, he never made a Gas appearance. Has since played for Yeovil Town, Aldershot Town, Poole Town and signed for his current club, Weymouth, in July 2017.  [Photo Credit: Neil Brookman]

In a top of the table clash at Salisbury, the home side were 3-2 winners against league leaders Taunton Town, who finished the game with nine men and while Pierce Mitchell was in the Taunton side, there was no Darren Mullings in the Salisbury squad.

The day’s transfer news saw Exeter City’s Jordan Tillson sign for Cheltenham Town, on loan until the end of the season and Ryan Sweeney sign for Mansfield Town on a permanent basis after being on loan with them since the start of the season.

Two former players now managing local clubs saw their sides in action on Wednesday evening. Joe White’s Chipping Sodbury Town drew 1-1 at Cadbury Heath, but the less said about Andy Gurney’s Roman Glass St George the better, as they suffered an 8-0 home defeat at the hands of Plymouth Parkway.

In Scotland Scott Sinclair was in the Celtic side that moved six points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership following their 2-0 win against St Johnstone.

Wednesday also brought news of a possible move by Ellis Harrison, from Ipswich Town to Grimsby Town, though by Thursday morning nothing had happened, apart from another rumour saying that Portsmouth were interested in taking him on loan (must be the Lee Brown influence!).

Thursday’s transfer deadline day saw Stefan Payne return to Shrewsbury Town on loan until the end of the season while another former Shrewsbury Town player, Abu Ogogo joined Rovers in a permanent deal, from Coventry. Where once we had Junior Agogo now we have Abu Ogogo!

Another one to leave was Kyle Bennett, who joined Swindon Town on loan until the end of the season and joining him on the exit trail was Development squad central defender Ben Morgan, who headed off to Salisbury in a one month loan deal.

Donovan Wilson was also on the move, from Wolverhampton Wanderers to Exeter City, on loan until the end of the season.

One late arrival at the club was Jonson Clarke-Harris, who also signed from Coventry in another permanent deal.

Friday saw another player leave the club as Rollin Menayese signed for Aldershot Town, on loan until the end of the season and, elsewhere, Scott Davies joined Kingstonian from Slough Town

And Ellis Harrison? Stayed where he was, at Portman Road. So much for all those people in the know!

Friday night football saw Kelle Roos again in goal for Derby County and he kept a clean sheet in their goalless draw at Preston North End.

In Scotland, Heart of Midlothian moved to within three points of second placed Rangers following their 2-1 win Kilmarnock and Michael Smith was again in the Hearts side.

Oumare Tounkara was in the Chateauroux side held to a 2-2 home draw by Grenoble Foot 38 in French Ligue 2.

Saturday matchday saw a win on the road for Rovers, by two goals to one at Southend United in the 106th league meeting between the clubs. In all honesty Rovers played so well in the opening 35 minutes, they should have been out of sight instead of only 2-0 ahead. They conceded a sloppy goal six minutes before the break to make things difficult for themselves but held on to take all three points.

In the Premier League Brighton & Hove Albion assistant manager Paul Trollope saw his side take a point from a goalless draw against Watford, but Neil Etheridge and his Cardiff City team mates celebrated a 2-0 win against AFC Bournemouth.

In the Championship, goalkeeper Luke Daniels was back on the bench for Brentford, who beat Blackburn Rovers 5-2 at Griffin Park after conceding twice in the first seven minutes.

At Ashton Gate Matty Taylor went on as a 75th minute substitute for Bristol City in their 2-0 win against Swansea City, to register their seventh successive league win. Connor Roberts and Oli McBurnie were in the Swansea lineup.

The non transferred Ellis Harrison was named on the bench by Ipswich Town and was sent on in the 94th minute of the game; too late to make an impression. By then his side had conceded the only goal of the game (in the 90th minute) to Sheffield Wednesday.

Millwall coach Adam Barratt saw his side take a point from a goalless draw against Rotherham United at The Den and there was another goalless draw at Reading, where Aston Villa were the visitors. Taking his customary place on the Reading bench was goalkeeper Sam Walker.

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis saw his side take all three points in a 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion, the club who sacked him in November 2017.

Joe Lumley was on the losing side, though, as his QPR side were beaten 2-1 at Wigan Athletic.

Down into League One and Matt Lund was sent on as a 72nd minute substitute by Scunthorpe United in their 2-0 defeat at Barnsley, while Tom Eaves ended his goal drought by scoring a 92nd minute penalty to earn Gillingham a 1-1 draw at Coventry.

Peterborough United’s promotion challenge continues to falter, and they had to play the second half of their home game against Plymouth Argyle with ten men after Lee Tomlin was red carded in first half stoppage time (Rovers fans will like that, after jeering him every time he touched the ball in Tuesday’s game at The Mem!). Goalkeepers Adam Chapman and Matt Macey were on the bench for the Posh and Argyle respectively, while Gary Sawyer was in the Argyle starting XI.

Gary Sawyer Photo credit - Jeff Davis
Gary Sawyer began his career with Plymouth Argyle and enjoyed loan spells with Weymouth, Exeter City and Bristol City before joining Rovers in June 2010.
After two years at The Memorial Stadium he signed for Leyton Orient in 2012 and returned to his current, and first, club Plymouth Argyle in the summer of 2015.  [Photo credit – Jeff Davis]
Portsmouth, who were league leaders for so long earlier in the season, dropped to third place following their 1-1 home draw against Doncaster Rovers. Lee Brown was again in the Pompey lineup.

Shrewsbury Town were beaten 3-0 at home by league leaders Luton Town. Ollie Norburn started for the Shrews and Stefan Payne was sent on as a 63rd minute substitute. Shrewsbury are now deep in the mire as they occupy 23rd spot in the league standings and visit the mighty Gas next Saturday!

Joe Jacobson started, and Paris Cowan-Hall was a 71st minute substitute for Wycombe Wanderers in their goalless draw against Bradford City at Adams Park.

In League Two, third placed Bury, in spite of taking an 83rd minute lead, had to settle for a draw as Crawley Town equalised four minutes later. Dominic Telford started for Bury, while Byron Moore was sent on as a 63rd minute substitute.

There was no Cheltenham Town debut for Jordan Tillson or Swindon Town first start for Kyle Bennett as their games against Cambridge United and Forest Green Rovers respectively were called off due to the severe west country weather conditions. Games at Oldham Athletic and Port Vale were also called off.

There was, though, an Exeter City debut for Donovan Wilson, who went on as a 70th minute substitute for the Grecians in their 3-1 home win against MK Dons for whom Lee Nicholls was in goal.

David Pipe played, and was yellow carded, for Newport County in their 3-0 defeat at Grimsby Town but there was no slip up by second placed Mansfield Town. With Ryan Sweeney in the side and Conrad Logan on the bench, they were 3-1 home winners against Macclesfield Town. Once again Adam Dawson was not included in the Macclesfield Town squad.

Keith Curle’s Northampton Town side were well beaten by Colchester United at Sixfields, going down 4-0. Andy Williams was a 65th minute for the Cobblers, while Harry Pell completed 90 minutes for the U’s.

Harry Pell - Photo Credit Neil Brookman
Harry Pell joined Rovers from Charlton Athletic in August 2010 and spent a year in BS7.
Has since played for Hereford United, Cambridge United, AFC Wimbledon, Grimsby Town, Eastleigh and Cheltenham Town.
Joined his current club, Colchester United, in May 2018.   [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Bottom club Notts County were without any former Gas players in their 1-1 home draw against league leaders Lincoln City. The visitors had John Akinde in their lineup, but were missing Cian Bolger. Akinde could have won the game for The Imps, but missed a late penalty, rolling his spot kick wide of the upright.

Yeovil Town were beaten 1-0 at Stevenage and deadline day signings by Darren Way appear to have pushed Alefe Santos further down the pecking order as he was not included in the Glovers squad for this one.

The inclement weather meant that many non league games were called off, so I will only be mentioning the games that were played. If teams or players who regularly feature in my reports aren’t included this time around, it’s safe to say their game was off.

There was only one game played in the National League and there were no former Gas representatives in the game between Dover and Gateshead (in case you’re wondering, Gateshead were 2-0 winners).

In the FA Trophy, Barnet drew 3-3 at Carshalton Athletic and now face a replay. While I thought there was no longer an ex Gas connection at the club, following the departure of John Still, I’ve discovered that Danny Senda is with them, as their U-18 Head Coach.

Danny Senda - Photo Credit - Neil Brookman
Danny Senda, the current Barnet U-18 Head Coach, spent seven years with Wycombe Wanderers, where he made over 300 appearances in all competitions.
Joined Millwall in August 2006 but sustained a serious injury in the final game of the 2007/08 campaign which saw him spend 16 months on the sidelines.
Was with Torquay United from August 2010 until February 2011 when he left Plainmoor to join Rovers. Danny made 15 league appearances during that relegation season and signed for Barnet in June 2011.
Sustained another serious injury whilst playing for The Bees and announced his retirement from playing in February 2013.  [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Matt Harrold was in the Leyton Orient side that went through to the quarter finals by virtue of a 1-0 home win against Blyth Spartans.

Orient’s goal was scored by Jamie Turley who came to The Gas on trial in the summer of 2014, having previously played for Salisbury and Forest Green Rovers. At the time he was in line to be offered a pro deal but because of an arm injury the results of tests were awaited before a firm contract offer could be made. Turley didn’t hang around, though, and decided to sign for Eastleigh. He went on to play for Newport County, Boreham Wood and Notts County before joining Orient on 16th January this year.

In National League North, Hereford suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Curzon Ashton. Danny Greenslade and Eliot Richards were again in the starting lineup for The Bulls and Greenslade opened the scoring when he put his side ahead on 52 minutes. It was all in vain, though, as the visitors hit back with two goals of their own.

Eliot Richards - Photo Credit Neil Brookman
Eliot Richards came through the ranks at Rovers and remains a close friend of Ollie Clarke.  Played for Exeter City and Tranmere Rovers and then Cheltenham Town.
Eliot successfully overcame a battle with testicular cancer and signed for Bath City.  He also travelled to play for Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2016, but returned home without kicking a ball for them.
Then played for Weston-Super-Mare and Merthyr Town before joining his current club, Hereford, in November 2017.   [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Greenslade’s goal was described in the following way; ‘Owen-Evans failed to beat the first man, but the ball deflected out to Greenslade who launched a perfect 30 yarder into the top corner.’

Kidderminster Harriers Chairman Colin Gordon, who has also been their manager in a caretaker capacity, has now appointed a new boss. Former Cheltenham Town manager Mark Yates, who began his career as a player with Kiddy, has returned to take over the managerial reins.

Hungerford Town, in National League South, slipped to a 4-1 defeat at Chelmsford City. Cameron Hargreaves and Rhys Kavanagh were both in the Hungerford starting XI and it was Kavangah who scored their consolation goal; ‘The visitors pulled a goal back early in the second half when Kavanagh cut inside the Clarets defence and curled a shot into the top corner.’

Truro City assistant manager Michael Meaker saw his side record a 2-0 home win against Eastbourne Borough to move seven points clear of the relegation places.

Cleethorpes Town featured in one of only two games to go ahead in the Northern Premier League East Division and it’s probably fair to assume they wish they hadn’t bothered as they suffered a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Marske United. With Craig Disley in the side, and watched by a crowd of 351, the game saw the end of a two month unbeaten run for the home side. There’s a chance of quick revenge, though, as the sides meet again next Saturday!

Jamie Cureton was in action for Bishop’s Stortford in the Bostik League Premier Division and ended up on the winning side as Stortford were 2-0 winners against Merstham.

Bognor Regis Town, still without the services of Theo Widdrington, suffered a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Tonbridge Angels.

In the Southern League Premier Central Division, Marcus Law’s Kettering Town, with Craig Stanley and Adam Cunnington in their side, were 3-2 winners against Needham Market and extended their lead at the top of the table to five points.

In the Premier South Division, Hendon and Salisbury played out a 2-2 draw. No sign of Scott McGleish in the Hendon lineup, but Ben Morgan made his Salisbury debut and Darren Mullings went on as a 92nd minute substitute.

Rene Howe was in the Kings Langley side beaten 3-0 at Poole Town, while second placed Weymouth slipped to a surprise 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Basingstoke Town. Josh Wakefield and Abdulai Baggie both played in this one and Baggie was named Weymouth’s Man of the Match.

Lewis Ellington was named on the bench for Mangotsfield United’s game at Barnstaple Town in the Southern league Division One South. The Mangos picked up a useful point from a 2-2 draw.

In the Scottish Premiership, Motherwell recorded a fourth consecutive win as they were 3-0 winners against Livingston and Peter Hartley was again an unused substitute for the winners.

Darryl Duffy scored for Airdrieonians after only two minutes of their home game against Dumbarton, which ended 2-2 in Scottish League One.

Moving into the Welsh Premier league and Barry Town United, with Kayne McLaggon in their starting XI were beaten 2-0 at Caernarfon Town.

In the quarter finals of the League Cup, Welsh Third Division side Ynysygerwn pulled off a shock result by beating Division One outfit Haverfordwest County 2-1. Not sure if Kaid Mohamed appeared for the losing side as I was unable to track down the starting XI.

Over in Ireland, Mark McChrystal was an unused substitute for Crusaders, who beat Linfield 2-1 in the Irish Cup. The two sides meet again on Tuesday in the County Antrim Shield Final.

Also in the Irish Cup, Jeff Hughes was on target for Larne who beat Crumlin Star 3-1.

Jake Clarke Salter was in the SBV Vitesse side that drew 2-2 against Heerenveen in the Dutch Eredivisie.

In Cyprus, Mustapha Carayol was in the Apollon Limasol side beaten 1-0 at Anorthosis.

On Sunday, in the Scottish Premiership, Celtic restored their six point advantage at the top of the table with a 2-0 win at St Johnstone. Scott Sinclair played the full 90 minutes but didn’t get on the scoresheet on this occasion.

Windsor’s interest in this season’s FA Vase ended with a 6-1 defeat against Biggleswade and that was after a goalless first half! I’m guessing that Barry Hayles will be glad he sat this one out!

Stephane Leoni’s Sarre-Union side were in action as well but slipped to a 3-1 defeat against Nancy 2.

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Chapter 25 –  Week commencing 21st January 2019

Monday brought the news of a transfer concerning a Rovers player and Bernard Mensah, as widely expected, rejoined his former club Aldershot Town on loan from Rovers, following a stint with Lincoln City.

mensah - photo credit - neil brookman
Bernard Mensah, who has returned to his former club, Aldershot Town, on loan from Rovers.
Began his career at Watford and was loaned to Braintree Town and to Barnet before making a permanent move to Aldershot Town. Joined Rovers in January 2018 and loaned to Lincoln City in August last year, where he made just four league appearances, all from the bench.  [Photo Credit: Neil Brookman]
Tuesday saw the quarter finals of the Checkatrade Trophy played and Rovers easily brushed aside Port Vale at the Mem, winning 3-0 thanks to goals from Ollie Clarke, Tom Nichols (penalty) and Alex Rodman.

They will be joined in the semi final by Bury, 5-2 winners against Oxford United at Gigg Lane. Byron Moore and Dominic Telford both started and were both on the scoresheet for The Shakers.

Portsmouth also won through, beating Peterborough United 1-0 at Fratton Park. Lee Brown was missing from the Pompey lineup, while Aaron Chapman warmed the bench for The Posh.

Sunderland make up the quartet of semi finalists, as they were 2-0 winners against Manchester City’s U-21 side at the Stadium of Light, watched by a crowd of 14,679.

In League One Plymouth Argyle recorded their fourth straight win in beating Walsall 2-1 at Home Park. Gary Sawyer was in the Argyle lineup and Matt Macey, unable to regain his place following injury, was again an unused substitute.

Down in League Two Yeovil Town suffered a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Lincoln City. Alefe Santos was again an unused substitute for The Glovers, while Cian Bolger and John Akinde were both in the Lincoln side.

There was one fixture that involved former Gas players in National League North, where Guiseley co manager Marcus Bignot saw his side draw 1-1 against Hereford, for whom Danny Greenslade and Eliot Richards both started. Richards scored Hereford’s goal in the second half.

Kettering Town’s game against Coalville Town in the Southern League Premier Central Division was postponed because of what was described as heavy snow and Hendon’s match against Weymouth in the Southern Premier League South was called off for the same reason.

There was a crowd of 97 at the Bishop’s Stortford game against Watford in the quarter final of the Hertfordshire County Cup. Jamie Cureton was on the bench and went on as an 82nd minute substitute but his side lost 5-3 in a penalty shootout following a 3-3 draw.

Wednesday saw the resumption of the Scottish Premiership fixtures following a winter break and Celtic were 4-0 winners against St Mirren, with Scott Sinclair scoring from the penalty spot.

Michael Smith was in action for Heart of Midlothian who suffered a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Dundee, while Peter Hartley was an unused substitute for Motherwell who were 1-0 winners against Hibernian.

In the Bostik League Premier Division Dave Martin was named on the bench for Margate for their game at the delightfully named Dripping Pan, home of Lewes and went on in the second half.

In the Hellenic league Premier Division, Windsor were 3-0 winners at Brackley Town Saints, though Barry Hayles didn’t get any game time on this occasion.

Andy Gurney’s Roman Glass St George suffered a 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Westbury United, with just 65 people watching.

Prescot Cables, with Josh Klein-Davies in their side, won their Liverpool Senior Cup quarter final tie at Lower Breck 4-3, though Josh didn’t get on the scoresheet.

Friday saw news of two current Rovers players as Mo Baghdadi had his contract terminated by mutual agreement and Luke Russe went out on a month’s loan to Gloucester City.

This week also saw John Still, who recently stepped up to the position of Head of Football at Barnet, leave The Bees to take up a similar role with Maidstone United, the club he led into the Football League some 30 years ago.

The draw for the semi finals of the Checkatrade Trophy gave Rovers a home draw against Sunderland with the game being played on Tuesday 5th March. Bury entertain Portsmouth in the other semi final and that match will be played on 26th February.

One of two FA Cup fourth round ties played on Friday saw Bristol City beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 at Ashton Gate, though they were without the services of the injured Matty Taylor.

In French Ligue 2 Oumare Tounkara was in the Chateauroux side that won 3-1 at Red Star.

Stephen Byrne has tracked down a transfer of a former member of our Development Squad. Kenan Dunwald, or Philip Kenan Dunwald-Teran to be exact, who has moved from FC Kaan-Marienborn to SV Wuppertal. He had scored four goals in 10 appearances in the Regionalliga for Marienborn. His first game for his new side is likely to be on 20th February when they resume their fixtures following a winter break.

Saturday was, of course, matchday for most though Rovers were without a game on this FA Cup fourth round day.

Speaking of that competition, Kelle Roos was again between the posts for Derby County and was again on the winning side as Frank Lampard’s side were 1-0 winners against Accrington Stanley at the Wham Stadium.

Brighton & Hove Albion assistant manager Paul Trollope saw his side play out a goalless draw against West Bromwich Albion and will have to sit through it all again when the replay takes place at The Hawthorns.

The same can be said for Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis, who saw his side concede a last minute equaliser against Newport County in the 1-1 draw at The Riverside. David Pipe was an unused substitute for the Welsh side.

Two former Rovers team mates were on opposing sides at Fratton Park where Portsmouth and QPR also drew 1-1. Lee Brown was credited with Pompey’s goal, though his cross appeared to have been directed past former Gas goalie Joe Lumley by Joel Lynch.

lumley - credit jmp
Joe Lumley is the current first choice keeper for QPR, whom he joined after being released by Spurs in 2010.
While at Loftus Road he has enjoyed loan spells at Bishop’s Stortford, Accrington Stanley, Morecambe, Stevenage, Rovers and Blackpool.
Appeared in 19 league games for the Gas in 2016/17.    [Photo Credit: JMP]
The game between Shrewsbury Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers ended 2-2 and that after The Shrews had led 2-0. Ollie Norburn’s corner was headed in by Luke Waterfall for Shrewsbury’s second goal.

Oli McBurnie scored twice in Swansea City’s 4-1 win against Gillingham. Connor Roberts was also in the Swansea side, while Tom Eaves was in the Gillingham lineup.

Millwall coach Adam Barratt was on the bench for The Lions as they pulled off a shock result by beating Everton 3-2 at The Den. A delighted Barratt could clearly be seen on our TV screens as the Millwall bench celebrated a famous win.

No Premier League games this weekend, so we go straight to the Championship, where bottom club Ipswich Town lost again, this time 2-1 at Aston Villa. Once again there was no sign of Ellis Harrison in the Ipswich squad.

Moving swiftly on into League One and Marc Bola was in the Blackpool side who recorded a 2-0 win at Coventry City, a result that saw them move up to eighth in the league.

There was also an away win for Scunthorpe United who extended their unbeaten run to six thanks to a 1-0 win at Fleetwood Town. Matt Lund was an unused Scunthorpe substitute for this one.

Another former Gas man who remained on the bench was Peterborough United’s Aaron Chapman who saw his side play out a goalless draw against Charlton Athletic at London Road. The drama, it would appear, came off the pitch as less than an hour after the game Peterborough dispensed with the services of manager Steve Evans and his assistant Paul Raynor (a former Gas loanee). Waiting in the wings was Darren Ferguson, who returns as Posh manager for a third time.

Plymouth Argyle’s recent winning run was ended by Wycombe Wanderers who were 1-0 winners in the game at Adams Park. Joe Jacobson and Paris Cowan-Hall were in the Wycombe lineup, while Gary Sawyer played for Argyle and Matt Macey remained on the bench.

There was almost a full programme of games in League Two and Keith Curle’s Northampton Town side were held to a 1-1 draw by Morecambe at Sixfields where, apparently; ‘Northampton and fellow League Two relegation battlers Morecambe played out a low quality draw.’ The only former Gas man on show was Andy Williams, who went on as a 56th minute Northampton substitute.

Ryan Broom played, and was booked, in Cheltenham Town’s 3-2 home win against Macclesfield Town and received an honourable mention for his efforts when his side were 2-0 down; ‘The home side pulled one back nine minutes after the break when a cross from Ryan Broom on the right was nodded in by Luke Varney for his eighth of the season.’  There was no Adam Dawson in the Macclesfield side. He signed for The Silkmen on 11th January but has yet to make a first team appearance for them.

broom - thumbnail_jmp_bristol_rovers_v_bradford_city -photo credit neil brookman
A graduate of Rovers youth setup, Ryan Broom enjoyed loan spells at Taunton Town, Bath City and Eastleigh whilst at The Memorial.
Made 13 appearances in all competitions for the Gas before signing for Cheltenham Town in the summer of 2018.     [Photo Credit: Neil Brookman]
Harry Pell and his Colchester United team mates were beaten 2-1 at Crewe Alexandra and dropped to eighth place in the league, being replaced in the final promotion spot by Exeter City, 1-0 home winners against Cambridge United. Jordan Tillson was an 87th minute substitute for The Grecians, but Cambridge’s Reggie Lambe was nowhere to be seen.

Lee Nicholls and his MK Dons side lost further ground in the race for automatic promotion as they lost 1-0 to Grimsby Town, who were reduced to ten men in the 41st minute.

No problems for Mansfield Town, though, who moved into second place with a 3-0 home win against Tranmere Rovers. Ryan Sweeney started for The Stags, while Conrad Logan again warmed the bench.

Cristian Montano was an unused substitute for Port Vale in their 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Carlisle United, for whom Tom Parkes again started (and was booked).

Bury and league leaders Lincoln City drew 3-3 at Gigg Lane where Dominic Telford started for the hosts and Byron Moore was introduced as a 67th minute substitute. John Akinde scored for Lincoln (another penalty!) and Cian Bolger started, although he didn’t reappear for the second half.

Tom Broadbent made his home debut for Swindon Town, but they were beaten 1-0 by Crawley Town at the County Ground.

Moving down into the National League, and Chris Zebroski was in the Eastleigh side that recorded a 1-0 win at Bromley, the winning goal arriving in the 88th minute.

Angelo Balanta was missing from the Dagenham & Redbridge lineup as they drew 1-1 at home against Aldershot Town. On target for Aldershot was Bernard Mensah, who equalised in the 64th minute; ‘Just after the hour mark Mensah, the former Watford trainee, got his head to a Lewis Kinsella cross and levelled.’  It was a decent result for Gary Waddock’s Aldershot side, though they are now 11 matches without a win and still stuck in the bottom four.

Jamie Fullarton’s FC Halifax Town played out a goalless draw against Salford City, for whom Rory Gaffney was an unused substitute. The point gained by Salford saw them up to second place.

Two sides who are now both six games without a win, Gateshead and Boreham Wood, drew 1-1 in the north east. Ricky Shakes started for Boreham and Danny Woodards was an unused substitute.

Substitute Luke James started the second half for Hartlepool United and must have done something right! His side were 1-0 down at half time but won 2-1. The equaliser came in the 52nd minute and James was brought down for the penalty which led to the winning goal in the 59th minute. Lyle Della-Verde was a 62nd minute substitute for bottom club Braintree.

No joy for John Still on his return to Maidstone, as they went down 3-0 against league leaders Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road where Matt Harrold was a 49th minute substitute for the O’s.

Solihull Moors coach James Quinn saw his side lose 2-1 at home to AFC Fylde. Nathan Blissett started for the Moors, while Andy Bond was a 62nd minute substitute for Fylde.

Alfie Kilgour was again in the Maidenhead United side, beaten 1-0 at fifth place Wrexham. The result sees Maidenhead sit just one point and one place above the bottom four.

Moving on to National League North and Hereford recorded a 3-2 away win at Blyth Spartans, with Danny Greenslade and Eliot Richards both in the side.

Darlington drew 1-1 at Curzon Ashton and both Alex Henshall and Johnny Burn were named on the Darlo bench. Henshall was sent on as a 66th minute substitute, while Burn stayed where he was!.

Guiseley co manager Marcus Bignot must be a worried man as, after their FA Cup exploits earlier this season, they are slipping towards the relegation zone and their 5-4 home defeat by Boston United didn’t help matters.

Kdderminster Harriers’ Chairman Colin Gordon, currently caretaker manager as well, saw his side suffer a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Alfreton.

In National League South, Torquay United assistant manager Aaron Downes saw The Gulls demolish Oxford City 7-2 at Plainmoor in front of a crowd of 2,467.

Bradley Goldberg was in the Welling United side beaten 1-0 at Billericay Town, while Will Puddy kept goal for Chippenham Town in their 2-1 home win against Truro City. George Rigg was also in the Chippenham side and there was an Ellington on the bench which, I’m pretty sure, was former Rovers youngster Lewis. Not a good day for Truro assistant manager Michael Meaker, though at least he didn’t have to travel too far for this one!

goldberg photo credit neil brookman
Currently playing for Welling United, Bradley Goldberg began his career with Bromley and played at every level from U-9 to U-16 before taking up a two year scholarship with Charlton Athletic.
Has since had five spells with his former club, Bromley, and also played for Hastings United and Dagenham & Redbridge from whom he joined Rovers, on loan, in November 2014.
Made six Conference league appearances for The Gas.    [Photo Credit: Neil Brookman]
Alex Wall was missing from the Concord Rangers lineup, as they drew 1-1 at Dartford, while Bath City also drew, 0-0 against Gloucester City. Luke Russe made his debut for Gloucester, while Ryan Clarke conceded, and then saved, a penalty for Bath, for whom Ryan Brunt was a 67th minute substitute. No sign of Sean Rigg in their squad on this occasion, though.

Chris Dickson was on the losing side, as Hampton & Richmond Borough were beaten 1-0 at home by St Albans City, while Cameron Hargreaves and Rhys Kavanagh were in the Hungerford Town side beaten 3-0 by Hemel Hempstead Town.

Weston super Mare won their first home league game of the season, beating Slough Town 2-0. Nabi Diallo started this one while Jamie Lucas went on as a 65th minute substitute. Louie Soares was a 56th minute substitute for Slough, while Scott Davies stayed on the bench all afternoon.

Jeffrey Monakana also spent the afternoon without seeing a taste of the action. However, his Wealdstone side pulled off a surprise 2-0 win at second placed Woking.

In the Northern Premier League East Division, Cleethorpes Town were 5-1 away winners at Carlton Town. Craig Disley started this one but didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet.

dis - photo credit - jeff davis
Currently on a season long loan with Cleethorpes Town, from Alfreton Town, Craig Disley began his career with Mansfield Town after graduating through their youth setup.
Joined Rovers in July 2004 and appeared in the 2007 play off final against Shrewsbury Town, the side he joined after leaving Rovers, in June 2009.
Joined Grimsby Town two years later and played against Rovers in the 2015 Conference play off final. Was back at Wembley again a year later as Grimsby beat Forest Green Rovers to return to the Football League.    [Photo Credit: Jeff Davis]
In the same division, Ossett United also scored five on the road as they beat Gresley FC 5-0 with Andy Monkhouse in their side. He didn’t score either!

Prescot Cables, in the West Division, drew 1-1 with Radcliffe Borough and Josh Klein-Davies was an unused substitute for them.

Next, we head off to the Bostik League Premier Division and Bishop’s Stortford were 3-0 winners at Burgess Hill Town. Jamie Cureton played the 90 minutes and whilst he didn’t get on the scoresheet he did have a couple of chances in the second half, according to the club’s Twitter feed; ‘Chance for Cureton. Renee crosses from the byeline to Jamie whose shot hits the outer side of the post and goes for a goal kick.’ That was in the 80th minute of the game.

Bognor Regis Town, still without the services of the injured Theo Widdrington, were 3-1 winners at Corinthian Casuals, while Harlow Town moved out of the bottom three thanks to a 2-1 home win against Lewes. Tom Hitchcock started for Harlow and was credited with an assist for their second goal.

Margate drew their home game against Leatherhead 1-1, their goal being scored by Dave Martin from the penalty spot in the 80th minute.

dave martin - photo credit neil brookman
Dave Martin is currently playing for Margate on loan from Eastbourne Borough.
Played, initially, for South East London side Slade Green and then Dartford, Crystal Palace and Millwall before going Derby County, initially on loan.
He then went out on loan to Notts County and Walsall before joining Southend United. From Roots Hall it was on to Luton Town. There was a loan spell with Dartford before another loan spell, with Rovers and he appeared in 15 games in our Conference season of 2014/15.
Has since played for Stevenage, Whitehawk and Bromley as well as Eastbourne Borough. This is his third spell with Margate.     [Photo Credit: Neil Brookman]
Marcus Law saw his Kettering Town side move back to the top of the Southern League Premier Central Division with a 2-1 away win at Stourbridge, who had been top going into the game. Craig Stanley was in the Kettering starting lineup, while Adam Cunnington was a 29th minute substitute. A crowd of 1,734 watched this top of the table clash.

Tyler Lyttle was in the Rushall Olympic side beaten 1-0 at Alvechurch, who scored the only goal of the game in the 94th minute.

In the Premier South Division Scott McGleish was on the bench for Hendon, who kept their first clean sheet in two months with a goalless draw at Beaconsfield Town.

A crowd of 1,224 saw Salisbury suffer a 4-3 home defeat at the hands of Weymouth, a result that saw The Terras leapfrog their hosts into third place. Darren Mullings was in the Salisbury side, while Josh Wakefield scored for Weymouth who also had Abdulai Baggie in their starting lineup.

Swindon Supermarine had a new goalkeeper for their visit of Frome Town. However, it wasn’t a happy debut for Martin Horsell who signed for them from Hereford in the week. He was adjudged to have handled outside his area in the 39th minute and was red carded as a result. Jerel Ifil was also in the Swindon side. It turned out to be a good day for Frome boss Danny Greaves, though, as his side were 4-0 winners and one of the goals was scored by Rovers youngster Tom Mehew who scored their second, on 56 minutes; ‘Rex Mannings replaced Kris Miller and had an immediate impact when he worked his way to the byeline and played in a low cross which Bath cleverly backheeled to Mehew for Frome’s second goal.’

Liam Armstrong was in goal for Tiverton Town who drew 2-2 against Gavin Williams’ Merthyr Town side. Ben Swallow was named on the bench for Merthyr.

Meanwhile Jefferson Louis scored one of Chesham United’s goals in their 2-2 draw at Walton Casuals and Pierce Mitchell was in the Taunton Town side that drew 1-1 at Wimborne Town.

In Division One South, Paulton Rovers gained a point from a goalless draw with Blackfield & Langley. Jay Malpas started for Paulton, while Trey Anderson was named on the bench and, no doubt, assistant managers Gary Powell and Paul Tovey were on the sidelines.

Phil Bater’s Larkhall Athletic slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Cinderford Town. Geraint Bater and Lewis Powell were in the Larkhall starting lineup, while Matt Groves was named on the bench. Larkhall striker Mitchell Page was red carded, as was the manager according to Cinderford’s Twitter feed; ‘Larkhall No 9 sent off for an elbow on Dan MacDonald. The Larkhall manager also sent off for remonstrating with the Cinderford bench.’

Yate Town’s highest attendance of the season, 390, saw them beat Evesham United 3-1 at Lodge Road. Ollie Mehew went on as a 53rd minute substitute for Yate and scored their third goal, meaning it was a good day in the Mehew household as brother Tom scored for Frome! Sam Kamara was also involved, going on as a 75th minute substitute. The result leaves Yate level on points with Moneyfields at the top of the table. There were three red cards and two penalties in this game.

Highgate United’s away game at Coventry United was called off, and Glebe didn’t have a game, though they are now without the services of manager Anwar Uddin who left the club this month by mutual consent.

Moving closer to home, Ray Johnston’s Hallen beat Hengrove Athletic 1-0 to end a run of six consecutive defeats. There was no joy for Roman Glass St George manager Andy Gurney, though, as his side were beaten 3-1 at home by Willand Rovers. Joe White’s Chipping Sodbury Town were without a game.

In the Scottish Premiership, Scott Sinclair was again on target for Celtic as they beat Hamilton Academical 1-0. Peter Hartley was an unused substitute for Motherwell in their 1-0 win at Dundee and Michael Smith was in the Heart of Midlothian side that beat St Johnstone 2-0.

Darryl Duffy was a 76th minute substitute for Airdrieonians in their 1-0 Scottish League One defeat at Stenhousemuir and David McCracken was missing from the Peterhead squad at Annan Athletic. The Scottish League Two leaders were beaten 3-0 by Annan and slipped down to second place.

In Wales, Barry Town United made it through to the quarter finals of the Welsh Cup with a 3-2 win against Cefn Druids, with Kayne McLaggon scoring their third goal.

No cup joy for Haverfordwest County though. They were all square (0-0) against Bala Town FC at the end of 90 minutes but conceded four goals in the first half of extra time. Kaid Mohamed was included in the Haverfordwest lineup.

Over in Ireland, Mark McChrystal was back from injury and named on the bench for Crusaders who were 3-1 winners at Institute in the NIPL.

Seanan Clucas was again missing from the Dungannon Swifts lineup though, as they were also away winners, 2-1 at Coleraine.

Staying in Ireland and Larne were 4-0 winners against Carrick Rangers in the Championship (Section A). Goes without saying that Jeff Hughes was in the Larne side!

Mustapha Carayol managed some game time as he went on as a substitute for Apollon Limasol in their 2-0 win against Doxa in the Cypriot First Division.

On Sunday, up in Scotland, Garry Kenneth and his Lochee United team mates were without a game for the second week running. Last week’s game against Tayport was called off due to a frozen pitch and this weekend’s game in the Scottish Junior Cup, at Craigmark Burtonians, was also off as the pitch was declared unplayable!

In the Dutch Eridivisie Jake Clarke Salter was in the Vitesse Arnhem side beaten 2-1 at Fortuna Sittard, where the winning goal was scored in the 94th minute.

This week’s edition ends with news of another transfer involving a former Gas player, and a team mate of Jake Clarke Salter at Chelsea and Rovers; Charlie Colkett, whose loan to Shrewsbury from Chelsea was recently cut short, has joined Swedish side Ostersunds. He is the sixth Rovers player to play professionally in Sweden, after Errington Kelly, Tim Parkin, Marcus Andreasson, Matt Harrold and Reggie Lambe.

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Chapter 24 –  Week commencing 14th January 2019

Monday evening saw Rushall Olympic take on Hednesford Town in the quarter finals of the Staffordshire Senior Cup and, with Tyler Lyttle in their side, they made it through to the last four thanks to a 2-0 win.

It was FA Cup replay night on Tuesday and the only one of the three replays that might have had an ex Gas connection didn’t, as Ollie Norburn was suspended and missed out on Shrewsbury Town’s 3-2 win at Stoke City. It was quite a win for the Shrews, as they were, at one point, two goals behind to the Championship side on their own turf. Victory means that they will face Wolves, at Molineux, in the fourth round.

The one match in EFL 2 saw Mansfield Town move into third place with a 2-1 home win against Crawley Town, the only goal of the game arriving in the 88th minute. Ryan Sweeney was in the Stags’ side and Conrad Logan on the bench.

Alfie Kilgour opened the scoring for Maidenhead, after only ten minutes of their National League game at Maidstone United and his side went on to register a 4-2 win which moves them four points above the relegation zone.

There were two replaysop ten of the Southern League Premier South Division following their 5-2 win at Poole Town. Jerel Ifil was again in the Supermarine starting XI.

In the Southern League Division One Central, Sutton Coldfield Town were again without the services of Justin Richards as they played out a 1-1 draw at Welwyn Garden City.

Melksham Town, with Nuno Felix named on the bench, ended their recent losing streak in Division One South with a convincing 3-0 win at Thatcham Town.

Ray Johnston’s Hallen side were in action in a home game against Bitton in the Western League Premier Division and were beaten 1-0 by their visitors.

Guiseley co manager Marcus Bignot saw his side win 4-0 at Yorkshire Amateur in the quarter final of the North Riding Senior Cup.

Turning on the TV to watch the Southampton v Derby County replay, I found Kelle Roos guarding the Derby net. If I’m honest, I had forgotten all about him and thought he had returned to his native Holland.

kelle roos - photo credit neil brookman

During his five years at Derby County Kelle Roos has been out on loan to Rotherham United, AFC Wimbledon, Rovers, Port Vale and Plymouth Argyle.
He was at The Memorial Stadium between August 2016 and January 2017 and appeared in 23 games in all competitions for The Gas. [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]

However, he’s still at Pride Park, where he has made eight first team appearances for the Rams in five years (all in cup competitions). During that time, he has been out on loan at Rotherham United, AFC Wimbledon, Rovers, Port Vale and Plymouth Argyle. This was his third appearance of the season for Derby and I thought he did well in a game that his side won 5-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw and extra time. It’s now two years since he left us, after a loan that took in 23 appearances in all competitions.

In another penalty shootout, in the quarter final of the Velocity Trophy, Bishop’s Stortford beat Merstham. The game finished 1-1 after 90 minutes and Stortford were 3-2 winners on penalties. Jamie Cureton, though, sat this one out.

Friday saw Tom Broadbent leave Rovers to sign for Swindon Town, so he’s now an ex Gas we will be looking out for every week! Ben Swallow was another former Gasman on the move, joining Merthyr Town from Weston super Mare, while Cian Bolger left Joey Barton and Fleetwood Town for the delights of Lincoln City and Sincil Bank – they seem to like former Gas players, do Lincoln!

News, also, of Charlie Clough who, as I have noted in dispatches, hasn’t been in the Sutton United squad of late. Well, there’s a very good reason for that – he’s left them! Tony Mills alerted me to the fact that he’s now out in Brunei and this is the message received from Charlie this week; ‘Hello Keith! Really well out here thanks. Random move out here but it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. Give me a shout if you need anything. Season starts in March and we compete in the Singapore Premier League.’

charlie clough - photo credit neil brookman
Charlie Clough made only three appearances for Rovers and went on to play for Bath City, Telford United, Dorchester Town, Forest Green Rovers, Barnet and Sutton United.
Now out in Brunei where he starts the next chapter of his career in March, playing in the Singapore Premier League.  [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
In the Dutch Eredivisie SB Vitesse, with Jake Clarke-Salter in their lineup, were 3-2 home winners against Excelsior, while in French Ligue 2 Omare Tounkara was named on the bench for Chateauroux, who drew 1-1 against Valenciennes and went on in the second half of that game.

I’ll begin Saturday’s roundup with Rovers, but their 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Wycombe Wanderers isn’t really worth dwelling on. We were poor, very poor, and slipped back into the relegation zone. Help for the team, and the club, is urgently required.

In the Premier League, Brighton assistant manager Paul Trollope saw his side lose 2-1 against Manchester United at Old Trafford, while Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge conceded three times against Newcastle United at St James’ Park. His side didn’t manage to score at the other end, and Cardiff are back in the bottom three.

In the Championship, Ellis Harrison was missing from the Ipswich Town lineup. The bottom club lost 2-0 at Blackburn Rovers and remain seven points from safety.

Goalkeeper Sam Walker was again on the Reading bench, but they were beaten 2-1 at Derby County where another former Gas goalie, Kelle Roos, was in goal for the home side, making his league debut for The Rams.

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis saw his side draw 1-1 against Millwall, whose coach Adam Barratt was watching from the sidelines. Boro, though, remain in the play off places, in fifth place, and are six points off an automatic promotion spot.

Matty Taylor was missing from the Bristol City squad at Nottingham where his side pulled off a 1-0 win against Forest, while QPR goalkeeper Joe Lumley and his QPR side were on the wrong end of a 4-1 home drubbing at the hands of Preston North End.

Yet another Gas goalie, Luke Daniels, was again on the bench for Brentford, 4-2 winners at Rotherham United, but Oli McBurnie and Connor Roberts were on the winning side as Swansea City were 1-0 home winners against Sheffield United. McBurnie scored the only goal of the game on 65 minutes.

In League One, Blackpool, with Marc Bola in their lineup and Shrewsbury, with Ollie Norburn in theirs, played out a goalless draw at Bloomfield Road.

Gillingham suffered a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Walsall, so no goals for Tom Eaves who went on as a 35th minute substitute for the Gills.

Peterborough United, Rovers next league opponents, were beaten 4-0 at Luton. Not a good day for goalkeeper Aaron Chapman though, in his defence, his side had to play with ten men for 65 minutes of the game after Ryan Tafazoli was red carded.

Lee Brown returned to the Portsmouth lineup, but he and his side were beaten 2-1 at Oxford United and the league leaders are now only a point ahead of second placed Luton Town.

Plymouth Argyle made it three league wins in succession as they came from behind to beat Coventry City 2-1 at Home Park. Gary Sawyer was in the Agyle side while Matt Macey again warmed the bench.

Matt Lund was an 85th minute substitute for Scunthorpe United, who drew 1-1 against Sunderland at Glanford Park. An inspired substitution? Maybe, as his side scored their equaliser just two minutes later!

League Two leaders Lincoln City were 1-0 home winners in their derby match against Grimsby Town. Cian Bolger made his debut for the Imps and John Akinde also started, but once again there was no sign of Bernard Mensah. It’s rumoured that he may be returning to Aldershot Town, so we’ll have to wait and see!

Cambridge United scored a 94th minute winner in their 3-2 win against Keith Curle’s Northampton Town. Reggie Lambe was missing from the Cambridge side, but Andy Williams completed 90 minutes for the Cobblers.

Up at Brunton Park, Tom Parkes and his Carlisle team mates were 2-0 winners against Cheltenham Town, who had Ryan Broom in their lineup.

Two promotion hopefuls, Colchester United and Mansfield Town, were involved in a five goal thriller at Colchester’s Community Stadium, with Mansfield coming out on top, winning 3-2. Harry Pell was in the Colchester side, while Ryan Sweeney was in the Mansfield lineup and Conrad Logan was an unused substitute.

Port Vale, who visit Rovers in a Checkatrade Trophy quarter final match on Tuesday, were 1-0 winners at Crawley Town, though they did it without the services of Cristian Montano.

Bury remain in second place, three points adrift of Lincoln City, following their 2-1 win at Forest Green Rovers. Dominic Telford started for Bury and Byron Moore was introduced as a 58th minute substitute.

Adam Dawson is still waiting to make his Macclesfield Town debut. The Silkmen’s recent signing was again absent from their squad as they were 2-1 home winners against Oldham Athletic.

Lee Nicholls and his MK Dons team mates were on the losing side, beaten 1-0 at home by Crewe Alexandra and they dropped down to fifth place.

David Pipe and Jordan Tillson were unused substitutes for Newport County and Exeter City respectively as the Welsh side came out 1-0 winners at Rodney Parade.

Tom Broadbent made his Swindon Town debut against Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park and helped his new side to a 2-1 victory, a result that sees them just four points off the play off places. This is what the Swindon Town website had to say about his performance; ‘Broadbent started the game just a day after joining the club from Bristol Rovers and was a colossus at the back in the second half as the home side piled the pressure on.’

tom broadbent - photo credit jmp
After six years in The Army, Tom Broadbent arrived at Rovers in the summer of 2017 and enjoyed a successful first season in League Football, appearing in more than 20 games for The gas.
However game time was limited this season and he opted to join Swindon Town earlier this month on a two and a half year deal. His Rovers career took in 36 games in all competitions and he scored his only goal for the club in his final game, a 2-1 win at Northampton Town in the Checkatrade Trophy.   [Photo Credit – JMP]
Yeovil Town, with Alefe Santos an unused substitute, were 2-0 home winners against bottom club Notts County.  Daniel Jones was an unused substitute for County, who are now seven points from safety and in real danger of being relegated to the National League.

And that brings us on nicely to National League results. It wasn’t a good day for Luke James and Hartlepool United, as they were beaten 3-1 at Harrogate Town and James was substituted just after the hour mark.

AFC Fylde moved into fourth place with a 2-0 home win against Wrexham, who drop to fifth place, with Andy Bond being introduced as an 80th minute substitute.

Two of the bottom four clubs met at Aldershot, where Gary Waddock’s Town side were beaten by a Chesterfield side seemingly rejuvenated under new manager John Sheridan.

Jamie Fullarton’s side, meanwhile, took a point from a goalless draw at Barrow, but Boreham Wood, with Danny Woodards and Ricky Shakes in their starting XI, were beaten 3-1 at home by Havant & Waterlooville.

Barnet’s Mark Cousins was sent off after only three minutes of their game at Braintree Town and the league’s bottom side, with Lyle Della-Verde an unused substitute, ran out 4-0 winners.

Chris Zebroski was a 74th minute substitute for Eastleigh in their 3-2 home win against Sutton United, who were missing the services of Wayne Brown.

League leaders Leyton Orient were beaten 2-0 at Ebbsfleet United in spite of the introduction of striker Matt Harrold on 63 minutes, when they had already conceded both goals.

Orient are now top of the table on goal difference only, from Solihull Moors who were 2-1 winners at Maidenhead United. Nathan Blissett was in the Moors side, with assistant manager/coach James Quinn on the sidelines, while Alfie Kilgour again took his place in the Maidenhead lineup.

Angelo Balanta was again in the Dagenham & Redbridge side and they ran out 3-0 winners at Maidstone United.

angelo balanta - photo credit neil brookman
One of two Columbian born players to appear for Rovers (Cristian Montano is the other) Angelo Balanta spent one season with us – the 2014/15 Conference campaign and successful converted a spot kick in the penalty shootout against Grimsby Town in the Wembley play off final.
Began his career with QPR and spent time on loan at Wycombe Wanderers, MK Dons and Yeovil Town before signing for The Gas.
Has since played for Carlisle Unitedand Boreham Wood before joining his current club Dagenham & Redbridge. [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
A 1-1 home draw against Gateshead saw Salford City drop down to third place. Rory Gaffney started this one and was substituted four minutes from time.

Colin Gordon, in temporary charge of National League North side Kidderminster Harriers, saw his side register a 1-0 away win at AFC Telford, though there was no joy for Guiseley co manager Marcus Bignot who saw his side go down 3-0 at Chorley.

Darlington suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Spennymoor Town. Both Alex Henshall and Johnny Burn were named on the bench and although Henshall got on with six minutes to go, Burn stayed there!

Hereford, with Danny Greenslade starting and Eliot Richards going on as a 64th minute substitute, were held to a 2-2 draw at Edgar Street by bottom club Nuneaton Borough.

Pride of place in National League South goes to Bath City, who drew their highest league attendance for some 40 years (3,492) to Twerton Park, where they ended the 16 match unbeaten run of league leaders Torquay United by winning 3-2.

Ryan Clark and Sean Rigg started for the Romans, while Ryan Brunt came off the bench in the 76th minute and scored the winning goal four minutes from time. The result sees City stay in third place, three points behind second placed Woking and four behind Torquay.

Aaron Downes was again in touchline charge for Torquay as Gary Johnson served the second of a two game ban and watched from the stands. City manager Jerry Gill, who also has Rovers connections given that he was one of Paul Trollope’s backroom staff, had this to say afterwards; ‘It was an immense performance. The character from our boys was what won the game in the end. This is a special group of players.’

Gill was named top boss in National Leagues North and South by the Non League Paper.

Alex Wall, subject of a major article in the same newspaper, scored for Concord Rangers after just four minutes of their 2-2 home draw against Billericay Town.

alex wall - photo credit neil brookman
Now playing for Concord Rangers, Alex Wall made five league appearances for Rovers when on loan from Luton Town in 2014/15.
As well as Luton and Rovers he has previously turned out for Maidenhead United, Dartford, Bromley and Hungerford Town  [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
There were no goals for Chris Dickson, though. The striker was a 65th minute substitute for Hampton & Richmond Borough in their 1-1 draw at Hemel Hempstead.

Slough Town and Chippenham Town also shared the spoils, playing out a 2-2 draw at Slough who took a two goal lead in the first half. Scott Davies and Louie Soares both started for the home side, while Will Puddy was in goal for Chippenham and George Rigg netted their equaliser in the 76th minute.

Michael Meaker, assistant manager of Truro City saw his side, playing their first Saturday home game of the season back at Treyew Road, also share the spoils as they drew 3-3 with bottom club Weston super Mare. Nabi Diallo started for Weston and Jamie Lucas went on as a 68th minute substitute.

Jeffrey Monakana was in the Wealdstone side that recorded a 1-0 home win against Hungerford Town. Cameron Hargreaves and Rhys Kavanagh were in the Hungerford lineup, but there was no sign of Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis.

Meanwhile Bradley Goldberg was in the Welling United side, 1-0 winners against Eastbourne Borough, and put in a six out of ten performance (Non League Paper).

Cleethorpes Town, the Northern Premier League East Division, were 3-0 winners against Gresley FC in front of what they called a bumper crowd of 506 as they extended their unbeaten run to eight. Craig Disley was again on the bench, where he seems to spend most of his time these days, though he did get a taste of the action late in the second half.

Andy Monkhouse and his Ossett United side played in front of a slightly smaller crowd (464) as they drew 1-1 against Carlton Town in the same division. The result sees them one place and one point outside of the play off places.

In the West Division, Josh Klein-Davies was in the starting lineup for Prescot Cables who were beaten 2-1 at Runcorn Linnets.

Jamie Cureton was on target for Bishop’s Stortford in their game against Tonbridge Angels in the Bostik League Premier Division but ended up on the losing side as Stortford slipped to a 4-3 home defeat.

In the same division Bognor Regis Town played out a 2-2 draw against Potters Bar Town but were without the services of Theo Widdrington, who is currently injured. Staying in that league, Tom Hitchcock was in the Harlow Town side beaten 5-3 at Dorking Wanderers.

In the Southern League Premier Central Division Marcus Law’s Kettering Town side, with Craig Stanley starting, were 1-0 winners against Royston Town, though once again there was no sign of Adam Cunnington in the Kettering squad.

Tyler Lyttle and his Rushall Olympic team mates were winners again, beating Leiston 2-0 to move up to 15th place.

Moving on to the Premier South Division, Danny Greaves and his Frome Town side suffered a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of second placed Metropolitan Police. Tom Mehew was on the bench for Frome but didn’t get on this time around.

In the Premier South Division Swindon Supermarine, with Jerel Ifil again starting, were 3-1 winners at Harrow Borough and currently lie in ninth place in the league standings.

jerel ifil - photo credit neil brookman
Jerel Ifil played just three games for Rovers after joining us from Aberdeen in early 2011.
He was sent off in the third of those games, against Dagenham & Redbridge. His brother Phil was in the Daggers lineup that day as they ran out 2-0 winners.
Jerel is probably best known for his time at Swindon Town, for whom he played more than 200 games in all competitions. Now turning out for Swindon Supermarine.  [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Darren Mullings and his Salisbury team mates also won on the road, beating Hartley Wintney 4-3 and they are now fourth in the league, on the same number of points as Weymouth who drew 2-2 against Kings Langley.

Josh Wakefield was in the starting lineup for this one and Abdulai Baggie was a second half substitute, while Rene Howe scored one of the Kings Langley goals. Langley put out a statement after the game in which they advised everyone that Matt Allcock, described as their number one fan and club sponsor collapsed and died sometime after the game, aged 46. As a mark of respect, the club immediately postponed their fixture against Salisbury scheduled for Tuesday.

It would appear that Scott McGleish is concentrating on his coaching at Hendon as he was again missing from their side that took on Tiverton Town. The game ended 2-2 and Liam Armstrong was again in goal for ‘Tivvy’.

Gavin Williams saw his Merthyr Town side register a 1-0 home win against Basingstoke Town. Ben Swallow was named on the bench and made his debut for Merthyr when going on as a 68th minute substitute.

Pierce Mitchell was again in the Taunton Town lineup and the league leaders were 3-2 home winners against Gosport Borough. After the match Pierce shared this news with his Twitter followers; ‘Delighted to sign a new deal until Summer 2020 with @TauntonTownFC #Peacocks.’

Jefferson Louis was in the Chesham United side held to a goalless home draw by Dorchester Town. Not necessarily a great result for either of them as they are both only just clear of the relegation zone.

Still no sign of Justin Richards appearing for Sutton Coldfield Town in Division One Central. He was missing from their squad at the weekend when Sutton were 4-2 winners against Kidlington and extended their unbeaten run to six.

In Division One South Nuno Felix was named on the bench for Melksham Town, who won 3-2 against Bristol Manor Farm at The Creek.

Phil Bater’s Larkhall Athletic were 2-1 winners against Slimbridge. Geraint Bater and Lewis Powell, who scored his 19th goal of the season, started while Neil Arndale and Matt Groves were named on the bench.

There was a surprise at Cossham Street, where Mangotsfield United won 5-0 against Cinderford Town. No ex Gas this week, though, as goalkeeper Kieran Hodges was kept out due to the shoulder injury he sustained last week.

Yate Town kept up their promotion push with a 2-1 win at league leaders Moneyfields. That saw their hosts drop to third place and yate move into second place on the same number of points as leaders Blackfield & Langley. While I can tell you that Sam Kamara was in the Yate starting lineup, I have no idea if there were any more ex Gas players on view as, at the time of writing, I have been unable to track down the Yate squad for the match.

Paulton Rovers were beaten 1-0 at home by Winchester City, so not a good day for assistant managers Paul Tovey and Gary Powell or for Trey Anderson and Jay Malpas, who were both named on the bench.

Barry Hayles went on as a 77th minute for substitute for Windsor in their 1-1 draw at Ardley United, but there was no game for Jordan Goddard or Sam Oji as Highgate United didn’t play this weekend.

Glebe, managed by Anwar Uddin, were beaten 3-1 at Crowborough and Andy Gurney and Ray Johnstone made it a hat trick of defeats for former Gas players now turned managers, as Roman Glass St George (Gurney) were beaten 2-1 by Wellington and Hallen (Johnstone) lost 4-0 at Buckland Athletic.

In Scotland, Scott Sinclair scored twice and missed a penalty as Celtic beat Aidrieonians 3-0 in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup. Darryl Duffy was a 76th minute substitute for Airdrieonians.

Motherwell, with Peter Hartley in their side, bowed out of the competition following their 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Ross County.

Alan Gow was in the Queens Park side that drew 1-1 against Stirling Albion in Scottish League Two and in the same division Peterhead went top following their 2-0 win against Berwick Rangers. David McCracken was an unused substitute for Peterhead.

I managed to confirm that Garry Kenneth was in the Lochee United side for last week’s win against Blairgowrie, so I think I might have to be a week behind with his progress and their match reports!

In Wales there was no game for Barry Town United, while Haverfordwest County’s game at Goytre was postponed.

Switching to the Northern Ireland Premier league and Crusaders were again without the services of Mark McChrystal for their home game against Linfield. According to their website, it had been hoped that he would return, after injury, for this one but he didn’t make it and Crusaders were beaten 1-0.

Dungannon Swifts were 3-1 winners against Cliftonville, but they were without Seanan Clucas for this one.

Jeff Hughes, though, was on target for Larne in their 4-1 win against Loughgall in the Championship.

In Cyprus, Mustapha Carayol managed some game time when going on as a second half substitute for Apollon Limasol in their 3-0 win against Emmis in the Cypriot First Division.

On Sunday Heart of Midlothian were in action in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup and they were 1-0 winners against Livingston, so there could yet be cup glory for Michael Smith, who was in the Hearts lineup.

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Chapter 23 –  Week commencing 7th January 2019

The last remaining third round FA Cup tie between Wolves and Liverpool took place on Monday, but, unfortunately, there were no former Gas players involved.

Of more interest to most of us, in all probability, was the draw for the fourth round which took place at Molineux immediately after the game. And that, I suspect, was due to some perverse interest in seeing who Barnet might draw. Simply because they beat us in round one.

Subsequent victories against Stockport County and Sheffield United respectively have softened the blow of that first round defeat (but only just!) and so I’m pretty certain many of us will be looking out for their result against Brentford in round four. The Bees against The Bees at The Hive – someone will, I’m sure, make a meal out of that!

This week’s In Search of Gas begins in the Premier Central Division of the Southern League where Tyler Lyttle and his Rushall Olympic team mates played out a 1-1 draw against Barwell, who played all but 14 minutes of the game with ten men after one of their players was sent off.

tyler lyttle - photo credit neil brookman
The son of former Swansea City, Nottingham Forest and West Bromwich Albion defender Des Lyttle, Tyler Lyttle arrived at Rovers after failing to be offered a contract by Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Signed a pro deal for The Gas in June 2015 and two months later made his only league start for the club in a 2-0 defeat at Leyton Orient. His only other senior appearance for us came as a substitute in the Football league Trophy tie against Wycombe Wanderers in October 2015.
Spent time on loan with Nuneaton Borough and Truro City whilst with Rovers. Since leaving the club, in March 2017, he signed for Stafford Rangers and is currently playing for Russell Olympic in the Southern League Premier Division Central. [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Tuesday night was Checkatrade night, for 14 sides and I was at Sixfields, home of Northampton Town (though it’s now called the PTS Academy Stadium!) where Rovers, thanks to goals from Tom Broadbent (his first ever goal for the club) and Stefan Payne were 2-1 winners.

John-Joe O’Toole was still missing from the Northampton side (he’s been injured since November) while Andy Williams wasn’t in the squad. ‘Rested’ I was told, so that left Cobblers boss Keith Curle as the only ex Gasman on show for the hosts.

Interesting stat from this game, courtesy of Stephen Byrne. Northampton’s substitute goalkeeper Luke Coddington is the grandson of a former Huddersfield Town centre half, John Coddington, who played against Rovers in nine league games in the late 1950’s early 1960’s.

Elsewhere in the competition, Dominic Telford scored twice for Bury in their 4-2 win at Accrington Stanley and Byron Moore went on as a substitute in the second half.

Another substitute, Ryan Broom, was on the losing side. He was one of the Cheltenham Town substitutes, and although he went on in the 65th minute he ended up on the losing side as Oxford United were 4-1 winners in a penalty shootout after the game ended all square at 1-1.

The game at Vale Park also ended 1-1 though Port Vale went through to the last eight thanks to a 4-3 win on penalties. Cristian Montano was not in the Vale squad, while Shrewsbury’s former Gasmen Ollie Norburn and Charlie Colkett also sat this one out.

Portsmouth also went through, thanks to their 2-0 win at Southend United. Lee Brown was still missing through injury.

Maidenhead United, with Alfie Kilgour in their side, suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Oxford City in the first round of the FA Trophy. The game went to extra time after a 1-1 draw and Oxford scored the winning goal on 99 minutes.

alfie kilgour - photo credit neil brookman
Central defender Alfie Kilgour is currently on loan at National League side Maidenhead United. He was included in the first team squad for the first time for the match against Accrington Stanley on 12th September 2015 when he was one of our unused substitutes.
He was allocated squad number 32 and given a first team contract in the summer of 2016, the only scholar to be upgraded to the pro ranks.
Alfie has previously spent time on loan at Cirencester Town and then had to work extremely hard to recover from a serious cruciate ligament injury sustained in a Gloucestershire Senior Amateur Cup tie against Slimbridge.
On his return to action he became a regular in the club’s Development Squad and spent another spell on loan, on this occasion with Hungerford Town.
He returned to Rovers in time to make the bench for the final league game of last season, at Southend, and signed a new contract in the summer of 2018.  [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
In the same competition Salisbury undertook a spot of giant killing as they dumped National League side Braintree Town out of the competition, winning 2-1 at the Ray Mac Stadium. Darren Mullings opened the scoring for Salisbury on 25 minutes and although the visitors equalised four minutes later, Mullings scored again in the 69th minute to earn his side a tie against Carshalton Athletic in the next round. That game, by the way, will be played in four days’ time!

In the National League Solihull Moors, with assistant manager James Quinn on the touchline and Nathan Blissett in the starting lineup, were 2-1 winners at Gateshead and by virtue of that result and the fact that Wrexham lost 2-0 at Bromley, the Moors are up to third place in the table.

Another former Rovers player on the touchline was Guiseley co manager Marcus Bignot and he saw his side lose 1-0 at Southport in National League North.

Slough Town and Bath City played out a goalless draw in National League South in front of a crowd of 520. Scott Davies and Louie Soares both started for the home side, while Ryan Clarke was in goal for the Romans. Sean Rigg also returned to the Bath squad and was named on the bench. He went on in the 78th minute of the game and the point taken saw Bath up to third place in the league.

Truro City assistant manager Michael Meaker saw his side in action and, in their first league game of the season at their Treyew Road home, they were 2-1 winners against St Albans City in front of a crowd of 272.

In the Southern League Premier South Division, Tiverton Town, with Liam Armstrong in goal, beat Gosport Borough 1-0.

In the Bostik League Premier Division Theo Widdrington was in the Bognor Regis Town side that lost 3-0 at Brightlingsea Regent, a game described in this way on the club’s Twitter account; ‘Tonight our game was watched by 216 spectators. Our radio show had 224 listeners. Thank you all for listening, it’s a shame we couldn’t bring you three points but still proud to be giving you the action live.’

Sutton United, still without the services of Charlie Clough and Wayne Brown, were beaten 1-0 by Chertsey Town in the Surrey Senior County Cup.

Closer to home, Andy Gurney’s Roman Glass St George lost 2-1 at Bishop’s Cleeve in the GFA Trophy at the quarter final stage.

Wednesday night saw the Carabao Cup semi final first leg between Manchester City and Burton Albion at the Etihad Stadium, with the current Premier League Champions winning 9-0. Somehow, I can’t see the League One side turning that around in the second leg! Chris Beardsley wasn’t on the bench for this one, as he was at The Mem a few weeks ago, so I’m guessing he was watching from behind his hands on the sidelines!

Wednesday also saw the final Checkatrade Trophy tie played, between Chelsea U-21’s and Peterborough United, with the Posh winning 3-1. Goalkeeper Aaron Chapman returned to the Peterborough side for this game.

There was one game played in National League South and Welling United, with Bradley Goldberg in their side, lost 2-0 at Woking.

In the Southern League Premier South Division, Taunton Town beat Beaconsfield Town 2-1. It was the sixth game in 19 days for the league leaders and Pierce Mitchell was, once again, in their starting lineup.

Bostik League Premier side Bishop’s Stortford, who are without a game this coming Saturday, played a friendly match against Cheshunt and ran out 2-0 winners. You probably don’t need me to tell you that, inevitably, Jamie Cureton scored one of their goals!

Rovers players were in the news on Wednesday, as it was announced that Alfie Kilgour would remain with Maidenhead until the end of the season, Sam Slocombe had returned to The Mem from his loan spell at Lincoln and that Joe Martin had returned to his parent club, Stevenage.

On Friday Adam Dawson joined League Two strugglers Macclesfield Town, having left Chester, for whom he made just seven appearances, just ten days ago. Check out his interview on the Macclesfield website, as Rovers get a mention!

Also, on Friday, Oumare Tounkara returned to the Chateauroux side, after injury, for their French Ligue 2 fixture against Lorient. They lost 2-1, though, and Tounkara was substituted as his side managed to score an own goal and had a man sent off.

Saturday saw Rovers travel to face Accrington Stanley and, in atrocious conditions, they returned to Bristol with a hard earned point gained from a goalless draw.

In the Premier League, Brighton & Hove Albion assistant manager Paul Trollope saw his side lose 1-0 at home against league leaders Liverpool.

For the second time this season Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town played out a goalless draw, so it was another clean sheet for former Gas goalie Neil Etheridge.

In the Championship, Tony Pulis saw his side Middlesbrough side maintain their push for a play off place with a 2-1 win at Birmingham City. Boro are currently in fifth place, four points adrift of second placed Sheffield United.

Luke Daniels was back on bench duty for Brentford, who beat Stoke City 3-1 at Griffin Park and another bench warmer was Matty Taylor, at Ashton Gate. However, the former Rovers striker went on in the 62nd minute and equalised for Bristol City just two minutes later. City scored again two minutes after that and so beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1.

There was a rare win for Ipswich Town, who beat Rotherham United 1-0 at Portman Road. Yet another former Gas man was on the bench, and that’s where Ellis Harrison stayed all afternoon.

Preston North End and Swansea City drew 1-1 at Deepdale, the home side’s goal coming from the penalty spot after Connor Roberts was judged to have handled in the area. That was the equaliser and came five minutes after the Swans had taken the lead. There was no Oli McBurnie in the Swansea lineup.

Goalkeeper Sam Walker was on the bench for Reading, who were 2-0 winners against managerless Nottingham Forest at the Madejski Stadium. Forest picked up two red cards in the second half.

Joe Lumley and his QPR side were beaten 1-0 at Bramall Lane where victory for Sheffield United saw them move into second place. Lumley, according to QPR boss Steve McLaren; ‘was beaten by United’s only shot on target in the whole game…’

In the evening’s televised game Millwall coach Adam Barratt was on the bench as his side conceded two late goals against Blackburn Rovers at The Den which saw Rovers boss Tony Mowbray come out with this comment in his post match interview; ‘We forgot to pass the ball because we knew we’d have to head the ball and compete in midfield.’  I’m guessing he knows what he means!

Chris Beardsley, Burton Albion’s fitness coach, watched from the sidelines as Gillingham, who were missing Tom Eaves, snatched a 3-2 win at the Pirelli Stadium courtesy of a 91st minute winner. Eaves might be injured, of course, but there is a great deal of speculation around concerning his future, with Glasgow Rangers, Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End rumoured to be interested in signing him during the January transfer window.

Cian Bolger was missing from the Fleetwood Town lineup as they drew 2-2 against Oxford United, but Aaron Chapman was in goal for Peterborough United, 2-1 home winners against Rochdale.

Lee Brown’s hamstring injury again kept him out of the Portsmouth side that suffered a surprise home defeat at the hands of Blackpool who, with Marc Bola in their side, were 1-0 winners at Fratton Park.

Ollie Norburn and his Shrewsbury Town side were beaten 3-0 by Charlton Athletic, though there will be no more signs of Charlie Colkett in a Shrewsbury Town shirt. He has returned to Chelsea, who cut short his season long loan. The midfielder made just six appearances for The Shrews. Expect another loan move soon – don’t think he’s quite ready for Chelsea’s first team!

Plymouth Argyle won 3-2 at Southend United, with Gary Sawyer in the side and Matt Macey spending the ninety minutes on the bench.

Scunthorpe United recorded a fourth successive win by beating Walsall 2-1 at the Banks’s Stadium. Matt Lund was back in the Scunthorpe squad for this one and went on as an 85th minute substitute.

Wycombe Wanderers, who visit the Memorial Stadium next Saturday, were 2-0 down at home to Doncaster Rovers with only 13 minutes of their home game against Doncaster Rovers remaining but managed to take all three points with a stunning 3-2 win. Paris Cowan-Hall began the comeback with a 77th minute goal and then scored the winner in the 94th minute. Don’t recall him scoring too many goals in the past! Joe Jacobson was also in the Wycombe side and picked up a yellow card.

paris - photo credit neil brookman
Paris Cowan-Hall began his career as a trainee with Portsmouth and then played for Grimsby Town and Scunthorpe United before signing for Rushden & Diamonds. From there it was on to Woking, Plymouth Argyle and Wycombe Wanderers.
A move to Millwall preceded his loan spell with Rovers in November 2015 and then it was back to Wycombe Wanderers, where he signed a permanent deal after two loan spells with them.
One of his three games for The Gas was against Wycombe, which ended 3-0 in our favour on 1st December 2015.  [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
There was another fightback in League Two where Bury were trailing 3-1 against MK Dons at Gigg Lane but managed to take all three points after a 4-3 win. Dominic Telford scored one of the Bury goals and Byron Moore went on as a 55th minute substitute for the Shakers. Lee Nicholls was in goal for MK Dons and saved one of the two penalties he faced during the game. The three points saw Bury move into second place at the expense of the team they beat.

Cheltenham Town, with Ryan Broom in their lineup (he picked up a yellow card in this match) were beaten 3-1 by Tranmere Rovers at Whaddon Road.

David Pipe was an unused substitute for Newport County, who lost 3-2 at Crewe Alexandra, as was Jordan Tillson for Exeter, who played out a goalless draw with Morecambe at St James’ Park.

Adam Dawson wasn’t in the Macclesfield side that recorded a 2-0 away win at Grimsby Town; I’m guessing the reason for that is because he was registered too late to be included but could find no confirmation of that.

After a run of 10 games without a win, Yeovil Town beat Mansfield Town 1-0 at Field Mill. Alefe Santos stayed on the bench for the Glovers, as did Conrad Logan for the Stags. Ryan Sweeney, though, completed the ninety minutes for the home side and also collected a yellow card.

Keith Curle and his Northampton Town side, with Andy Williams in the lineup, were 3-0 home winners against another of Curle’s former clubs, Carlisle United. Tom Parkes was in the Carlisle side whose six match winning run came to an end.

Bottom club Notts County, with Daniel Jones on the bench, were beaten 1-0 by Cambridge United at Meadow Lane in front of a crowd of 15,026. The U’s were without the services of Reggie Lambe.

Also missing from action was Port Vale’s Cristian Montano and his side suffered a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Colchester United. Harry Pell scored twice for the visitors, who moved up to fourth place, just one point off an automatic promotion place.

Joe Martin might have returned to Stevenage, but he wasn’t in the side that recorded a 2-1 home win against Crawley Town.

Leaders Lincoln City collected a point from a 2-2 draw at Swindon Town. John Akinde was in the Lincoln side, but there was no sign of Bernard Mensah in their matchday squad. The Imps ended the match with nine men, picking up a red card in each half.

It was FA Trophy second round day and AFC Fylde went through to the next round courtesy of a 1-0 home win against Biggleswade Town, while Barnet were also home winners, 2-1 against Dorchester Town. Andy Bond was a 69th minute substitute for Fylde. The connections in the Barnet game were, of course, John Still for the home side and Josh Bailey for Dorchester. Josh is currently injured but was still at The Hive, helping out with matchday commentary for the visitors.

Ricky Shakes was in the Boreham Wood side beaten 1-0 at Blyth Spartans, while Danny Woodards was on the bench and was sent on at the start of the second half.

It’s the end of the road for Salisbury, though, beaten 4-1 at Carshalton Athletic, with Darren Mullings an unused substitute.

Jamie Fullarton’s FC Halifax Town will have to take on Solihull Moors again in a replay following their 2-2 draw against the side that has James Quinn as assistant manager and Nathan Blissett, who scored his side’s second goal after 58 minutes.

nathan blissett - photo credit neil brookman
Nathan Blissett, the nephew of former England international Luther Blissett, started out with Kidderminster Harriers and went out on loan to Cambridge United before signing for Rovers in November 2014.
Following our promotion back into the Football League, he went out on loan to Tranmere Rovers, returned to The Memorial Stadium and then joined Lincoln City on loan before moving to Torquay United, initially on loan before making the move permanent.
He has also played for Plymouth Argyle and Macclesfield Town and recently signed for Solihull Moors.
He has won promotion from the Conference/National League twice, with Rovers and with Macclesfield Town and was with Plymouth when they were runners up in EFL League Two in 2016/17.
[Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Hartlepool United are out, though, suffering a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of AFC Telford United. Luke James was in the Hartlepool side and went close to scoring according to the club’s Twitter account; ‘Luke James powers a shot at goal that crashes against the woodwork, bouncing off the underside of the bar and it’s cleared away.’ That was on 58 minutes when Pool were a goal behind.

Hereford won’t be in the hat for round three, either, as they suffered a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of holders Brackley Town. Danny Greenslade and Eliot Richards were in the Hereford side for this one.

Weymouth had to contend with a 560 mile round trip to face Ramsbottom United and their hosts will now face the same trip on Tuesday, for the replay, after a 2-2 draw. Weymouth are now the only Southern league side left in the Trophy. Abdulai Baggie was in the Weymouth lineup, but Josh Wakefield was missing.

Salford City went through to the next round after beating Dagenham & Redbridge 2-0. Rory Gaffney stayed on the bench for Salford, while Angelo Balanta started for the Daggers.

Wayne Brown was back in the Sutton United squad for their visit to Spennymoor Town, but Charlie Clough was still missing. He’s probably glad he was as the National League side lost 3-0!

Michael Meaker, assistant manager at Truro City, saw his side beaten 5-0 at Stockport County and was actually named on the bench for the clash at Edgeley Park.

Matt Harrold’s second half penalty was enough for Leyton Orient to go through. It was the only goal of the game in their tie at Wrexham, watched by a crowd of 1,949 of which 105 were Orient fans; ‘Matt Harrold gave the O’s the lead shortly after the hour mark, when he converted from the spot after James Brophy was brought down by Wrexham skipper Mark Carrington.’ Said the report on Orient’s website.

Moving on to National League North, where Alfreton Town and Darlington played out a goalless draw in what appears to have been a pretty awful game according to the match report; ‘An absolute non event at the Impact Arena left little to reflect on, as Alfreton continued their unbeaten 2019 with a third successive draw.’ Alex Henshall and Johnny Burn were both named on the Darlo bench and whilst that’s where Burn stayed, Henshall was sent on in the 76th minute.

Marcus Bignot, co manager of Guiseley, saw his side collect a valuable point from a 1-1 draw at Chester. A decent result, given that they played for almost an hour with ten men.

Think I should also mention Kidderminster Harriers this week. They recently sacked their manager Neil MacFarlane and the man in temporary charge is Colin Gordon, who played four games for The Gas, when on loan from Birmingham City, in 1991. He also played eight games for Bristol City when on loan to them from Reading in 1988. Gordon is Kidderminster’s majority shareholder and Chairman and this is the third time he has been their caretaker boss. He couldn’t inspire them to a win, though, as they suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Boston United.

I mentioned last week that Dave Penney had taken over as caretaker manager at York City. Well, his reign lasted just one week, and he didn’t take charge of a game at all. York were without a match this Saturday and have announced that Steve Watson has left his position at Gateshead to take over at Bootham Crescent. Penney, therefore, goes back to be the club’s Sporting Director.

Next, we dip into the Northern Premier league East Division, where Craig Disley and Andy Monkhouse turn out for Cleethorpes Town and Ossett United respectively.

Disley went on in the second half for Cleethorpes, who took a point from a 1-1 draw at Tadcaster Albion, while Monkhouse was in the Ossett side that won on the road, beating Lincoln United 1-0.

Prescot Cables were in action in the West Division and drew 1-1 with Kendal Town. Josh Klein-Davies was named on the bench for Cables and went on in the 63rd minute.

Harlow Town, bottom but one in the Bostik League Premier Division, picked up three valuable points from a 2-1 home win against league leaders Haringey Borough and Tom Hitchcock opened the scoring for them in the first minute, though he also missed an injury time penalty; ‘Drew Richardson whipped in a corner that was met by Tom Hitchcock who rifled it into the top corner.’ Said the match report about his goal and; ‘Hitchcock blazed the penalty over the bar.’ About his spot kick.

In the same division Bognor Regis Town were 2-0 winners at Burgess Hill Town, both goals coming from the penalty spot, the second of which arrived in the 99th minute! Theo Widdrington was in the starting lineup again for Bognor.

As already mentioned, Bishop’s Stortford were without a game, though they have now slipped down to 12th place in the league and are five points off a play off place.

It was a good day for Bath City in National League South, as they recorded a 1-0 home win against East Thurrock United. Sean Rigg scored the all important goal, goalkeeper Ryan Clarke’s clean sheet earned him a place in the Non League Paper’s North & South Team of the Day and Ryan Brunt was sent on as a 76th minute substitute. Victory extended Bath’s unbeaten run to seven and they have kept clean sheets in their last five games.

Will Puddy was on the winning side as Chippenham Town, with Sean Rigg’s cousin George also starting, were 2-1 winners at Billericay Town.

Alex Wall scored both of Concorde Rangers’ goals in their 2-2 draw against Wealdstone who sent on Jeffrey Monakana as a 69th minute substitute. Not sure I’ve mentioned him before this season.  He played three games for The Gas when on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion early in the 2015/16 season.

monokana - photo credit neil brookman
Jeffrey Monakana played three games for Rovers in a one month loan spell from Brighton & Hove Albion, in August 2015, against Northampton Town, Yeovil Town and Leyton Orient, all appearances coming from the bench.
Graduated through the Arsenal youth system before joining Preston North End in July 2012. There then followed moves to Colchester United, Brighton & Hove Albion, Crawley Town, Aberdeen, Mansfield Town, Carlisle United, and, after Rovers, FC Voluntari (Romania), Sutton United, Margate and Welling United.  He’s currently playing for Wealdstone.   [Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Weston super Mare picked up a point on their travels, from a goalless draw against Eastbourne Borough. Nabi Diallo was named as Weston’s Man of the Match in one report I read, while Jamie Lucas started the match and Ben Swallow was an unused substitute.

There was another goalless draw in the game between Gloucester City and Hungerford Town. Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis and Cameron Hargreaves were both in the Hungerford starting lineup.

Chris Dickson scored his first goal in a while as his Hampton & Richmond Borough side were 2-0 home winners against Dulwich Hamlet, while Scott Davies and Louie Soares both started for Slough Town who were 1-0 home winners against Chelmsford.

It turned out to be a good day for Tyler Lyttle and his Rushall Olympic team mates in their Southern League Premier Central Division clash with Barwell. He scored twice in his side’s 3-1 win and this is what was said on the club’s Twitter account; ‘Two long range rockets from Tyler Lyttle and a determined power through and finish from Simpson Maye do the business for the Pics! A much welcome and deserved three points on the road and a battling performance all round. Get in!’

Marcus Law’s Kettering Town side, with Craig Stanley and Adam Cunnington in their lineup, drew 2-2 at Coalville Town and remain in second place, four points behind leaders Stourbridge, but with three games in hand.

In the Premier South Section, Chesham United were 3-2 winners at Basingstoke Town. Jefferson Louis didn’t score but was introduced as a second half substitute.

Scott McGleish reverted to coaching duties for Hendon, it would seem, as he was missing from the side that lost their eight consecutive league game, going down 3-0 to Metropolitan Police.

I’ve managed to discover another former Gas player who I haven’t mentioned before, in Jerel Ifil who is now turning out for Swindon Supermarine. He was in the side that beat Staines Town 3-0 and he was credited with the first of those goals, I think!; ‘Finally the breakthrough is made. @Ifilfit has a shot from a corner. There’s a deflection and a half clearance off the line and it goes just over the line off the post. It’s probably going to go down as an own goal.’ Reported the club’s Twitter account.

Liam Armstrong was again in goal for Tiverton Town, who suffered a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Poole Town. In the same division Gavin Williams saw his Merthyr Town side lose 4-0 at Wimborne Town, while Frome Town and Taunton Town were without a game.

Many thanks to Stephen Byrne for pointing out that former Gas striker Justin Richards is now with Southern League Premier Division One Central side Sutton Coldfield Town. However, he wasn’t in the squad that played out a 4-4 draw against Corby Town on Saturday – will keep an eye out to see if he returns to the starting lineup!

In Division One South, leaders Yate Town lost 3-1 at Bideford and slipped down to second place. Harry Warwick scored Yate’s goal. Toby Rennie, a former Gas Academy player, and Ollie Mehew were in the Yate starting lineup with Warwick, while Sam Kamara returned to the squad and was on the bench.

Mangotsfield United took a valuable point from a goalless draw against Evesham United at Cossham Street, though it came at a price as goalkeeper Kieran Hodges dislocated his shoulder towards the end of the first half and didn’t reappear for the second period.

Melksham Town suffered a fifth consecutive defeat against Paulton Rovers, who themselves went into this game having lost their last six. However, Rovers ran out 4-0 winners, which will have been pleasing for assistant managers Paul Tovey and Gary Powell. Nuno Felix was in the Melksham side for this one while Jay Malpas was on the bench for Paulton and went on with 12 minutes remaining.

And, on a day when the Southern league celebrated its 125th anniversary, Phil Bater’s Larkhall Athletic were 4-1 winners at Street, with Lewis Powell scoring two of them.

Windsor FC were in action against Cheltenham Saracens in the Blue Fin Challenge Cup quarter final and Barry Hayles got a taste of the action when going on as an 83rd minute substitute. Windsor have been drawn away to either Bishop’s Cleeve or Almondsbury FC in the semi final of the competition.

In the Total Motion MFL Premier League, Sam Oji and Jordan Goddard were in the Highgate United side that recorded a 2-0 home win against Loughborough University.

Anwar Uddin’s Glebe recorded a 3-0 home win against Deal in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division.

The three former Gas players who are managing local teams, didn’t do very well this weekend. Only Chipping Sodbury Town manager Joe White saw his side take anything from the days’ games. They drew 2-2 against Brislington while Andy Gurney’s Roman Glass St George lost 3-0 at Hengrove Athletic, while Ray Johnston’s Hallen side went down 1-0 at Bridgwater Town.

In Scottish League One, Darryl Duffy went on as a 78th minute substitute for Airdrieonians in their 1-1 draw against Raith Rovers, while in League Two David McCracken was an unused substitute for second placed Peterhead who won 2-0 at Albion Rovers.

There was also a return to matchdays for Alan Gow who was an unused substitute for Queens Park in their 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Edinburgh City.

Thanks to Stephen Byrne for advising me of Gow’s move to Queens Park and also for letting me know that Garry Kenneth was turning out for Lochee United in the Scottish Lowland league. They won 2-0 against Blairgowrie, though I’m not sure if Kenneth played. Something I’ll need to check!

alan gow - photo credit jmp
Midfielder Alan Gow joined Queens Park in December 2018 and was on the bench for them last Saturday having made his debut against Elgin City on 22nd December following one game for Stirling Albion in October.
Spent his early career in his native Scotland and turned out for Clydebank, Airdrie United, Falkirk and rangers before making a loan move to Blackpool. There was another loan move to Norwich City and then a permanent move to Plymouth Argyle before he headed back to Scotland to play for Hibernian, on loan, and then Motherwell.
From there it was on to Notts County and then over to India to play for East Bengal.  From the delights of India it was back to the delights of Devon and Exeter City and it from there that he signed, on loan, for Rovers. That was in February 2014 but a promising start ended in his fourth game for the club, at Scunthorpe, where he was stretchered off with ligament damage.  He was treated in hospital in Scunthorpe, the team coach returning to Bristol without him, with Director Barry Bradshaw remaining until he was discharged and driving him back to the West Country.
He missed the rest of the season and then played for St Mirren and had the one game with Stirling Albion before the move to Queens Park.    [Photo Credit – JMP]
In Wales, Barry Town United beat Aberystwyth Town 2-1, with Kayne McLaggon in their side, to finish the first phase of the Welsh Premier league season in pole position. They now have to play another ten games in phase two.

One step down, Haverfordwest County drew 2-2 against Cambrian and Clydach, though trying to find out if Kaid Mohamed made an appearance for Haverfordwest is proving to be a task too far as there is no trace of a teamsheet on their Twitter account or website!

Over in Ireland, in the NIPL, Seanan Clucas picked up a yellow card while playing for Dungannon Swifts in their 2-2 away draw at Ballymena United. Crusaders weren’t in action and don’t play until next Saturday but whether or not Mark McChrystal is involved remains to be seen.

Championship side Larne FC and Jeff Hughes weren’t in action either, and play their next game, against Loughall, next Saturday.

On Sunday, Mustapha Carayol was an unused substitute for Apollon Limasol who were 2-1 winners against AC Omonia in the Cypriot First Division

In case you’re wondering about some of the former ex Gas players who are involved in football overseas, then Jake Clarke-Salter, Mikkel Andersen and Stephane Leoni are with clubs who have taken a winter break (Vitesse Arnhem, FC Midtlylland and Sarre-Union).

Finally, I note that Plymouth Argyle legends drew 4-4 against Railway Inn on Sunday. The legends side raise quite a lot of money for charity by playing half a dozen or so games throughout the season. I’ve not seen a lineup for the match, but Chris Hargreaves and David Byrne were named in the squad to travel. Hopefully, more on them at a later date!

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Chapter 22 –  Week commencing 31st December 2018

New Year’s Eve saw one game featuring a former Gas player, Kayne McLaggon being the man in question, and he was in the Barry Town United side beaten 3-0 at Cardiff Metropolitan University. In spite of this result, though, Barry ended 2018 sitting at the top of the Welsh Premier League.

Into 2019 and New Year’s Day saw Rovers make it 10 points from 12 over the festive period, with a goalless draw against Burton Albion at the Memorial Stadium, their sixth drawn game on 1st January and their 14th home game (out of 29) on this date.

There was a former Gas player in the Burton squad, though, in the shape of Chris Beardsley. Now 34 Beardsley, who scored once in 24 games for us in 2013/14, is the fitness coach with the Brewers and was only on the bench because of an injury/illness crisis at the club.

thumbnail_chrisbeardsley
Chris Beardsley scored once in 24 league games for Rovers in the relegation season of 2013/14.
His career began with Mansfield Town before moves to Worksop Town, Doncaster Rovers, Kidderminster Harriers, Mansfield Town (again), Rushed & Diamonds, York City, Kettering Town, Kidderminster Harriers (again), Stevenage, Preston North End, Rovers, Stevenage (again), and Mansfield Town (again), before linking up with Burton Albion, where he is a fitness coach, in August last year.
A little bit of a football nomad, just like Scott McGleish, who is also featured in this article, I make it that he’s so far had 17 moves in his career.
[Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
In the Premier League, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge and his Cardiff City side were beaten 3-0 by Tottenham Hotspur and it could have been a lot more, as those three goals all came in the opening 26 minutes.

In the Championship, another former Gas goalkeeper, Joe Lumley, was in action at Villa Park where his QPR side gained a point from a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa. He also picked up a yellow card!

Staying with goalkeepers, Luke Daniels is the perennial substitute, it seems, as he once again kept the Brentford bench warm in their 1-1 draw against Norwich City. There was another 1-1 draw at Pride Park, where Tony Pulis and his Middlesbrough side took a valuable point against Derby County.

tony pulis
As a player, Tony Pulis spent two spells with Rovers either side of time in Hong Kong with Happy Valley. He subsequently played for Newport County, Bournemouth (two spells) and Gillingham.
As a manger he has taken charge of Bournemouth, Gillingham, Bristol City, Portsmouth, Stoke City (twice), Plymouth Argyle, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion before his move to current club Middlesbrough.
This photo was taken at Phil Kite’s testimonial match at The Memorial Stadium when he was still in charge of West Brom
[Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Bottom of the table Ipswich Town suffered a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Millwall, though Ellis Harrison did complete 90 minutes for them. The Gas winner on the day, though, was Millwall coach Adam Barratt, who saw his side claim their first away win of the season and pull further away from the relegation zone.

Oli McBurnie and Connor Roberts were both on the scoresheet for Swansea City, 4-1 winners at Reading. McBurnie scored twice, including one from the penalty spot. Former Gas goalie Sam Walker was back in the Reading squad and was an unused substitute.

Matty Taylor, meanwhile, was an 84th minute substitute for Bristol City in their 2-0 win at Stoke City.

In the league that counts (for Gas fans at least!) Blackpool, with Marc Bola in their side, were beaten 1-0 by Sunderland at Bloomfield Road. There was a crowd of 10,994 in for this one, just wonder how many of them were Sunderland fans given the fact that the majority of Blackpool supporters boycott their home games.

In the battle of the Uniteds’ at London Road, Peterborough were beaten 2-0 by Scunthorpe. While Aaron Chapman warmed the Posh bench, Matt Lund was again missing from the depleted Scunthorpe squad (they were only able to name five substitutes).

Lee Brown, who came off injured after only 19 minutes of Portsmouth’s previous game, has a hamstring injury and was missing from the Pompey side that beat AFC Wimbledon 2-1 at Fratton Park.

Matt Macey was again missing from the Plymouth Argyle lineup at Home Park but his side, with Gary Sawyer in the lineup, were comfortable 3-0 winners against Oxford United.

Two Towns met at Shrewsbury, where Fleetwood picked up an away point from a goalless draw. Ollie Norburn was in the Shrews’ side, while Cian Bolger was an unused Fleetwood substitute.

Tom Eaves was in the Gillingham side but couldn’t find the back of the net on this occasion and his side were beaten 2-0 by Southend United at Roots Hall.

Wycombe Wanderers suffered a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Coventry City, though the only former Gas player on show was Paris Cowan-Hall, who was an unused substitute for the Chairboys.

Moving into League Two and Mansfield Town, with Conrad Logan and Ryan Sweeney in their side, strengthened their promotion credentials with a 1-0 win at Grimsby Town.

The Stags are in fourth place two points ahead of Bury, 3-1 home winners against Crewe Alexandra. Dominic Telford was a 70th minute substitute for the Shakers in this one.

Harry Pell and his Colchester United side were beaten 2-0 by ten man Crawley Town, a result that saw them drop out of the play off places and end the day in eighth place.

Keith Curle’s Northampton Town side, with Andy Williams leading the attack, lost 2-1 at Forest Green Rovers, the winning goal for the home side arriving in the 94th minute.

League leaders Lincoln City were held to a 1-1 draw by Port Vale at Sincil Bank and started the game with three former Gas players on the bench. One of them, John Akinde, went on as a second half substitute but the other two, Sam Slocombe and Bernard Mensah, sat out the ninety minutes. Cristian Montano was a 71st minute substitute for Vale.

Biggest winners of the day were MK Dons. With Lee Nichols in goal, they thrashed struggling Cambridge United 6-0. Reggie Lambe started the game for Cambridge but was taken off at half time when his side were 3-0 down.

A resurgent Carlisle United, with Tom Parkes in their side, moved into the final play off place following their 2-0 win at Morecambe. Bottom club Notts County, meanwhile, were beaten 2-0 at Oldham Athletic and once again Daniel Jones and Elliot Ward were missing from the Magpies’ squad.

David Pipe was an unused Newport County substitute in their 1-0 defeat at Stevenage, while Jordan Tillson was a 90th minute substitute for Exeter City in their 2-0 win at Swindon Town.

Things aren’t looking good for Yeovil Town and their manager Darren Way. Beaten 4-1 by Cheltenham Town, some of their supporters on the phone in I listened to, want Way out and Darrell Clarke as their new manager! Alefe Santos was again in the Yeovil lineup for this one but the Glovers have only won once in their last 17 matches and are just three points clear of the relegation zone. The in demand Ryan Broom (allegedly wanted by Burton Albion) was missing from the Cheltenham squad.

AFC Fylde, in third place in the National League going into their home game against Barrow, slipped down a place following their goalless draw, Andy Bond went on as a 65th minute substitute in this one.

Gary Waddock’s Aldershot Town extended their winless run to nine with a goalless draw against Maidenhead United. At least he was able to name four substitutes for this one, so his injury list must be getting smaller! Alfie Kilgour was again in the Maidenhead side who still occupy one of the relegation places.

Barnet Head of Football John Still saw his side draw 1-1 against Boreham Wood who had Danny Woodards and Ricky Shakes in their starting lineup.

john still
John Still, who was our assistant manager in 2002/03 and for the first few months of the following season.
A gifted amateur footballer who made one league appearance for Leyton Orient and then appeared, briefly, for Bishop’s Stortford and then Dagenham before a knee injury curtailed his career.
Probably one of the most gifted managers in the lower league/non-league game, his managerial career saw him guide three teams to promotion to the Football League from non-league, namely Maidstone United, Dagenham & Redbridge and Luton Town. He enjoyed three spells as manager of the daggers and three with Barnet and had taken charge of over 2,000 games before calling time on his stints in the dugout so that he could become Head of Football with Barnet.
One of football’s genuinely nice guys, let’s hope he is involved in the game for many years to come.
[Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Bottom club Braintree Town, with Lyle Della-Verde in their starting lineup, suffered a 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Ebbsfleet United and are now eight points from safety.

Eastleigh, with Chris Zebroski an unused substitute, were 2-1 home winners against Havant & Waterlooville, while Jamie Fullarton’s FC Halifax Town drew 1-1 at home to Harrogate Town, their equaliser arriving in the 91st minute.

Luke James was in the Hartlepool United side that were 2-1 winners against Gateshead, while Matt Harrold was a 77th minute substitute for League leaders Leyton Orient who beat Dagenham & Redbridge 1-0 at Brisbane Road. Angelo Balanta was again in the Daggers’ side.

Orient are four points clear of second placed Wrexham, who suffered a 2-0 defeat at Salford City. Rory Gaffney was restored to the Salford starting lineup for this one and scored their second goal on the hour mark.

Solihull Moors assistant manager and their recent signing Nathan Blissett had to settle for a point from a 2-2 home draw against Chesterfield who shared the points for the 13th time this season.

Charlie Clough and Wayne Brown were again missing from the Sutton United squad, beaten 2-1 at Bromley.

In National League North, Guiseley co manager Marcus Bignot saw his side record a 2-1 away win at Bradford (Park Avenue), while Chester, with Adam Dawson used as an 81st minute substitute took a point from a goalless home draw against Southport.

Hereford were beaten 2-1 at Kidderminster Harriers where they had 911 supporters in the crowd of 2,745. Danny Greenslade started the match for Hereford, while Eliot Richards and Martin Horsell were named on the bench. Richards went on just before the hour mark, while Greenslade collected a second half yellow card.

Johnny Burn and Alex Henshall were both missing from the Darlington side beaten 4-0 by York City at Bootham Crescent.

Hampton & Richmond Borough, with Chris Dickson on the bench, suffered a fourth straight defeat as they slipped to a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Woking.

Slough Town, with Scott Davies in their lineup and Louie Soares on the bench, also lost at home, going down 1-0 against Wealdstone.

No problems for Bath City, though, as they thrashed local rivals Chippenham Town 5-0 at Twerton Park. Their biggest crowd of the season, 1,727 saw the Romans register their biggest ever New Year’s Day victory. Ryan Clarke started for Bath, while Ryan Brunt was a 72nd minute substitute while George Rigg was in the Chippenham side and Will Puddy was on the bench.

Bradley Goldberg was a 67th minute substitute for Welling United, who lost 1-0 at Dartford, but Weston super Mare won on their travels, beating Gloucester City 3-1. Jamie Lucas started, and scored, while Nabi Diallo also started, and Ben Swallow was named on the bench.

Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis was named as Hungerford Town’s Player of the Match for his performance in their 2-1 win at Oxford City. Cameron Hargreaves was also in the Hungerford starting XI.

Down at Plainmoor, away side Torquay United were 3-1 winners on their own pitch against Truro City. Good New Year’s Day, therefore, for the Gulls’ assistant boss Aaron Downes, though not so good for his opposite number Michael Meaker. Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist was in the Truro side.

Cleethorpes Town of Northern Premier League East Division were away at Frickley Athletic and Craig Disley was again named as a substitute and was called on late in the second half of the game that ended 1-1.

In the same division, Ossett United attracted a record attendance of 618 and, with Andy Monkhouse in their side, were 4-0 winners against Brighouse Town.

Next up it’s the Bostik League Premier Division and Theo Widdrington was in action for Bognor Regis Town, who were 4-1 winners at Whitehawk.

The Evostik Southern Premier League Central saw a clash between two sides from Northamptonshire, Marcus Law’s Kettering Town and AFC Rushden & Diamonds and the manager saw his side win 2-1 thanks to a goal on the 94th minute. Adam Cunnington and Craig Stanley were both in the Kettering side.

Rushall Olympic began the New Year with a 1-1 draw against league leaders Stourbridge and Tyler Lyttle went close to giving them a late victory; ‘Tyler Lyttle went close with a free kick on 87 minutes…’

There were 303 spectators at Hendon for their game against Chesham United, who won this encounter 1-0. Scott McGleish was making his debut for Hendon, at the age of 44 years and ten months, against one of his (many) former clubs. Jefferson Louis, at the age of 39, was in the Chesham side and they won the match by a single goal, scored in the 92nd minute.

Kings Langley, with Rene Howe in their lineup, were 1-0 home winners against Walton Casuals, while Merthyr Town manager Gavin Williams saw his side come out on top against league leaders Taunton Town, winning 3-1. Pierce Mitchell was on the bench for Taunton.

Darren Mullings was in the Salisbury side that recorded a 1-0 home win against Danny Greaves’ Frome Town. Seventeen year old Tom Mehew made his first start for Frome in this match, though he was injured in the first half and had to come off after only 43 minutes. This is what Greaves said on the club’s Twitter account; ‘A really positive performance, but a shame he was forced off with an injury. Early signs aren’t looking good. We wish him a speedy recovery.’

tom mew, who was injured on new year_s day when making his first start for frome town. photo credit jmp
Tom Mehew, who was injured on New Year’s Day when making his first start for Frome Town. [Photo Credit – JMP]
Tiverton Town, in front of a crowd of 314 and with Liam Armstrong in goal, suffered a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Dorchester Town while second placed Weymouth could only make up a point on leaders Taunton Town, as they played out a 2-2 home draw against Poole Town. Josh Wakefield started the match for Weymouth but came off after 70 minutes.

Moving on to Division One South, and Paulton Rovers were beaten 3-2 at Bideford Town so not a good start to 2019 for assistant managers Paul Tovey and Gary Powell. Jay Malpas was in the Paulton side, while Powell was an unused substitute.

Phil Bater’s Larkhall Athletic were involved in a six goal thriller at The Creek, where they and Manor Farm played out a 3-3 draw. The home side were in front on three occasions but were denied victory by Lewis Powell, who scored an 88th minute penalty. Geraint Bater started for The Larks, while Matt Groves and Powell began the game on the bench.

Kieran Hodges was in goal for Mangotsfield United, who were beaten 5-1 by Cirencester Town and there was a former Rovers youngster, Tyrone Tucker-Dixon, on the bench for The Mangos.

Yate Town returned to the top of the table following their 2-0 win at Melksham Town, watched by a crowd of 503. Ollie Mehew was on the mark for Yate, scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot.

ollie mehew
Ollie Mehew, who has scored penalties in successive games for top of the table Yate Town.
Pictured here in action challenging current Rovers player Theo Widdrington, in an FA Youth Cup Tie against Portsmouth in 2015.
Theo is now on loan at Bognor Regis Town.
[Photo Credit – JMP]
In the Northern Ireland Premier League, Crusaders were 3-2 home winners against Ballymena United but Mark McChrystal was again missing from their squad. Meanwhile Dungannon Swifts, with Seanan Clucas in their side, were 4-2 winners at Glentoran FC.

Wednesday saw six Premier league games take place and Brighton & Hove Albion assistant manager Paul Trollope saw his side take a point from a 2-2 draw at West Ham United.

On Friday evening French side Chateauroux were knocked out of the French Cup, losing 4-1 at Nantes, though there was no sign of Oumare Tounkara in their lineup.

Saturday saw Rovers without a game as Peterborough United, who we were due to play, were involved in the FA Cup.

In that competition, Paul Trollope and Brighton & Hove Albion went through to round three thanks to a 3-1 win at AFC Bournemouth.

Ollie Norburn’s penalty on the stroke of half time gave Shrewsbury Town the lead against Stoke City, but a second half equaliser from Peter Crouch means the sides will meet again in a replay in ten days’ time.

League One side Accrington Stanley beat bottom of the table Ipswich Town 1-0 at The Wham Stadium. Ellis Harrison was an 80th minute substitute for Ipswich, sent on four minutes after they conceded the only goal of the match.

Connor Roberts was in the Swansea City side that recorded a 3-0 win against fellow Championship side Aston Villa at Villa Park and there was a rare game for Brentford keeper Luke Daniels, who kept a clean sheet in their 1-0 win against Oxford United at Griffin Park.

There were 5,500 Lincoln supporters in a Goodison Park crowd of 37,900 and they saw their team lose by the odd goal in three. John Akinde started the match for the Imps, while Sam Slocombe and Bernard Mensah took up their usual places on the bench.

AFC Wimbledon won through to the fourth round for the first time, a 90yth minute goal seeing them through 3-2 against Fleetwood Town at the Highbury Stadium. Cian Bolger was missing from the Fleetwood squad.

The shock of the day came at The Priestfield Stadium where Gillingham, with Tom Eaves in their side, beat Premier League Cardiff City 1-0. The visitors rested goalkeeper Neil Etheridge for this one, so don’t blame him!

Another former Gas goalie will no doubt be pleased that he spent the afternoon on the bench. Peterborough United’s Aaron Chapman watched his side lose 5-0 against Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough side at the Riverside Stadium. The Posh capitulated in the second half, as it was goalless at the break.

Blackpool supporters continued their boycott of home matches and there were more Arsenal supporters (5,218) inside Bloomfield Road than Blackpool fans (3,777). The home side, with Marc Bola playing against his former club, were beaten 3-0.

Matty Taylor was a 67th minute substitute for Bristol City who beat the Premier League’s bottom side, Huddersfield Town, 1-0 at Ashton Gate.

League One leaders Portsmouth scored a 95th minute goal at Carrow Road to dump second placed Championship side Norwich City out of the competition. They did it without any help from Lee Brown, still missing with a hamstring injury. Pompey’s win means that Rovers will be without a game on 26th January, the date of our scheduled visit to play them at Fratton Park. They will be otherwise engaged!

There were just three games in League One and there was no Rovers interest in any of them as Matt Lund was missing from the Scunthorpe side that registered a 2-0 home win over Coventry City to move up to 17th place and push everyone else at the bottom of the table down a place, including Rovers who slipped to 20th.

In League Two, struggling Cambridge United, without Reggie Lambe in their squad, were 2-0 winners against Stevenage.

Carlisle, without a manager following John Sheridan’s resignation, were 3-2 home winners against Mansfield Town. Tom Parkes was in the Carlisle side, while Conrad Logan and Ryan Sweeney started for Mansfield (Sweeney was taken off at half time, possibly due to the fact that the Stags had a man sent off as the players headed for the tunnel at the end of the first half).

Harry Pell rescued a point for Colchester United in their 3-3 draw against bottom club Notts County thanks to his 67th minute penalty. County were 3-1 ahead at one point, one of their goals being scored by Daniel Jones.

Ryan Broom returned to the Cheltenham Town squad and was a 63rd minute substitute in their 1-0 defeat at Crawley Town.

Alefe Santos started again for Yeovil in their home game against Bury, but their miserable run continues as they lost 1-0. Byron Moore (73 minutes) and Dominic Telford (87 minutes) were both used from the bench by the Shakers.

The National League was the place for goals, though, and five of them were scored at Bromley where the home side scored three. AFC Fylde could only manage two and lost ground in the title race. Andy Bond started for Fylde but came off at half time.

Dagenham & Redbridge and Boreham Wood shared eight goals at Victoria Road, where Angelo Balanta was playing against another of his former sides. He scored on the stroke of half time to make it 3-3, by which time Ricky Shakes had already scored for the visitors. The third former Gasman on show, Danny Woodards, went on as a 27th minute substitute for Boreham Wood.

Jamie Fullarton’s FC Halifax Town played out the only goalless draw in the division, against Braintree Town. Lyle Della-Verde was an 81st minute substitute for Braintree.

Alfie Kilgour and his Maidenhead United team mates lifted themselves out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win at Gateshead, and Kilgour was included in the Non League Paper’s National League Team of the Day.

However, Luke James and his Hartlepool side suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Maidstone United.

Top of the table Leyton Orient suffered a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Salford City, who moved into second place. Matt Harrold was an unused substitute for the O’s, while Rory Gaffney scored Salford’s second goal after only eight minutes. The crowd at the Matchroom Stadium (Brisbane Road to you and I!) was 6,937.

Solihull Moors’ assistant manager James Quinn saw his side record a 4-1 home win against Eastleigh. Nathan Blissett scored his third goal in four games for the Moors, while Chris Zebroski was a 75th minute substitute for Eastleigh.

Sutton United, without the services of Charlie Clough and Wayne Brown, were 2-1 home winners against Harrogate Town

National League North side Darlington, with Johnny Burn an unused substitute, were 3-0 home winners against Kidderminster Harriers. No sign of Alex Henshall in the Quakers’ squad, though.

Hereford scored a 96th minute equaliser in their 1-1 draw against league leaders Chorley at Edgar Street. Danny Greenslade again completed 90 minutes for The Bulls, Eliot Richards went on at the start of the second half and Martin Horsell was an unused substitute.

Guiseley co manager Marcus Bignot saw his side play out a home 1-1 draw against Leamington in front of a crowd of 683, a result which sees them down in 17th place ahead of their visit to 16th placed Southport on Tuesday.

In National League South, Chris Dickson was on the losing side as his Hampton & Richmond Borough side lost 2-0 at Chelmsford City.

Chippenham Town, meanwhile, suffered a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Eastbourne Borough. Will Puddy was in goal for this one and George Rigg was also in the side.

Bath City moved into fourth place following their 2-0 win at Dulwich Hamlet. Goalkeeper Ryan Clarke was the only ex Gasman on duty for this one.

Hungerford Town, with Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis and Cameron Hargreaves in their side (and both receiving an eight out of ten for their performances) were 2-1 home winners against Concord Rangers.

With boss Gary Johnson serving the first of a two game ban and watching from the stands, Aaron Downes was in touchline control of Torquay United who extended their unbeaten run to a club record 16 games (they have won their last 10) with a 4-0 win against Slough Town at Plainmoor.

The Torquay faithful must be believing again, as there was a crowd of 2,614 in for this one and they saw a Slough side reduced to ten men on the stroke of half time. Scott Davies (69 minutes) and Louie Soares (73 minutes) were both used from the bench by the visitors.

Welling United were 5-3 winners against Truro City and Bradley Goldberg opened the scoring for the home side with a 16th minute penalty. No awayday joy for Truro assistant boss Michael Meaker, on a day when a club statement appeared to indicate that their groundshare agreement with Torquay United was at an end.

Weston super Mare’s one match winning run ended abruptly, as they lost 3-2 to Billericay Town at the Woodspring Stadium. Nabi Diallo and Jamie Lucas both started this match, while Ben Swallow was an unused substitute.

It was FA Vase fourth round day, and Windsor recorded a 4-1 away win at AFC Uckfield Town, though there was no sign of player/coach Barry Hayles in their squad.

As far as I know, there were no other ex Gas involved in the remaining fixtures, though I stand to be corrected.

Northern Premier League East Division side Cleethorpes Town were 4-2 home winners against third placed Pontefract Collieries and the match report from the game mentioned former Gas man Craig Disley, who; ‘entered the fray after 62 minutes with Jack Richardson withdrawn.’ The report went on to say that; ‘it was a full bloodied 90 minutes plus, with cards and incidents galore but, most importantly, another vital three points for a Clee side rapidly gaining momentum.’ They are now in 12th place, eight points behind Saturday’s opponents.

Cleethorpes are also four points behind Ossett United, who were 1-0 home winners against Sheffield FC, the oldest football club in the country if memory serves me right though (on their Twitter feed they say they are the world’s first football club, so I stand corrected!) I digress! Andy Monkhouse was in the Ossett side as they continue their climb up the table and this victory was played out in front of a crowd of 586.

Prescot Cables, of the West Division of the Northern Premier League, played out a 4-4 draw against Market Drayton in front of just 75 people. Josh Klein-Davies returned to the Prescot squad for this one and went on in the 85th minute.

In the Bostik League Premier Division, Jamie Cureton’s Bishop’s Stortford side were beaten 3-0 at home by second placed Kingstonian. Assistant manager Cureton was in the Bishop’s side and, according to the club’s Twitter feed went close on 66 minutes; ‘Chance for Cureton 18 yards out but his poked effort is wide of the target.’

Bognor Regis Town, with Theo Widdrington in their side, were 2-0 home winners against Carshalton Athletic, though he did pick up a card of the yellow variety; ‘Widdrington got in the way of a free kick and was shown a yellow card on 22 minutes.’ Think there might be something missing there – why would you be booked for getting in the way of a free kick unless you were less than ten yards away? – anyway, that’s what the match report says!

In the same division, Harlow Town, with Tom Hitchcock in their lineup, played out a goalless draw with Corinthian Casuals. Not a bad result when you consider that they had a player sent off after only 18 minutes.

In the Southern League Premier Central Division, Marcus Law’s Kettering Town were 2-1 home winners against Tamworth. Craig Stanley was in the starting lineup for the winners, and while Adam Cunnington was named on the bench he actually started as one of his team mates was taken ill after arriving at the ground. After the game Stanley was interviewed for Poppies TV; ‘Paul Cooke speaks to @Staners6 Tom Cherry and @algerj following Kettering Town’s 2-1 win against @tamworthfc’.

Meanwhile, in the same division, Rushall Olympic with Tyler Lyttle in their side, were beaten 3-1 at home by Redditch United.

Chesham United, of the Premier South Division, played out a goalless home draw against Beaconsfield Town, so no goals for Jefferson Louis, who was in the Chesham starting XI, to add to his tally.

Danny Greaves and his Frome Town side celebrated a win, though, beating Wimborne Town 1-0 at Badgers Hill. With injuries causing him a selection headache, Greaves had to play in goal for this one and managed to save a first half penalty!; ‘Greaves saved well to his right from Toby Holmes, to his obvious delight.’

Scott McGleish was again in the Hendon side for their game against Kings Langley, but his side suffered a 2-1 home defeat with Rene Howe scoring a 71st minute winner for the visitors.

scott mcgleish
Scott McGleish, who recently made his debut for Hendon just a couple of months shy of his 45th Birthday.
By my reckoning his move to Hendon, in December, was the 23rd of his career, one which began at Edgware Town, carried on to Charlton Athletic and then Leyton Orient (four spells with them), Peterborough United, Colchester United (two spells with them), Cambridge United, Barnet (two spells with them), Northampton Town (two spells with them), Wycombe Wanderers, Rovers, Whitehawk, Chesham United (two spells with them), Enfield Town, Wealdstone, Cheshunt and, finally, Hendon.
Signed for Rovers by Paul Buckle in the summer of 2-11, he scored seven goals in 27 league games, including one on his debut at AFC Wimbledon on the opening day of the 2011/12 campaign.
[Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Gavin Williams saw his side suffer a 2-1 home defeat as well, as they went down to Salisbury, though Darren Mullings was missing from the Salisbury side.

Pierce Mitchell was in the Taunton Town side that took on Dorchester Town, but the league leaders had to be content with a point from a 1-1 draw.

Second placed Weymouth reduced the points deficit between themselves and Taunton to four points (and they have two games in hand) by beating Tiverton Town 2-1. Josh Wakefield scored and was named Weymouth’s Man of the Match.

Also in the Weymouth side was another player who, like Wakefield, was on our books but never played a first team game. Anyone remember Abdulai Baggie being with us on loan towards the end of the 2014/15 season? His girlfriend at the time was the sister of Adam Lallana though you probably didn’t need to know that!

Liam Armstrong was in goal for ‘Tivvy’, having agreed to stay with them until the end of the season

Moving on to Division One South and Mangotsfield United’s losing streak continued with a 2-1 defeat at AFC Totton. Kieran Hodges was again in goal for Mangotsfield who are now third from bottom of the table, with only Fleet Town and Barnstaple Town below them.

Phil Bater’s Larkhall Athletic also suffered a 2-1 defeat, at home against Moneyfields. Lewis Powell’s penalty had given the Larks the lead early on, but the visitors equalised before the break and scored the winning goal in the second half. Geraint Bater and Matt Groves also started for Larkhall, while Neil Arndale was on the bench.

There was another 2-1 scoreline at Paulton, where Rovers were the losers against Bristol Manor Farm. Jay Malpas started this one and Trey Anderson was on the bench while assistant managers Paul Tovey and Gary Powell watched from the sidelines.

League leaders Yate Town recorded another win, and moved three points clear of Blackfield & Langley, beating Street FC 1-0 at Lodge Road. The points were secured by Ollie Mehew, who scored from the penalty spot on 71 minutes. It was Mehew’s second penalty success in a matter of days, as he also scored from the spot in the win over Melksham Town on New Year’s Day. (Excellent match report and photos in the Non League Paper) Harry Warwick was a 60th minute substitute for the winners.

Joe White’s Chipping Sodbury Town recorded a 3-2 win at Plymouth Parkway, who were bidding for a tenth straight win. Joe even found time to get on the scoresheet, notching his side’s third goal.

Ray Johnstone’s Hallen were beaten 3-0 at Wellington, while Andy Gurney’s Roman Glass St George were held to a 1-1 home draw by Hengrove Athletic.

In the Scottish league One Airdrieonians were 2-1 away winners against East Fife, with Darryl Duffy going on as a 90th minute substitute.

In League Two, second placed Peterhead suffered a 2-1 home defeat against third placed Clyde and once again they were without the services of David McCracken.

In Wales, Kayne McLaggon scored a 51st minute goal for Barry Town United in their 5-2 away win at Cefn Druids.

In the Welsh League Division One Haverdfordwest County AFC were 4-0 winners at Afan Lido. Kaid Mohammed was named on the bench for this one and went on in the second half.

In the Irish Cup Fifth Round, Dungannon Swifts were 1-0 winners at Cliftonville, with Seanan Clucas scoring the all important goal. (Check out the video on the BBC website!).

Crusaders also went through to the next round, as they beat Glentoran 4-1 without the services of Mark McChrystal. Larne, with Jeff Hughes in their side, are also through. They beat Newry City 2-1.

Sunday morning saw a press release from Rovers confirming that Graham Coughlan had been officially appointed as manager of Rovers, being given a two and a half year contract.

rovers new manager graham coughlan - photo credit jmp
Rovers’ new manager Graham Coughlan
[Photo credit – JMP]
A former Rovers boss was also in the news, as York City’s Sporting Director Dave Penney took over as caretaker boss following the dismissal of manager Sam Collins.

There were another eight FA Cup ties played on Sunday afternoon and in an all Championship tie at The Den Millwall coach Adam Barratt saw The Lions beat Hull City (The Tigers) 2-1.

At Loftus Road there was another 2-1 win for the home side as QPR beat Leeds United. Joe Lumley appears to have been rested for this one and was on the bench for the ninety minutes.

John Still’s decision to be Head of Football at Barnet appears to have inspired his team. The National League side who beat Rovers in the previous round, were 1-0 winners at Sheffield United. I’m not being paid for advertising the Non League paper, honestly, but another excellent article in this week’s edition was all about John Still, as told to the paper by Anwar Uddin, who played for The Gas when Still was assistant manager here and also played for him at Dagenham & Redbridge.

Uddin, by the way, is now a manager himself, with Glebe in the Southern Counties East League Premier Division. They lost 2-1 to Croydon on Saturday and are 13th in the league with 27 points from 22 games. Anwar combines his managerial role with his full time role as Diversity and Campaigns Manager with the Football Supporters Federation.

Last, but by no means least, Newport County produced, arguably, the result of the round in the televised teatime match. They beat Premier League side Leicester City 2-1 at Rodney Parade where David Pipe went on as a 67th minute substitute and there were a number of shots of former Rovers Director of Football Lennie Lawrence on the Newport bench.

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Chapter 21 –  Week commencing 24th December 2018

A full programme of Boxing Day matches means there is a great deal of news to catch up on regarding former Rovers players.

However, let’s start with the current Rovers side who made it six festive points out of six with a 3-1 win at Walsall and moved out of the bottom four. Goals from Tom Lockyer, Alex Rodman and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis (his first for the club) sealed the victory.

In the Premier League, there was a clean sheet for Neil Etheridge as his Cardiff City side picked up a point from a goalless draw at Crystal Palace, while Brighton & Hove Albion assistant boss Paul Trollope saw his side take a point from a home 1-1 draw against Arsenal.

In the Championship, Matty Taylor returned to the Bristol City squad after injury and was used as a 73rd minute substitute in their 1-1 draw against Brentford at Ashton Gate. Luke Daniels was again on the Brentford bench.

Tony Pulis and his Middlesbrough side suffered a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday, but there was Boxing Day joy for Millwall coach Adam Barratt who saw his side beat Reading 1-0 at The Den.

Swansea City, with Connor Roberts and Oli McBurnie in their lineup, were beaten 1-0 by Aston Villa and they find themselves down in 13th place in the table.

There was another clean sheet for Joe Lumley, who saw his side beat bottom club Ipswich Town 3-0 at Loftus Road to record a third consecutive victory. No joy for Ellis Harrison on this occasion, though he did complete 90 minutes for Ipswich.

League One leaders Portsmouth, with Lee Brown in their side, were beaten 2-0 at Gillingham who were without the services of Tom Eaves.

Ollie Norburn was again in the Shrewsbury midfield, and scored from the penalty spot, while Charlie Colkett warmed the bench. However, The Shrews were beaten 2-1 by Accrington Stanley and remain in the bottom half of the table.

Matt Macey and Gary Sawyer were in the Plymouth Argyle side beaten 2-1 at AFC Wimbledon. The result lifted the Dons off the foot of the table, where they were replaced by Argyle!

Peterborough United’s promotion challenge appears to be faltering and they are down to sixth following their 2-0 defeat against Barnsley at Oakwell. Aaron Chapman was again left on the bench for this one.

Wycombe Wanderers lost 3-1 at Burton Albion, where Joe Jacobson started and Paris Cowan-Hall watched proceedings from the bench, but Fleetwood Town returned to winning ways. They beat Doncaster Rovers 3-0 at Highbury where Cian Bolger returned to the squad but was an unused substitute.

Blackpool were reduced to ten men after half an hour of their game at Rochdale and were subsequently beaten 1-0 by the home side. Marc Bola completed 90 minutes for them as they remained in eighth place.

Matt Lund was missing from the Scunthorpe side beaten 2-0 at home by Luton, a result that leaves them entrenched in the bottom four and The Hatters in second place, just a point behind Portsmouth.

Cambridge United manager Colin Calderwood saw his side register their first win since his appointment. They were 2-1 home winners against Crawley Town, with Reggie Lambe in their side.

Another 2-1 win saw Exeter City overcome Yeovil Town at St James’ Park where Jordan Tillson was an 89th minute substitute for the home side and Alefe Santos completed another 90 minutes for The Glovers.

Carlisle United, with Tom Parkes back in the starting lineup, thrashed Oldham Athletic 6-0 at Brunton Park, so it was a good day for Carlisle boss John Sheridan, a former Oldham manager.

Cheltenham Town, without Ryan Broom, were 3-1 home winners against MK Dons, for whom Lee Nicholls was again in goal. No joy for Harry Pell and his Colchester United team mates, though, as they suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Stevenage.

League leaders Lincoln City saw their six game unbeaten run end at Crew Alexandra, where they were beaten 2-1. John Akinde was in the starting lineup for The Imps, while Bernard Mensah was an unused substitute. There was, though, no Sam Slocombe in their squad.

There was a bit of a Gas reunion at Field Mill, where Mansfield Town beat Bury 2-0. Conrad Logan was in goal for The Stags, who also had Ryan Sweeney in their side, and two of his Rovers team mates from last season, Dominic Telford and Byron Moore, were in the Bury squad. Telford started, while Moore was an unused substitute.

David Pipe was yellow carded as Newport County slipped to a 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Forest Green Rovers, who now occupy the final play off place while County drop to 11th.

In the battle of the Towns at Sixfields, Northampton and Swindon played out a 1-1 draw. Andy Williams scored for Keith Curle’s side after only six minutes, but they were pegged back by Swindon who equalised just after the hour mark.

In the basement battle Notts County, with Daniel Jones in their side and Elliott Ward an unused substitute, slumped to the bottom of the table following their 2-1 home defeat by Macclesfield Town, who traded places with County. The Sol Campbell influence is obviously working at Moss Rose!

Cristian Montano was missing from the Port Vale side beaten 1-0 by Grimsby Town at Vale Park, a result that leaves them down in 16th place with 28 points from 24 games.

It appears to have been a day of high drama in the National League, where the top two sides were beaten.

Leaders Leyton Orient remain in top spot even though they lost against the continually improving Dagenham & Redbridge. Angelo Balanta was again in the Daggers’ side, while Matt Harrold was a 62nd minute substitute for The O’s.

Matt Harold goes past Burnley`s Ben Mee
Matt Harrold joined Rovers in June 2011 and went on to score 24 goals in 76 league games during a three year stay in BS7.
He began his career at Harlow and moved on to Brentford, Dagenham & Redbridge (loan), Grimsby Town (loan), Southend United, Wycombe Wanderers and Shrewsbury Town.
Since leaving The Gas he has played for Crawley Town, Cambridge United (loan) and his current club, Leyton Orient, whom he joined in August 2017.
[Photo credit – Neil Brookman]
Going into their game against Wrexham, Salford City were in second place. However, they ended the day in third following a 5-1 defeat at Wrexham in front of a Boxing Day crowd of 8,283 (the largest in the National League so far this season). No joy for Rory Gaffney, then, though he was introduced to the fray as a 66th minute substitute. Wrexham swapped places with Salford following this result and are now three points behind Leyton Orient.

Aldershot Town’s winless run was extended to 12 following their 4-3 defeat at Maidenhead United. Worrying times for The Shot’s boss Gary Waddock, though an eventful afternoon for Alfie Kilgour at the heart of The Stones defence. He even found time to score a 62nd minute goal; ‘…Alfie Kilgour extended their lead to 4-1 with a composed second half finish.’

Boreham Wood, with Ricky Shakes and Danny Woodards in their lineup, were 1-0 home winners over John Still’s Barnet, while Andy Bond was in the AFC Fylde side that drew 1-1 at Barrow.

Nathan Blissett scored twice on his Solihull Moors debut as his new side were 4-0 winners at Chesterfield, a result that keeps them in fourth place as the striker bids to gain a third promotion from the National League. It was a result that cost Chesterfield boss Martin Allen his job.

Lyle Della-Verde and his bottom of the table Braintree Town side were beaten 4-2 at Ebbsfleet United and are nine points from safety.

In the north east derby, Gateshead were 2-1 winners against Hartlepool United, for whom Luke James was introduced as a 51st minute substitute. There was a surprise 2-1 win for Jamie Fullarton’s FC Halifax Town at Harrogate Town, whose promotion credentials were dented as they slipped to sixth place following this result.

Chris Zebroski went on as an 85th minute substitute for Eastleigh in their 2-2 draw against Havant & Waterloovile, but Charlie Clough and Wayne Brown were again missing from the Sutton United side that won 1-0 against Bromley in front of a 2,086 crowd at Gander Green Lane.

Moving on to National League North and Darlington were 5-1 home winners against York City. A crowd of 2,286 watched this one and Johnny Burn and Alex Henshall were both named on the Darlington bench.

Guisley co manager Marcus Bignot and his staff have a lot of work to do following their 5-1 home defeat at the hands of league leaders Bradford PA.

There was some festive cheer for Hereford United, though, as they were 2-1 home winners against Kidderminster Harriers in front of a festive crowd of 3,210 which included 518 ‘Kiddy’ fans. Danny Greenslade started this one for The Bulls, while Eliot Richards and Martin Horsell were on the bench.

Adam Dawson was in the Chester side beaten 2-0 by Southport at Haig Avenue.

Moving on to National League South and Slough Town’s 3-0 win at Wealdstone saw Scott Davies tweeting this; ‘Absolute shift from the boys today! The hunger and fire! Nice finish to a busy few days! The support was quality! Saturday here we come @sloughtownfc.’

Likes an exclamation mark does our Scott! Needless to say, he started the game, though he was substituted in the 71st minute by another former Gas player (just) Louie Soares.

Welling United, with Bradley Goldberg in their starting lineup, were 2-0 home winners against Dartford but Chris Dickson and his Hampton & Richmond Borough side were beaten 3-1 at Woking.

The Chippenham Town/Bath City A4 derby ended 2-2 in front of 1,455 fans. Will Puddy was on the Chippenham bench. Ryan Clarke and Ryan Brunt started for Bath and it was Brunt who scored City’s equalising goal.

Cameron Hargreaves was in the Hungerford Town starting lineup for their 1-1 draw against Oxford City while Rhys Kavanagh and Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis were named on the bench.

Torquay United and assistant manager Aaron Downes were 4-2 winners against Truro City at Plainmoor where there was an attendance of 3,863, with only 83 Truro fans making the trip for what was dubbed as the battle of Plainmoor. Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist was in the Truro squad and went on in the 57th minute.

Weston super Mare and Gloucester City played out a goalless draw at the Woodspring Stadium, where Nabi Diallo started for the home side, Ben Swallow was introduced as an 86th minute substitute and Jamie Lucas remained on the bench.

In the Northern Premier league, there was no Craig Stanley in the Lancaster City lineup. They must have missed him, as they were beaten 2-0 by Workington.

There was a local derby played out in the East Division, where Cleethorpes Town beat Lincoln United 4-1 in front of the second highest crowd in the division, 425. Craig Disley was again on the bench for Cleethorpes.

In the same division, Andy Monkhouse was in the Ossett United side beaten 1-0 by Pontefract Collieries while in the West Divison Prescot Cables, without Josh Klein-Davies, were 5-1 away winners at Skelmersdale United.

In the Bostik league Premier Division, Jamie Cureton and his Bishop’s Stortford side were 1-0 home winners against Harlow Town. Tom Hitchcock was awarded player of the match for Harlow in this local derby played out in front of a crowd of 687.

Theo Widdrington was in the Bognor Regis Town side held to a 2-2 draw by Lewes in the same division.

Moving on to the Southern League Premier Central Division and Marcus Law’s Kettering Town side registered a 2-1 away win at Bedworth United. Adam Cunnington’s fourth minute goal was his first since returning to the club for a second spell.

Rushall Olympic, with Tyler Lyttle again in their lineup, were held to a 1-1 home draw by Tamworth, while in the Premier South Section Scott McGleish was again on the bench for Hendon, who lost 3-1 at Harrow Borough.

Jefferson Louis was in the Chesham United side that beat Rene Howe and his Kings Langley side 3-0 while in the Dorset derby a crowd in excess of 2,000 saw Dorchester Town suffer a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Weymouth who had Josh Wakefield in the lineup.

ReneHowe
Rene Howe is, by my reckoning, now playing for his 14th club, having started out with Bedford Town.
He then played for Kettering Town, Peterborough United, Rochdale (loan), Morecambe (loan), Lincoln City (loan), Gillingham (loan) Rushed & Diamonds (loan). His move to Rovers (January – May 2011) was also a loan move but after one goal in 12 league games he joined Torquay United.
From Plainmoor it was on to Burton Albion, Newport County, Kettering Town (again), Hendon and then his current club, Kings Langley.
[Photo Credit – Jeff Davis]
Former Gasmen Danny Greaves and Gavin Williams, now managers of Frome Town and Merthyr Town respectively, saw their sides in opposition and the Welsh side came out on top, winning 3-2. Tom Mehew was introduced as a 75th minute substitute for Frome.

Salisbury, with Darren Mullings in their side, had to be content with a point from a 2-2 draw at Swindon Supermarine, while Tiverton Town lost 2-1 at the home of league leaders Taunton Town. Pierce Mitchell was in the Taunton side, while Liam Armstrong was again in goal for ‘Tivvy’.

In Division One South Phil Bater’s Larkhall Athletic slipped up, losing 1-0 at home to Melksham Town. Geraint Bater started for ‘The Larks’ while Matt Groves and Neil Arndale were on the bench while Nuno Felix appears to have left Weston super Mare, as he was in the Melksham side.

Paulton Rovers also suffered a home defeat, losing 4-2 to Street, so no festive joy for assistant managers Gary Powell and Paul Tovey or for Trey Anderson or Jay Malpas who were named in the Paulton starting lineup.

Seven goals were scored at Lodge Road, where Yate Town were 4-3 winners against Mangotsfield United. A crowd of 330 were in attendance and saw Ollie Mehew make a 60th minute substitute appearance and Harry Warwick go on after 81 minutes for Yate and Kieran Hodges in goal for ‘The Mangos’.

Jordan Goddard was in action for Highgate United, who played out a goalless draw against Romulus, though Sam Oji was still missing from their squad.

In the Western League, Andy Gurney’s Roman Glass St George were beaten 5-1 by Cribbs, Ray Johnstone’s Hallen lost 3-0 to Clevedon Town and Joe White’s Chipping Sodbury Town were held to a goalless draw by Shortwood United.

In Scotland, pride of place goes to Scott Sinclair, who scored a hat trick for Celtic in their 4-3 win against Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership, while Michael Smith and Hearts won only their second game in ten, beating Hamilton Academicals 2-0.

In Wales, a crowd of 689 saw Barry Town United move to the top of the Welsh Premier League following their 2-1 win against Cardiff Met. Kayne McLaggon played for the new league leaders and was also on the scoresheet again.

KayneMcLaggon
Welsh born striker Kayne McLaggon is currently playing for Barry Town United, who rejoined in July 2017. He began his career at Southampton and scored once in seven league games for them. He was loaned to Eastbourne during his time with The saints and joined Rovers in July 2011. He made just one league appearance for Rovers and on leaving he played for Tonbridge Angels, Weston super mare and Merthyr Town before joining Barry.
[Photo Credit – Marc Giddings]
In the Northern Ireland Premier league, Crusaders were 5-1 winners at Cliftonville but, once again, Mark McChrystal was missing from their squad. In the same league, Seanan Clucas picked up a yellow card when playing for Dungannon Swifts, who drew 1-1 against Glenavon.

One division down, in the East Antrim derby, Jeff Hughes was in the Larne side that won 3-0 against Ballymena Comrades. Larne, having lost just one game all season, have a 16 point lead at the top of the table.

On Friday evening Welsh Football League Division One side Haverdfordwest County were 4-0 winners at Ton Pentre, though there was no sign of Kaid Mohammed in their squad.

Friday was also the day that John Still decided that, at the age of 68, he was going to step down as a manager. The Barnet boss will not be lost to the game, though, as he will remain at The Hive as Head of Football.

The final fixtures of 2018 took place on Saturday/Sunday and Rovers ended the year in style, winning their third successive game by two goals to nil at Oxford, their sixth consecutive win at The Kassam Stadium. Alex Jakubiak scored both goals and earned himself a place in the League Paper’s League One Team of the Day.

In the Premier League, Brighton assistant manager Paul Trollope saw his side register a 1-0 home win against Everton.

Pride of place at the top level, though, goes to Neil Etheridge. The Cardiff City shot stopper saved his third penalty of the season and then saw his side snatch a dramatic late winner to complete a 1-0 win against Leicester City.

In the Championship, Tony Pulis saw his Middlesbrough side beat bottom of the table Ipswich Town 2-0. Ellis Harrison was on the bench for Ipswich but wasn’t called on.

Luke Daniels was again on the Brentford bench as they gained a point from a goalless draw against Birmingham City. Another goalless draw was played out at Loftus Road, between QPR and Reading, so it was another clean sheet bonus for Joe Lumley!

Matty Taylor was introduced to the fray as a 59th minute substitute at Ashton Gate, where Bristol City beat Rotherham United 1-0 thanks to an 86th minute winner against a side reduced to nine men.

Millwall coach Adam Barratt saw his side ease their relegation worries with a 1-0 victory against Nottingham Forest at The Den while Oli McBurnie was in the Swansea side that drew 2-2 against Wigan Athletic after being two goals down at one point. No sign of Connor Roberts in the Swansea side, though.

In the league that matters to Gasheads, Shrewsbury Town with Ollie Norburn in their side, drew 1-1 against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Only 33,268 watched this one, some 13,000 less than the Boxing Day crown that watched the Black Cats.

With speculation mounting that he might be leaving Gillingham in the January transfer window, Tom Eaves made his bow as a second half substitute, though he couldn’t prevent his side slipping to a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Doncaster Rovers.

Aaron Chapman was again on the bench for Peterborough United, 4-0 winners at Accrington Stanley while Marc Bola and his Blackpool team mates had to settle for a point in a goalless draw at AFC Wimbledon.

Up at Fleetwood, Cian Bolger was a 79th minute substitute for the home side though they were unable to halt a rampant Portsmouth side who, with Lee Brown starting, were 5-2 winners. Brown, though, had to come off after only 19 minutes of this game.

Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper Matt Macey was injured and missed his first game of the season, though his Argyle team mates did well to take a point from a 1-1 draw at Burton Albion. Gary Sawyer was in the Argyle side.

Scunthorpe United, without the services of Matt Lund, ended a run of six consecutive league defeats with a 1-0 win against Wycombe Wanderers. Joe Jacobson was in the Wycombe side and Paris Cowan-Hall went on as a 72nd minute substitute.

In League Two, Keith Curle’s Northampton Town recovered a 2-0 deficit at Sixfields to draw 2-2 with MK Dons. Andy Williams was again on target for The Cobblers, while Lee Nicholls was in goal for MK.

Harry Pell and his Colchester United team mates also had to be content with a point, as they played out a goalless draw against Morecambe, though Pell was named as a substitute and came off the bench in the 73rd minute.

There was another goalless draw at Prenton Park, between Tranmere Rovers and Yeovil Town, for whom Alefe Santos again started.

At Brunton Park Carlisle United, with Tom Parkes in their side, scored an 88th winning goal to see off Macclesfield Town 2-1, while bottom club Notts County played out a goalless draw against Bury at Meadow Lane without the services of Daniel Jones and Elliot Ward. Byron Moore started for Bury and Dominic Telford went on with eight minutes remaining.

League leaders Lincoln City were 2-1 winners at Cambridge United. Reggie Lambe was again in the Cambridge side, John Akinde was again on the scoresheet for Lincoln and Sam Slocombe and Bernard Mensah were again on the bench for the Imps.

Jordan Tillson was in the Exeter City side that suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Grimsby Town, while David Pipe was an unused substitute for Newport County, who played out a goalless draw against Crawley Town.

There was another goalless draw played out at Field Mill between Mansfield Town and Swindon Town. Stags goalkeeper Conrad Logan earned himself an eight out of ten from the League Paper for his performance while Ryan Sweeney was given a seven.

Cristian Montano was on the losing side as Port Vale suffered a 4-1 home defeat at the hands of managerless Oldham Athletic, but Ryan Broom was again missing from the Cheltenham Town side held to a 2-2 draw by Forest Green Rovers at Whaddon Road.

Things are hotting up in the National League title race and some of the early pacesetters are struggling at the moment, none more so than Salford City who were beaten 3-2 at Barrow, where the home side scored the winner in the 94th minute. Rory Gaffney was an unused substitute for Salford, who slipped down to fourth place following this result.

Leaders Leyton Orient, with Matt Harrold leading the attack, were held to a goalless draw at Dover Athletic, allowing second placed Wrexham to close the gap to just one point. They beat Solihull Moors 1-0, so no joy for assistant boss James Quinn or striker Nathan Blissett, who spearheaded their attack.

Andy Bond and his AFC Fylde team mates took advantage of some average results by the leading sides to move into third place themselves, though they left it late at Harrogate Town, as they scored a 92nd minute penalty to record a 2-1 victory.

Ricky Shakes was in the Boreham Wood side that suffered a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Maidstone United, while Danny Woodards was an unused substitute.

Luke James apparently put in a Man of the Match performance for Hartlepool United, who drew 1-1 at Chesterfield where James scored for ‘Pool in the 45th minute.

John Still’s first game as Head of Football at Barnet saw him come up against one of his former clubs, Dagenham & Redbridge, and he saw his present side record a 1-0 win against the Daggers for whom Angelo Balanta again started.

Chris Zebroski was a 50th minute substitute for Eastleigh in their 3-0 defeat at Ebbsfleet United, while Jamie Fullarton’s FC Halifax Town picked up a point from a 1-1 draw at Gateshead.

ChrisZebroski
Now playing for National League side Eastleigh, Chris Zebroski was brought to Rovers, from Torquay United, in the summer of 2011 by new manager Paul Buckle who had been, of course, Zebroski’s manager at Plainmoor.
He started out at Plymouth Argyle before moving to Millwall and his stint at The Den saw him enjoy a loan spell with Oxford United before another loan spell, with Torquay United.There was a permanent move to Wycombe wanderers and another loan spell with Torquay before he signed for them on a permanent basis.
From Rovers it was on to Cheltenham Town and he then enjoyed a first spell with Eastleigh and also played for Newport County before a move back to Eastleigh.
Chris is pictured here with Paul Buckle on the first day of pre season training, 2011
[Photo Credit – Jeff Davis]
Alfie Kilgour was again in the Maidenhead United side, but they suffered a 1-0 home defeat against bottom club Braintree Town. Lyle Dell-Verde was in the Braintree side who remain seven points from safety.

Sutton United defeated Gary Waddock’s Aldershot Town side without the services of Charlie Clough and Wayne Brown and they remain one place outside of the play off places.

In National League North, Alex Henshall was in the Darlington side who were 2-1 home winners against Ashton United, while Johnny Burn was an unused substitute.

There was a rare goal for Danny Greenslade in Hereford’s 2-0 home win against Chester and a 69th minute substitute appearance by Eliot Richards, with Martin Horsell an unused substitute. Adam Dawson was an unused substitute for Chester.

Marcus Bignot’s Guiseley, though, had to be content with a point from a 2-2 home draw against Altrincham.

In National League South Chippenham Town, with George Rigg starting and Will Puddy on the bench, were 3-2 home winners against Hampton & Richmond who were without the services of Chris Dickson.

Hungerford Town suffered a 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Truro City, though Rhys Kavanagh did get on the scoresheet for the home side, assisted by Cameron Hargreaves; ‘Hungerford’s Cameron Hargreaves played in Rhys Kavanagh to convert a quick equaliser.’ Reported the Non League Paper. Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis was an unused substitute for Hungerford, while Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist was in the Truro side.

League leaders Torquay United, with Aaron Downes now firmly ensconced as assistant manager, recorded their eighth consecutive league victory as they were 2-1 home winners against Gloucester City.

Dulwich Hamlet drew a home crowd of 2,900 for their clash with Slough Town, who were 1-0 winners. Scott Davies was a 77th minute substitute for the victors, while Louis Soares was an unused substitute.

Bradley Goldberg was on the losing side as his Welling United outfit suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Concord Rangers.

Weston super Mare lost again, beaten 2-0 by Bath City at Woodspring Park. Nabi Diallo started for the home side, Jamie Lucas went on in the 75th minute and Ben Swallow stayed on the bench. Ryan Clarke was the only former Gasman in the Bath side.

There weren’t too many games in the Northern Premier League and the only one of interest was Prescot Cables against Colwyn Bay. The Cables suffered a 2-1 home defeat though once again Josh Klein-Davies was missing from their lineup.

In the Bostik League Premier Division, a 93rd minute goal was enough for Brightlingsea Regent to defeat Jamie Cureton and his Bishop’s Stortford side.

Harlow Town, with Tom Hitchcock contributing an assist, according to their website, suffered a 4-2 home defeat at the hands of AFC Hornchurch. Meanwhile Bognor Regis Town, who have Theo Widdrington on loan, were without a game.

Moving into the Southern League Premier Central Division and Marcus Law’s Kettering Town had to settle for a point from a goalless draw at Kings Lynn Town. Adam Cunnington was in the Kettering side, as was new signing Craig Stanley whose transfer was announced prior to the match on the Kettering website; ‘We can announce that the club have signed centre half Craig Stanley from Lancaster City, who has recently moved to the area…’

craigStanley
Craig Stanley began his career as a trainee with Walsall and played for Raith Rovers, Telford United, Hereford United, Morecambe and Torquay United before joining Rovers in 2011. He’s pictured here with assistant manager Shaun North at a pre-season friendly game.
After one season, during which he scored once in 34 league games, he moved on to Aldershot Town and then Eastleigh, Lincoln City and Southport, then Lancaster City before his latest move, to Kettering Town.
[Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
Tyler Lyttle was on the losing side, though, as Rushall Olympic suffered a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Coalville Town.

In the Premier South Division, Jefferson Louis started on the bench for Chesham United, who drew 1-1 against Metropolitan Police, though he was called on in the second half.

Danny Greaves and his Frome Town side were beaten 3-1 by Tiverton Town, a result that sees them with only one team below them in the league. Tom Mehew started on the bench but went on in the 65th minute, while Liam Armstrong was, as usual, between the posts for ‘Tivvy’.

Kings Langley, with Rene Howe in their side, were 4-3 winners at Harrow Borough while Darren Mullings started for Salisbury in their 2-2 draw at Poole Town but he was substituted at the start of the second half.

League leaders Taunton Town, with Pierce Mitchell in their side, and second placed Weymouth played out a 3-3 draw and Josh Wakefield was again in the Weymouth lineup. However, Gavin Williams and his Merthyr Town side were beaten 3-0 at Swindon Supermarine.

Gavin Williams,Bristol Rovers
Current Merthyr Town boss Gavin Williams, pictured here playing for The Gas against Southampton, has two full Welsh international caps to his name.
He began his career with Hereford United and joined Yeovil Town before earning himself a big money move to West Ham United. He was loaned out to Ipswich Town whilst at Upton Park and then signed a permanent deal with the Tractor Boys.
His next move was to Bristol (Ashton Gate, I’m afraid)  and then he enjoyed two further loan spell with Rovers before signing for The Gas in January 2011. By the time he left us, in the summer of 2011, he had scored two goals in 19 league games.
His next destination was Yeovil Town (for a fourth spell) and there was time spent with Woking before he signed for his current club in December 2013.
[Photo Credit – Neil Brookman]
In Division One South Nuno Felix was in the Melksham Town side beaten 3-0 at Evesham United, while Trey Anderson and Jay Malpas were both named on the bench by Paulton Rovers, who suffered a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Cinderford Town.

Mangotsfield United, with Kieran Hodges in goal, lost 4-0 at Winchester City, while Yate Town had to be content with a point from a 1-1 home draw against Thatcham Town. Ollie Mehew scored Yate’s goal; ‘The pressure pays off, Ford with a great ball into the box and composed finish from Mehew.’ Said the Yate Twitter account. Harry Warwick was on the bench for Yate and he went on in the second half.

In the Total Motion MFL Premier league, Jordan Goddard scored for Highgate United in their 1-1 draw against Lye Town and, closer to home, Ray Johnstone’s Hallen lost 4-0 at home to Willand Rovers, and Andy Gurney’s Roman Glass St George drew 1-1 at Buckland Athletic.

In Scotland, Scott Sinclair and Celtic were on the losing side in the Glasgow derby, as Rangers ran out 1-0 winners. In the Edinburgh derby Michael Smith and Hearts were on the winning side as they beat Hibernian 1-0.

In the Lanarkshire derby, Motherwell were 2-1 winners at Hamilton Academicals. Must have been the return of Peter Hartley to their side that did it!

In Scottish League One, Darryl Duffy scored for Airdrieonians, who were 3-0 home winners against Stranraer, while in Scottish League Two Peterhead were also 3-0 winners, at Elgin City though there was no David McCracken in their squad.

Mark McChrystal was again missing from the Crusaders lineup for their 1-0 win against Glentoran in the NIFL but Dungannon Swifts, with Seanan Clucas in their side, lost 3-0 at home against Ards.

In the NIFL Championship Larne, with Jeff Hughes in their side, suffered only their second defeat of the season, going down 2-0 at Carrick Rangers in the East Antrim derby.

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Chapter 20 –  Week commencing 17th December 2018

No real Gas interest in any of Monday night’s games, not even in the FA Cup where Southport fielded an entirely different side to the one they put out on Saturday, so no place for Kris Owens in the side beaten 2-0 at home by Tranmere Rovers.

On Tuesday afternoon I attended the funeral of former Rovers player Joe Davis and heard several moving tributes paid by his family and from some of those who knew him far better than I did, including Ian Holloway who first met Joe as a nine year old hoping to become a professional footballer. Harold Jarman and Tom Stanton, both former players of course, were also in attendance along with a number of Rovers supporters.

News of two former Gas players on this day as well (once again I am indebted to Stephen Byrne for this information). Ryan Green has retired as a player but will be retained by his club, Hereford, as a scout, while Scott McGleish has been appointed as player/coach at Hendon who play in the Southern League Premier South Division where they are currently in fifth place.

In the Carabao Cup Tony Pulis and his Middlesbrough side were on the wrong end of a shock result, as they were beaten 1-0 by Burton Albion at the Riverside Stadium, which means that League One side Burton are through to the semi finals of the competition.

In the FA Cup second round replay Blackpool, with Marc Bola in their lineup, eventually overcame Solihull Moors, with assistant manager James Quinn in the dugout, 3-2 at Bloomfield Road. Blackpool now have a home tie against Arsenal in round three; wonder if their fans will continue their boycott of home fixtures for that one! (The crowd for this replay was just 1,441).

Maidenhead United’s attempts to play their FA Trophy tie against Oxford City at York Road, abandoned last Saturday, were thwarted as the pitch was again unplayable, so it was a rest night for Alfie Kilgour and his team mates!

Weymouth went through to the second round of the FA Trophy without kicking a ball. Last Saturday’s first round tie against Needham Market was called off after the visitors to Dorset had travelled down from their Suffolk base, a round trip of 464 miles. Needham decided that they could not travel down to Dorset on a Tuesday evening as it would mean their players taking two days off of work, and so advised the Football Association that they were withdrawing from the competition.

On the night they were supposed to have played the game, they rearranged a home Southern League South Premier League game against Redditch United (a round trip of 306 miles for their visitors!) and won 2-1.

Weymouth, and former Rovers loanee Josh Wakefield now face an away tie against Ramsbottom United in the second round of the competition.

There were also a handful of first round replays and the aforementioned Ramsbottom United went through to round two following their 2-0 win against Workington.

It was a night to forget for Gary Waddock and his Aldershot Town side, though, as they were beaten 7-0 by Bedford Town in front of a crowd of 485. However, it should be noted that The Shots made the decision that, because of their crippling injury list, to field their Academy side for this game. This is what was said on their Twitter feed afterwards; ‘The young players from the academy were OUTSTANDING. Never stopped trying to play. Never pulled out of a challenge. Never stopped trying to score. Never intimidated. Rose to the challenge. Played for the badge. Hit the woodwork twice. They did you PROUD.’

In the one National League fixture played on Tuesday, Jamie Fullarton’s FC Halifax Town drew 1-1 with Boreham Wood at The Shay. Ricky Shakes was in the Boreham lineup for this one. The attendance of 910 included ten away fans; fair play to them, as it’s a long way to travel on a Tuesday evening!

In the Southern Premier League South, Dorchester Town, with Josh Bailey again in their lineup, suffered a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Swindon Supermarine while Rene Howe and Kings Langley had to kick their heels as their match against Metropolitan Police was called off because of a waterlogged pitch. The same fate befell Tiverton Town, who were due to face Poole Town.

Bishop’s Stortford returned to winning ways with a 5-1 away win against Wingate & Finchley in the third round of the Velocity Trophy and, yes, Jamie Cureton scored one of their goals! ‘Two goal cushion restored here with @JamieCuro on hand at the back post to nod home Ryan Charles’ deep cross.’ Was how the club’s Twitter feed logged his 62nd minute strike.

In the second round of the Durham Senior Cup Darlington, with Johnny Burn in their side, were 4-0 home winners against Stockton Town.

Wednesday saw two Carabao Cup quarter finals, but the only tenuous Gas connection I could find was Tyrone Mings, who warmed the AFC Bournemouth bench in their 1-0 defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. He came to us, on trial for the U-18 side some years ago, when we trained at South Bristol Sports Centre. His Dad, Adie, former Bath City player and Chippenham Town boss, often gave him a lift to training but, unfortunately, he wasn’t offered anything by us. Pretty big mistake, that!

In the Scottish Premiership, Scott Sinclair scored from the penalty spot as Celtic returned to the top of the table following their 3-0 win against Motherwell. No sign of Peter Hartley in the Motherwell lineup, though.

Friday brought news of a transfer involving former Gas striker Nathan Blissett, who moved to Solihull Moors from Macclesfield Town thus becoming the first casualty of the Sol Campbell era at Moss Rose!

This is how the news was reported on the Moors website; ‘The Club are delighted to announce the signing of Macclesfield Town striker and two time Vanarama National League promotion winner Nathan Blissett on a deal until the end of the 2019/20 season.

‘The 28 year old arrives at the Automated Technology Group Stadium having won the league with the Silkmen last season, where he netted five times from January onwards……..He achieved promotion with Bristol Rovers in 2015 through the play offs.’

‘Blissett will wear the number 13 shirt and is eligible to play in tomorrow’s National League clash against Barrow AFC.’

In addition, Gas midfielder Theo Widdrington has joined Bognor Regis Town, of the Bostik League Premier Division, in a one month loan deal.

On Friday night in France, Oumare Tounkara was in the Chateauroux side that suffered a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Ajaccio in Ligue 2.

Saturday saw Rovers register a home win at last as, thanks to goals from Gavin Reilly and James Clarke (in the 94th minute) they saw off Fleetwood Town 2-1 at The Mem.

Seven Fleetwood players were handed yellow cards, while manager Joey Barton and striker Ched Evans both saw red. Rovers were dealt four yellows, including one to Stefan Payne, who never even got off the bench!

Barton wasn’t impressed with the standard of officiating, saying afterwards; ‘Today’s match officials were as bad as any I have come across in all my time in the game, including junior football.’

There was no Premier League joy for our two ex Gas representatives as Brighton & Hove Albion, where Paul Trollope is assistant manager, went down 2-0 at AFC Bournemouth, and Neil Etheridge and Cardiff City were on the wrong end of a 5-1 trouncing by Manchester United.

In the Championship, Ellis Harrison scored a fantastic (well, it looked fantastic on TV!) goal for Ipswich Town in their 1-1 home draw against Sheffield United and earned himself a mark of eight out of ten in the League Paper.

Ellis Harrison for in search of gas twenty. Photo credit JMP
Ellis Harrison scored his first league goal for Ipswich Town on 22nd December, following his move the Championship side in the summer.
The first few months at his new club has seen him experience a change of manager and an injury that kept him out of the side for a number of games.
The striker, who will celebrate his 25th birthday in January 2019, was with Rovers from a young age and graduated through the ranks to become a regular in the first team.
Spent a brief loan spell with Hartlepool United early in 2016 and has 14 Welsh U-21 caps to his name.
Ipswich paid a fee reported to be in the region of £750,000 to secure his services in the summer. [Photo credit JMP]
Goalkeeper Joe Lumley kept a clean sheet as QPR won 1-0 at Nottingham Forest (their first victory in 84 years at The City Ground, which has taken in 35 games and 20 defeats).

Oli McBurnie and Connor Roberts were on TV and also on the losing side as Swansea City lost 3-2 at Hull City in the evening’s televised match.

Tony Pulis and Middlesbrough returned to winning ways and their 1-0 victory at Reading moved them up to fourth place.

Millwall coach Adam Barrett saw his side lose 1-0 at Stoke City and they remain in the bottom three. Brentford, though, won their first game in seven outings as they beat Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at Griffin Park where Luke Daniels took up his customary position as bench warmer!

In a top of the table League One clash at Fratton Park, Lee Brown and his Portsmouth team mates were 3-1 winners against Sunderland in front of a crowd of 19,402.

Aaron Chapman was on bench warming duty for Peterborough United, who could only draw 1-1 with Walsall at London Road, while Joe Jacobson was on the losing side as Wycombe Wanderers suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of bottom club AFC Wimbledon. Paris Cowan-Hall was an unused substitute for The Chairboys.

Marc Bola was also on the losing side as he and Blackpool slipped to a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Barnsley and there was no Tom Eaves in the Gillingham side beaten 2-0 by Charlton Athletic at The Valley.

Matt Macey and Gary Sawyer were on the losing side as Plymouth Argyle went down 3-0 against Accrington Stanley at Home Park. However, Shrewsbury Town boss Sam Ricketts was a happy man as his side clinched their first League One win since his appointment. They beat Coventry City 1-0 with Ollie Norburn in the side and Charlie Colkett an unused substitute.

Matt Lund was missing from the Scunthorpe United side who traded places with Bradford City in the bottom four following their 2-0 defeat against Bradford City. Not a happy return to Valley Parade for former Bradford boss Stuart McCall!

In League two, Lincoln City extended their lead at the top of the table to four points after seeing off Newport County 3-2 at Sincil Bank. John Akinde was on the scoresheet for The Imps (not a penalty on this occasion!) while Sam Slocombe and Bernard Mensah were again on the bench.

John Akinde for in search of gas twenty - photo credit Jeff Davis
John Akinde began his career as a youngster with Tottenham Hotspur, but was not taken on as a pro and played for Gravesend & Northfleet (who were to become Ebbsfleet United) and Whitstable Town on loan. There were further loan spells at Margate and Whitstable Town (again) before he made a little bit of history in 2008 when his transfer from Ebbsfleet to Bristol City was decided by a fans poll.
His City career was punctuated by a number of loan spells and he was at Wycombe Wanderers and Brentford before arriving at The Memorial Stadium in August 2010, but he failed to score in 14 league appearances.
Another loan spell at Dagenham & Redbridge preceded a move to Crawley. It was then back to The Daggers for another loan spell, then permanent moves to Portsmouth, Alfreton and Barnet before his signed for Lincoln City in July 2018.  [Photo credit Jeff Davis]
Conrad Logan and Ryan Sweeney were both in the Mansfield Town side that won 3-1 at Stevenage and Sweeney actually got on the scoresheet, a rare occurrence! The result keeps Mansfield in fourth place.

MK Dons were beaten at home for the first time this season, losing 1-0 against Colchester United. Lee Nicholls was, as usual, in goal for MK, while Harry Pell took up his customary place in the Colchester midfield.

Jordan Tillson remained on the bench as Exeter City were 3-2 winners at Oldham Athletic, while Reggie Lambe did get off the bench for Cambridge United (in the 78th minute) but it made no difference as they were beaten 3-0 at Morecambe.

Ryan Broom was missing from the Cheltenham Town lineup as they drew 0-0 at Swindon Town. Byron Moore started for Bury, and Dominic Telford went on as an 85th minute substitute, who beat Tranmere Rovers 2-1 at Gigg Lane.

Meanwhile Yeovil Town and Keith Curle’s Northampton Town drew 1-1 at Huish. Alefe Santos started for Yeovil, who went behind in the 88th minute to an Andy Williams (also ex Yeovil) strike. However, ‘The Glovers’ rescued a point with a Yoann Arquin goal just a minute later.

Cristian Montano and his Port Vale team mates drew 0-0 at Macclesfield Town, but Elliot Ward and Daniel Jones ended up on the losing side as Notts County were trounced 4-0 at Grimsby Town.

In the National League, assistant manager James Quinn and his Solihull Moors side were without new signing Nathan Blissett and slipped to a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Barrow AFC.

Jamie Fullarton’s FC Halifax Town also suffered a 1-0 home defeat, at the hands of Sutton United who managed that without either Charlie Clough or Wayne Brown.

Chis Zebroski was an unused substitute in Eastleigh’s 2-1 home win against Harrogate Town while Alfie Kilgour was in the Maidenhead United side beaten 1-0 at Bromley.

Andy Bond was in the AFC Fyle side that won 2-0 against Ebbsfleet United, while Luke James was in the Hartlepool United side held to a 1-1 home draw by Havant & Waterlooville.

Gary Waddock saw his Aldershot Town side gain a valuable point from a goalless home draw against Wrexham, while John Still’s Barnet side registered a 2-0 home win against Dover Athletic.

Lyle Della-Verde was in the Braintree Town side held to a 1-1 home draw by a Boreham Wood side with Ricky Shakes in their lineup and Danny Woodards on the bench.

League leaders Leyton Orient were 3-1 home winners against Chesterfield with Matt Harrold being introduced as an 86th minute substitute.

Second placed Salford City suffered their first home defeat of the season at the hands of Dagenham & Redbridge. Rory Gaffney started this one but was substituted after 58 minutes. How ‘The Daggers’ must wish they had signed Angelo Balanta much earlier in the season, though. He has rejuvenated their campaign and his winning goal in this game saw them up to 15th place in the league.

In National League North, Adam Dawson was in action for Chester against another of his former clubs, AFC Telford United, and was on the winning side as Chester won 2-1.

Johnny Burn was in the Darlington side, and Alex Henshall was an unused substitute as The Quakers had to settle for a point from a 3-3 draw at Altrincham.

Hereford were beaten 1-0 by league leaders Bradford PA with Danny Greenslade in their side and Martin Horsell an unused substitute.

Guiseley co manager Marcus Bignot saw his side win 3-1 at bottom club Nuneaton Borough and move up to 15th place in the league standings.

In National League South Bath City are in eighth place following their 2-0 home win against Chelmsford. Ryan Clarke and Ryan Brunt started this one for The Romans.

Concord Rangers, with Alex Wall in their lineup, played out a 1-1 home draw against Chippenham Town, for whom Will Puddy was an unused substitute.

Hungerford Town, meanwhile, were beaten 2-1 at Dartford. Cameron Hargreaves started this one and he was replaced by Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis after 75 minutes.

Chris Dickson failed to get on the scoresheet for Hampton and Richmond, as did the rest of the team; they lost 3-0 at home to league leaders Torquay United, with assistant manager Aaron Downes on the bench for his first league match with The Gulls.

Scott Davies was in the Slough Town lineup and Louie Soares on the bench as they beat East Thurrock 3-1.

Bradley Goldberg earned himself an eight out of ten in the Non League Paper for his performance for Welling, who drew 1-1 with Hemel Hempstead, while Weston super Mare’s season doesn’t get any better. They lost 3-0 at Oxford City. Nabi Diallo completed 90 minutes for Weston, while Jamie Lucas and Ben Swallow were unused substitutes.

Moving into the Northern Premier League, and Craig Stanley was missing from the Lancaster City side that drew 1-1 with South Shields.

In the East Division, Andy Monkhouse was in the Ossett United side that were 1-0 home winners against Loughborough Diamonds, while Craig Disley was on the bench for Cleethorpes Town who were 2-1 away winners at Spalding United.

Prescot Cables moved up to fourth place in the West Division with a 2-0 home win against Trafford, though they did it without the services of Josh Klein-Davies.

Bishop’s Stortford were without a game in the Bostik League Premier Division, as were Harlow Town so Jamie Cureton and Tom Hitchcock were able to enjoy a rare Saturday off.

Ryan Sweeney for in search of gas twenty - Photo credit Neil Brookman
Ryan Sweeney played just 13 games for AFC Wimbledon before moving to Stoke City in August 2016 for an undisclosed fee.
First signed for Rovers, on loan in January 2017 and appeared in 16 league games before the end of the season. Returned to The Mem for the entire 2017/18 campaign and scored three goals in another 23 league appearances.
Moved to Mansfield Town in the summer of 2018, on a season long loan, and scored his first goal for ‘The Stags’ on 22nd December.
[Photo credit Neil Brookman]
However, Theo Widdrington made his Bognor Regis Town debut in their 2-0 win at Worthing, a result that sees them in ninth place in the league. Dave Martin was on the losing side as Margate suffered a 3-1 home defeat to Whitehawk.

In the Southern league Premier Central Division, Marcus Law’s Kettering Town side battered Hitchin Town 5-0 but, although he played, Adam Cunnington wasn’t on the scoresheet. Tyler Lyttle was in the Rushall Olympic side beaten 2-1 at Banbury United.

In the Premier South Division Scott McGleish was on the bench for Hendon who suffered a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Danny Greaves’ Frome Town, while Rene Howe was in the Kings Langley side, 3-0 home winners against Gosport Borough.

Gavin Williams and his Merthyr Town side beat Chesham United, 1-0, so no goals for Jefferson Louis on this occasion. Darren Mullings was again selected for Salisbury, who beat Beaconsfield Town 2-0 to stay in third place, but Tiverton Town, with Liam Armstrong in goal, could only draw 2-2 at home to Swindon Supermarine.

Second placed Weymouth, with Josh Wakefield in their side also drew 2-2 at home, against Harrow Borough.

Down in Division One South, Yate Town consolidated second place in the league with a 2-1 away win against leaders Blackfield & Langley. Both Ollie Mehew and Harry Warwick were named on the Yate bench

Phil Bater’s Larkhall Athletic were 2-0 away winners at Highworth Town, a result that saw them up to eighth in the table. Geraint Bater started for ‘The Larks’ while Matt Groves and Neil Arndale were named on the bench.

Things don’t get any better for Mangotsfield United, though, as they were beaten at home again going down 3-2 against Slimbridge at Cossham Street where 119 fans were in attendance. Kieran Hodges was again in goal for ‘The Mangos’.

Paul Tovey and Gary Powell, joint assistant managers of Paulton Rovers, saw their side, with Trey Anderson and Jay Malpas in their lineup, lose 1-0 at Thatcham Town where the only goal of the game was scored in the 90th minute.

Elsewhere, Jordan Goddard returned to the Highgate United side that drew 1-1 against Walsall Wood, but Sam Oji was still missing through suspension.

Closer to home, there were wins for Andy Gurney’s Roman Glass St George, 2-0 against Shortwood United, and Ray Johnstone’s Hallen who beat Cadbury Heath 2-1.

No joy for Chipping Sodbury Town manager Joe White, though, as his side were beaten 4-2 at Bridport.

Up in Scotland, Heart of Midlothian were beaten again. With Michael Smith once again in the side, they lost 2-0 at Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership.

Celtic remained in pole position following their 3-0 win against Dundee and though there were no goals for Scott Sinclair, he did complete the 90 minutes.

Peter Hartley, though, was missing from the Motherwell squad beaten 2-1 at home by St Mirren.

In Scottish League One Darryl Duffy went on after 61 minutes and scored the only goal of the game, a 72nd minute penalty, to earn his side all three points.

In Scottish League Two David McCracken was an unused substitute in Peterhead’s 4-1 home win against Stirling and they remain in second place, five points behind leaders Edinburgh City.

Over the newly toll free Severn Bridge, Barry Town United were 2-1 winners against Caernarvon Town thanks, in no small part, to a ninth minute Kayne McLaggon goal.

There was another win for Crusaders FC in the Northern Ireland Premier League. They beat Warrenpoint 3-1 but there was no sign of Mark McChrystal in their squad. Dungannon Swifts, with Seanan Clucas in the side, lost 2-1 at Coleraine.

On Sunday, Jake Clarke-Salter was in the Vitesse Arnhem side that drew 2-2 at De Graafschap in the Dutch Eredivisie

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Chapter 19 –  Week commencing 10th December 2018

Monday evening saw Bishop’s Stortford of the Bostik League Premier Division lose again, on this occasion, 3-1 at Haringey Borough.  Jamie Cureton started, of course, and this is taken from the club’s Twitter account after they had pulled back a goal in the 52nd minute; ‘immediate response here with @callytank9 rising highest to head home a pinpoint @JamieCuro cross from just inside the area.’

There were three FA Cup replays on Tuesday night and Peterborough United goalkeeper Aaron Chapman was a spectator as his side clinched a place in the next round with a 3-2 win on penalties against Bradford City at Valley Parade after a 4-4- draw and extra time. He will probably be a little worried, though, as his replacement between the posts, Conor O’Malley, saved three Bradford penalties!

Newport eased past Wrexham with a 4-0 win to earn themselves a home tie against Leicester City in round three and David Pipe was in the side that went through against a Wrexham side reduced to ten men after only 12 minutes following the sending off of Luke Young.

No Rovers connections in the other tie, where Walsall ended Sunderland’s 16 game unbeaten run by winning 1-0 at the Stadium of Light. There were only 8,212 fans in attendance….think there will be a few more there on Saturday when Rovers try to emulate the Saddlers!

In League One, leaders Portsmouth suffered a surprise home defeat at the hands of Charlton Athletic, who won 2-1. A rare defeat for Lee Brown and his team mates.

Marcus Bignot, co manager of Guiseley, saw his side also suffer a 2-1 home defeat in the FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round replay. The winners were Lancaster City and victory saw midfielder Craig Stanley, who was in the starting lineup, busy on social media afterwards; ‘What a result and performance by the boys and to get in the next round of the #fatrophy against a good team and a league above us in @GuiseleyAFC. Onto the next round on Saturday now.’

In National League South, Bath City were also beaten 2-1 at home, by Billiericay Town who, we were led to believe, were in disarray following news of a takeover of the club! So much for newspaper stories! A Twerton Park crowd of 545 saw Ryan Clarke and Ryan Brunt start the match and although Sean Rigg was named on the teamsheet, he was a late withdrawal and played no part in the game. Deon Moore replaced Brunt on 63 minutes while Mo Baghdadi was again left warming the bench.

The 2-1 away scoreline theme continued as Truro City were winners at Slough Town. Scott Davies went on as a 67th minute substitute for Sough and Louie Soares was an unused substitute. Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist was in the Truro lineup and no doubt he and assistant manager Michael Meaker enjoyed the journey home afterwards.

No joy for Weston super Mare, though, as they were beaten 3-0 at the Woodspring Stadium by Chelmsford City. Ben Swallow started for the hosts while Jamie Lucas entered the fray from the bench in the 73rd minute.

In the Southern Premier League South, Gavin Williams saw his Merthyr Town side lose 2-0 at home (lot of away wins tonight!) against Poole Town.

Yet another win for an away side came at Weymouth, where the hosts were beaten 3-1 by Gosport Borough. Josh Wakefield was again in the Weymouth lineup. Just a reminder that he spent time on loan with Rovers, on loan from AFC Bournemouth, in February 2015 and although named as a substitute for four Conference games, he never got off the bench.

Harlow Town also recorded an away victory in the Bostik League Premier Division, beating Wingate & Finchley 2-0 with Tom Hitchcock in their side.

Thursday morning came the news that Rovers and Darrell Clarke had parted company. By mutual consent were the words used in the official club statement though the decision left many supporters shocked and disappointed.

DC - thumbnail_JMP_Bristol_Rovers_v_Gillingham_PKn0009
Darrell Clarke, who left the club by mutual consent last week.
As a player he turned out for Mansfield Town, Hartlepool United, Stockport County (loan), Port Vale (loan), Rochdale (loan) and Salisbury City.
He managed Salisbury City before arriving at The Mem in the summer of 2014 earned himself the legendary tag reserved for the select few, following double promotions, from the Conference to League Two and from that league to League One just 12 months later.  [Photo by JMP]
Assistant manager Marcus Stewart also left the club and Defensive Coach Graham Coughlan was put in temporary charge with Chris Hargreaves and Brian Dutton helping him out.

On Friday came more news of two former ex Rovers players. Aaron Downes moved from a coaching role at Cheltenham Town to become assistant to Torquay boss Gary Johnson, while Dave Martin has moved to Margate, on loan from Eastbourne Borough.

Friday night football in Scotland brought about a heavy defeat for Heart of Midlothian at Livingston. Michael Smith and his fellow Hearts players went down to ten men after 74 minutes, but they were only a goal down at the time. 12 minutes later they were five goals down! In spite of that goal blitz by the home side, Smith’s side remain in fourth place in the Scottish Premiership.

In Wales, Kayne McLaggon was in the Barry Town United side who were 3-2 winners at Carmarthen Town and scored their third goal, in the 86th minute; ‘Kayne McLaggon from the penalty spot doubles Barry’s lead at Richmond late on.’

Meanwhile, over in France, Oumare Tounkara was in the Chateauroux side held to a goalless draw by Auxerre in Ligue 2.

Rovers’ first match of the post Darrell Clarke era ended in defeat as they lost 2-1 at Sunderland and that was after taking an early lead with Alex Rodman’s first league goal for the club. The result left the club with only AFC Wimbledon below them in the league.

In the Premier League, Cardiff City and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge were beaten at Watford, losing 3-2 at Vicarage Road.

Championship side Brentford appear to be in freefall and lost their eighth game in ten when going down 2-0 at Hull City. Luke Daniels again warmed the bench for the Bees.
Bottom club Ipswich Town won their first home game of the season, beating Wigan Athletic 1-0, but there was no sign of Ellis Harrison in their squad.

Millwall coach Adam Barratt saw The Lions lose again, this time 3-2 at Preston North End, and Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis also saw his side lose, 2-1 against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road, where Joe Lumley was again on goalkeeping duty for the home side.

Another former Gas goalie was again missing from action; Reading’s Sam Walker missed out on his side’s 1-1 draw at Rotherham.

Swansea City enjoyed a second successive win, beating Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium, with Connor Roberts and Oli McBurnie in their side.

Matty Taylor was again missing from the Bristol City squad that drew 2-2 against league leaders Norwich City at Ashton Gate. However, I have it on good authority that he was on hospitality duties in the seating area reserved for families and that he will be back in action soon.

Elsewhere in League One, Matt Lund was in the Scunthorpe United side beaten 3-0 by Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium and Lee Brown played a part in Portsmouth’s 1-1 draw at Barnsley. The former Gas defender started on the bench but was introduced to the fray at the beginning of the second half.

Defender Cian Bolger stayed on the bench for Fleetwood Town’s match against Burton Albion, which they won 1-0, while Tom Eaves scored his 15th goal of the season in Gillingham’s 2-2 draw against Wycombe Wanderers at the Priestfield Stadium. Joe Jacobson was in the Wycombe side, while Paris Cowan-Hall was an unused substitute.
Marc Bola was in the Blackpool side beaten 2-0 at Oxford United, but Matt Macey and Gary Sawyer were on the winning side as Plymouth Argyle were 2-1 winners at Rochdale. The result saw Argyle move above Rovers in the league standings.

Shrewsbury Town and Peterborough United drew 2-2, with Ollie Norburn in the Shrews’ side and Aaron Chapman in goal for the Posh.

In League Two Reggie Lambe was in the Cambridge United side that drew 0-0 against Yeovil Town at the Abbey Stadium while Alefe Santos was again in the Glovers lineup and he picked up a yellow card during the course of the game.

Tom Parkes was called on at the start of the second half for Carlisle, who thrashed third placed Colchester United 4-0 at Brunton Park, while Harry Pell was in the Colchester side.

Exeter City picked up their first league win since mid October, beating Crewe Alexandra 1-0 at St James’ Park, where Jordan Tillson was an unused Grecian substitute.

Conrad Logan and Ryan Sweeney were in the Mansfield Town side that completed a goalless first half against Forest Green Rovers at the New Lawn. However, they will have to return to Nailsworth later in the season as the match was abandoned, because of a waterlogged pitch, at half time.

Lincoln City returned to the top of the table following their 3-1 home win against Morecambe. John Akinde scored another penalty for The Imps, while Sam Slocombe and Bernard Mensah took up their customary places on the bench.

Macclesfield Town won their first home match under recently appointed boss Sol Campbell, beating Crawley Town 2-0, but there was no Nathan Blissett in their squad.

Keith Curle’s Northampton Town, with Andy Williams an unused substitute, drew 1-1 against Stevenage at Sixfields while Notts County, with Elliott Ward and Daniel Jones in their lineup, won their first game under Neal Ardley, beating Tranmere Rovers 3-2 at Meadow Lane.

Bury suffered a 4-2 defeat at Oldham Athletic. Byron Moore started for The Shakers and Dominic Telford went on at the start of the second half.

At Vale Park, Cristian Montano was again on target for Port Vale, but the home side could only manage a 2-2 draw against Cheltenham Town with Ryan Broom in their lineup.

League leaders at the start of the day, MK Dons, saw their match against Newport County at Rodney parade called off just before kick off because of a waterlogged pitch.

There were no National League games played, as most clubs were involved in the first round of the FA Trophy and AFC Fylde led the way with a 5-1 home win against Stratford Town with Andy Bond being introduced as a 76th minute substitute.

Aldershot Town face a replay after a 3-3 home draw against Bedford Town and there were rumours, at least in the Non League Paper, that it might have been Gary Waddock’s last game in charge of the ‘Shots’. He was only able to name two substitutes for this game and the front page of the paper led with an article suggesting he was to be the next Gas manager.

John Still’s Barnet side eased past Bath City by winning 3-2. Ryan Clarke started for the ‘Romans’ while Mo Baghdadi was introduced as a 34th minute substitute, as was Deon Moore, who replaced Ryan Brunt.

Jamie Fullarton’s FC Halifax were 2-1 winners at Barrow, but Aaron Downes’ first game as assistant manager at Torquay ended in defeat as they lost 3-1 at Boreham Wood where they had two men sent off. Ricky Shakes was in the Boreham lineup.

Dorchester Town, with Josh Bailey in their lineup, were 4-0 winners at Eastbourne Borough while Angelo Balanta scored the only goal of the game for Dagenham & Redbridge, 1-0 winners at Ebbsfleet United.

Chris Zebroski was in the Eastleigh side beaten 2-1 at Hemel Hempstead Town, a shock result for the National League South outfit against their National League opponents.
Hereford United were 2-1 home winners against Billericay Town, with Danny Greenslade in their side and Martin Horsell on the bench.

New Hartlepool United boss Richard Money got his reign off to a winning start as he saw his side win 1-0 at Leamington. Luke James was a 67th minute substitute for the winners.
Matt Harrold was in the Leyton Orient side who were 4-0 home winners against Beaconsfield Town, though he didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet.

Alfie Kilgour was in the Maidenhead United side that looked to be heading for a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Oxford City, but the game was abandoned with just 15 minutes remaining and the sides will have to do battle all over again on Tuesday evening…hopefully!

Salisbury’s game against Braintree Town was a victim of the weather, as was Weymouth’s match against Needham Market (no, me neither!).

Southport and Solihull Moors both have important FA Cup replays next week and both sides made a number of changes for their game at Haig Avenue. Assistant ‘Moors’ boss James Quinn saw his side win 1-0 against a Southport side that featured one loanee and six players who joined the club in the week, on non contract terms, one of them being former Rovers Development squad player Kris Owens.

It was the end of the road for Craig Stanley and his Lancaster City team mates, beaten 3-0 by Blyth Spartans, who recorded their sixth straight win.

Truro City assistant manager Michael Meaker and his side, in a one off return to their Treyew Road ground, were 4-0 winners against Weston super Mare. Ben Swallow completed 90 minutes for the visitors and Jamie Lucas was introduced as a 53rd minute substitute.

Last year’s beaten finalists, Bromley, were 2-1 winners against Sutton United, who included Charlie Clough in their lineup while Wayne Brown was an unused substitute.

The one game played in National League North saw Chorley record a 3-2 home win against Darlington. Johnny Burn was in the ‘Darlo’ side, though no sign of Alex Henshall. Victory saw the home side return to the top of the table while Darlington are down in 17th place.

There was also one National League South fixture and that saw Hampton & Richmond beat Welling United 2-1. Chris Dickson scored both goals for the winners while Bradley Goldberg was in the Welling lineup.

In the Northern Premier League East Division, Andy Monkhouse was in the Ossett United side that took a point from their game at Cleethorpes Town thanks to a 90th minute equaliser. Craig Disley was again on the bench for Cleethorpes.

Prescot Cables, and Josh Klein-Davies, were forced to kick their heels as their game at Glossop North End in the West Division was postponed because of a frozen pitch.

The wheels appear to have come off of Bishop’s Stortford’s promotion challenge in the Bostik League Premier Division as they lost again, 2-0 at Folkestone Invicta and are now down in eighth place in the league standings. Jamie Cureton started this one for Stortford but came off after 63 minutes.

Tom Hitchcock was on target for Harlow Town in their 2-2 home draw against Leatherhead, a result that still only leaves two teams below them at the foot of the table.
Dave Martin joined Margate, on loan, from Easbourne Borough, on Friday and was named as a substitute for their game against Lewes on Saturday. However, he didn’t get the chance to play, as the match was abandoned after 26 minutes because of a waterlogged pitch.

Moving on to the Southern League Premier Central Division and on Saturday morning Adam Cunnington signed for Marcus Law’s Kettering Town. The striker was returning to one of his former clubs, having first signed for them back in February 2011 when he went on to score six goals in 27 appearances before joining Dagenham & Redbridge.

His second debut for Kettering wasn’t a huge success, though, as his side went down 4-1 at Banbury United and remain in second place in the league.

In the same league, Tyler Lyttle was in the Rushall Olympic side beaten 3-0 at Kings Lynn Town.

In the Premier League South Division, Danny Greaves saw his Frome Town side register a home win against Staines Town, winning 2-0. Greaves included loan signing Tom Mehew on the bench and the son of Boris went on in the 62nd minute and collected a yellow card three minutes later!

Merthyr Town boss Gavin Williams saw his side go down 3-0 at Harrow Borough, while Rene Howe was on the scoresheet for Kings Langley in their 5-1 home win against Farnborough.

Jefferson Louis and his Chesham United side were without a game as their match at Poole Town was called off because of a waterlogged pitch, as was the game between Tiverton Town and Gosport Borough.

In Division One South, Phil Bater’s Larkhall Athletic were 3-1 home winners against Fleet Town. Geraint Bater was in the ‘Larks’ lineup, while Neil Arndale was on the bench.
Mangotsfield United, with Kieran Hodges in goal, suffered a 4-1 home defeat against league leaders Blackfield & Langley FC.

Paulton Rovers, with a 90th minute equaliser, drew 2-2 at home with Highworth Town. Jay Malpas and Trey Anderson were included in the home lineup while, as usual, assistant managers Paul Tovey and Gary Powell watched from the sidelines.

Yate Town, with Ollie Mehew and Sam Kamara named on the bench, returned to winning ways with a 4-1 win at Slimbridge.

No game for Nuno Felix and Melksham Town as their match at Thatcham Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

However, I have, as you can see, tracked down a photo of Nuno in a Rovers shirt.

youth team
Back Row (L-R) George Brimson, Joe White, Luke Tarling, Lewis Clare, Evan Day, Mitch Smith.
Middle Row (L-R) Bobby Massey, George Hemmings, Jake Rudman, Spencer Cutlan, Kyle Thomas, Rob Deakin, Jon Cox.
Front Row (L-R) Byron Brown, Nuno Felix, Craig Harding, Steve Bissix (Physiotherapist), Billy Clark (Coach), Will Gregory, Tom Clark, Jordan Cooper, Ben Swallow.

Of the players in that lineup, only Nuno, Joe White and Ben Swallow appear to still be involved in football. Joe is manager of Chipping Sodbury Town, while Ben is with Weston super Mare. If anyone knows of any of the other lads still playing, I’d be interested to hear from you!

In the Hellenic League Barry Hayles was again missing from the Windsor squad as they suffered a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Brimscombe & Thrupp.

Highgate United lost 1-0 at home to AFC Wulfrunians and Sam Oji was missing from the squad through suspension while Jordan Goddard failed a late fitness. It was the Total Motion Premier League side’s fifth consecutive league defeat.

In the Western League, Joe White’s Chipping Sodbury Town were beaten 4-1 by unbeaten league leaders Westbury United, while Ray Johnston’s Hallen and Andy Gurney’s Roman Glass St George met each other and played out a goalless draw.

In Scotland Peter Hartley was an unused substitute for Motherwell who won 2-1 at St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership, while in League One Darryl Duffy was a 52nd minute substitute for Airdrieonians who lost 1-0 at home against Arbroath.

No game for David McCracken or Peterhead, though, as their Second Division game against Cowdenbeath was another victim of the weather.

Over in Ireland, Crusaders beat Dungannon Swifts in the NIFL Premiership. Mark McChrystal spent the 90 minutes on the Crusaders bench, while Seanan Clucas played the whole game for Dungannon.

In the NIFL Championship, Larne’s long unbeaten run came to an end as, with Jeff Hughes in their side, they lost 2-0 at Ballinmallard Union.

In the Dutch Eredivisie Jake Clarke-Salter was back in the Vitesse Arnhem side for their 2-1 win against VVV. However, he was yellow carded and substituted!

Stephane Leoni, manager of French side Sarre-Union, saw his side stay at the top of the league, on goal difference from Thaon, following a 3-0 win against Nancy 2.

On Sunday Brighton and Hove Albion assistant manager Paul Trollope saw his side lose 2-1 at home to Chelsea, while up in Scotland Scott Sinclair and Celtic suffered their third league defeat of the season when losing 1-0 at Hibernian.

In Denmark, Mikkel Andersen again kept the bench warm for Midtylland as they were 3-1 winners at Horsens.

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Chapter 18 –  Week commencing 3rd December 2018

On Monday evening, West Bromwich Albion and Brentford drew their Championship match 1-1 at The Hawthorns and goalkeeper Luke Daniels was again an unused substitute for the visitors.

Guiseley’s FA Cup run was ended by a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Fleetwood Town so co manager Marcus Bignot and his side, who entered the competition at the second qualifying round, can now concentrate on the league. Cian Bolger was an 86th minute substitute for Fleetwood.

In the London Senior Cup Leyton Orient, with Matt Harrold leading the attack, were 2-1 away winners at Haringey Borough.

Boreham Wood were 5-1 winners against St Margaretsbury in the Hertfordshire Senior Cup, with Danny Woods starting and Ricky Shakes entering the fray as a 54th minute substitute.

On Tuesday, in the Premier League, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was on the losing side as Cardiff City were beaten 3-1 at West Ham United.

There were several ties in the Second Round of the Checkatrade Trophy and Nathan Blissett started in Sol Campbell’s first match in charge of Macclesfield Town, against Newcastle United U-21’s at St James’ Park. However, The Silkmen went out of the competition after losing a penalty shootout 5-3 following a 1-1 draw.

At the other St James’ Park, Exeter City were beaten 2-0 by Peterborough United, and both ex Gas representatives, Exeter’s Jordan Tillson and Peterborough’s Aaron Chapman, were unused substitutes. The home side had an M. Jay playing for them; surely the self appointed Rovers historian didn’t come out of retirement for this match!

Sam Slocombe and Bernard Mensah were in the Lincoln City side that lost 4-2 in a penalty shootout at Accrington Stanley following a 2-2 draw, meaning last year’s winners are out of the competition.

Keith Curle’s Northampton Town side also went through by winning 4-2 after a penalty shootout. They drew 1-1 with Cambridge United at The Abbey Stadium where Reggie Lambe started for the hosts and Andy Williams for The Cobblers.

Keith Curle 1
Current Northampton Town boss Keith Curle was born in Bristol and signed for Rovers in 1980 and scored his first senior goal just 25 seconds into his debut, against Chester City, on 29th August 1981.
After four goals in 32 league appearances for The Gas he joined Torquay United in November 1983 but was at Plainmoor for only four months before he returned to Bristol, signing for Bristol City.
One goal in 121 league games at Ashton Gate preceded a move to Reading in October 1987 and he signed for Wimbledon just 12 months later.
His transfer fee increased each time he moved and in August 1991 Manchester City secured his services for £2.5m. There were 174 league games at Maine Road and after five years it was on to Wolves for another 150 league appearances.
He appeared for Sheffield United, Barnsley and Mansfield Town before hanging up his boots. He actually went on to manage Mansfield and has been in charge at Chester, Torquay United, Notts County and Carlisle United before his move to Sixfields in October of this year.

There was yet another penalty shootout at Whaddon Road, where Cheltenham Town beat Newport County 7-6 after a 1-1 draw. Ryan Broom was missing from the Cheltenham squad, but David Pipe went on as a substitute for Newport.

Dominic Telford scored the only goal of the game as Bury beat Mansfield Town 1-0 at Field Mill. In goal for the hosts was Conrad Logan, while Ryan Sweeney was also in the Mansfield side.

In front of a crowd of 7,940, Cristian Montano scored twice in Port Vale’s 4-0 demolition of Stoke City’s U-21 side at Vale Park, though it appears to have been quite a feisty affair, at least as far as the Stoke supporters were concerned and one newspaper headline told the story thus; ‘Derby descends into chaos as rampaging fans rip out seats and smash toilets.’

Lee Brown was missing from the Portsmouth side that beat Arsenal U-21’s 2-1 at Fratton Park while up at Sunderland Notts County’s Daniel Jones was on the scoresheet.

Unfortunately, the former Rovers loanee put through his own goal as the home side won 2-0. Elliott Ward was an unused County substitute.

In the National League, Solihull Moors moved up to fifth place following their 2-0 home win against third placed Harrogate Town. Coach/Assistant Manager James Quinn will have been pleased with that one, coming so quickly after their FA Cup draw against Blackpool last week.

In the National League South, Chris Dickson was in the Hampton & Richmond side beaten 4-0 at Concord Rangers. Alex Wall was in the Rangers lineup but failed to get on the scoresheet on this occasion.

In the Evostik Premier League South, Rene Howe was in the Kings Langley side beaten 4-2 at Beaconsfield Town, a result that brought their four match winning run to an end.
Tyler Lyttle was in the Rushall Olympic side that went through to the next round of the Staffordshire Senior Cup by virtue of a 5-4 penalty shootout win, after a 2-2 draw, at Chasetown FC.

Ben Swallow and Jamie Lucas were in the Weston super Mare side that won 4-0 at Hengrove in the Somerset Premier Cup.

There was more Checkatrade action on Wednesday and Rovers were 2-1 winners at The Liberty Stadium where they beat Swansea U-21’s 2-1 courtesy of goals from Tony Craig and Alex Jakubiak.

Charlie Colkett got ninety minutes under his belt as he was in the Shrewsbury side that won 2-1 against Walsall.

In the Scottish Premiership Peter Hartley started for Motherwell in their match against Celtic but had to come off after only six minutes. Scott Sinclair was a substitute for Celtic at the start of the second half, but they could only manage a 1-1 draw, which prevented them from returning to the top of the table.

Michael Smith was in the Hearts side that drew 2-2 at St Johnstone and while they remain in fourth place, the fact remains that they have now gone seven games without winning.

Barry Town United were in Welsh Cup action on Friday evening and were 4-1 winners against Penybont after extra time. The match ended 1-1 after 90 minutes. Kayne McLaggon was in the Barry lineup.

Staying in Wales, Stephen Byrne has pointed out that former Gas player Kaid Mohamed has joined Haverdfordwest County who play in the Welsh League Division One and at the moment are third in the table, five points behind leaders Afan Lido.

Stephen also tells me that he’s not the first Rovers player to turn out for them as Gary Emmanuel, Richard Evans, Idris Lewis, Paul Lewis and Tom Ramasut have also turned out for the club known as the Bluebirds.

In the Danish Superliga Mikkel Andersen was again on the bench for FC Midtjylland who recorded a 3-0 home win against OB.

On Saturday the clash of the Rovers at the Memorial Stadium saw visitors Doncaster register a 4-0 win against Darrell Clarke’s side, leaving us rooted in the bottom four.

In the Premier League, Brighton & Hove Albion and assistant manager Paul Trollope were beaten 1-0 at Burnley, but goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was on the winning side, and kept a clean sheet, as Cardiff City were 1-0 winners against Southampton.

In the Championship Matty Taylor remains on the injured list at Ashton Gate, but Bristol City inflicted a first home defeat of the season on Birmingham City, winning 1-0 at St Andrews.

Brentford suffered a fourth defeat in five as they lost 3-2 against Swansea City at Griffin Park. Once again Luke Daniels warmed the Brentford bench, while Oli McBurnie started for the Swans and Connor Roberts was introduced as a 14th minute substitute.

Joe Lumley ended up on the losing side as Queens Park Rangers were beaten 2-1 by Leeds United at Elland Road, while Tonly Pulis and his Middlesbrough side had to be content with a point from a 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers.

Adam Barratt and Millwall also had to settle for a point as they drew 2-2 against Hull City at The Den, while bottom club Ipswich Town lost again this time 2-0 at Stoke City. Ellis Harrison did get a taste of the action, though, going on as an 80th minute substitute for a side that is currently eight points from safety.

Goalkeeper Sam Walker was missing from the Reading squad that slipped to a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Sheffield United, a result that sees them drop into the bottom three.

Moving into League One and Blackpool, with Marc Bola in their side, moved to within a point of the play off places following their 2-1 home win against Charlton Athletic.

Ollie Norburn was in the Shrewsbury Town side beaten 2-1 at Burton Albion, while Charlie Colkett was also in the squad but spent the entire game on the bench.

Cian Bolger was also an unused substitute, warming the Fleetwood Town bench as they lost 2-1 at Luton Town.

Peterborough United goalkeeper Aaron Chapman was beaten by an 88th minute Oxford United penalty at London Road, which meant two points dropped for his side as they had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

Goalkeeper Matt Macey was beaten three times at Home Park where Plymouth Argyle and Bradford City played put a 3-3 draw, but there’s no stopping Lee Brown and Portsmouth. The league leaders won 2-0 against Southend United at Fratton Park and are now six points clear of second placed Luton Town.

Up at Glanford Park Scunthorpe United slipped to a third consecutive defeat, going down 2-0 to Gillingham. Matt Lund started for the home side and, inevitably, Tom Eaves was on the scoresheet for the visitors; his 14th goal of the campaign.

There were win bonuses for Joe Jacobson and Paris Cowan-Hall as Wycombe Wanderers were 1-0 home winners against Barnsley. Jacobson completed the 90 minutes, while Cowan-Hall warmed the bench.

The League Two Nottinghamshire derby ended with Mansfield Town 2-0 winners against Notts County. The Stags, with Ryan Sweeny in their side and Conrad Logan on the bench, are now unbeaten in 13 games and are up to fifth place in the league standings. County, with Elliott Ward and Daniel Jones both playing in this one, are in 23rd position, three points from safety.

Byron Moore was on the scoresheet for Bury, and Dominic Telford was introduced as a 69th minute substitute as they moved into fourth place following their 2-0 win against Exeter City at Gigg Lane. Jordan Tillson started for Exeter.

Ryan Broom scored a 29th minute opener for Cheltenham Town, 2-1 winners against Grimsby Town at Whaddon Road, and Harry Pell was also on the winning side as Colchester United were 1-0 home winners against Macclesfield Town for whom Nathan Blissett was an 86th minute substitute.

Keith Curle’s Northampton Town were also 1-0 winners, at Crawley Town, though there was no John-Joe O’Toole in the Cobblers lineup and Andy Williams was an unused substitute.

MK Dons, with Lee Nicholls in goal, stayed at the top of the table with a 2-0 home win against Carlisle United. Tom Parkes was back in the Carlisle squad and went on as an early substitute (10th minute).

Port Vale were trailing 2-0 to Morecambe at the Globe Arena with just six minutes to go but salvaged a point with two late goals. Cristian Montano wasn’t on the scoresheet on this occasion, though he did pick up a yellow card!

Cristian Montano - credit JMP-Neil Brookman
Born in Cali, Colombia, in January 1991, Cristian Montano signed for West Ham United as an U-12 player and signed his first pro contract with the Hammers in 2010, though he never made a first team appearance for the club.
He gained experience of playing in the Football League during loan spells with Notts County (twice), Swindon Town, Dagenham & Redbridge and Oxford United before signing a permanent contract with Oldham Athletic in the summer of 2012.
He went on to score three goals in 40 league appearances for the Latics before leaving Boundary Park in December 2013.He then returned to Columbia, playing for America de Cali from where he joined Rovers in July 2015.
Cristian made his Rovers debut on the opening day of the 2015/16 season, against Northampton Town and scored his first goal for the club in the 2-0 win against Notts County, at Meadow Lane, on 5th March 2016.
Signed for Port Vale, on a free transfer, in June 2017 and has, to date, scored six goals in 40 league appearances.   [Photo by JMP-Neil Brookman]
John Akinde’s penalty was enough to give Lincoln City a 1-0 win at Stevenage and, once again, Sam Slocombe and Bernard Mensah were unused substitutes.

David Pipe came off in the 26th minute of Newport County’s 2-1 defeat at Swindon Town, Reggie Lambe was an 82nd minute substitute for Cambridge United, who lost 1-0 at Tranmere Rovers and Alefe Santos was in the Yeovil Town side beaten 2-1 by Forest Green Rovers at Huish Park (their two goals coming in stoppage time at the end of the game and timed at 92 and 94 minutes!)

National League leaders Leyton Orient were beaten 1-0 at Boreham Wood, where Ricky Shakes started for the home side. There was no Matt Harrold in the Orient squad, though.

Second placed Salford City and Rory Gaffney were also beaten on their travels, losing 2-0 against Chesterfield at The Proact Stadium in front of a crowd of 5,085. Gaffney only played the first half for Salford, beaten for the first time in 21 league games.

Angelo Balanta and his Dagenham & Redbridge side avoided defeat again, though they had to be a content with a point from a 1-1 draw against Jamie Fullarton’s FC Halifax Town.

Andy Bond was missing from the AFC Fylde side beaten 2-1 at Dover Athletic and John Still’s Barnet were also beaten, 1-0 at Ebbsfleet United where the winning goal came in the 84th minute.

Aldershot Town manager Gary Waddock could only name three substitutes for their game at Harrogate Town, where they lost 4-1 to the third placed side.

Lyle Della-Verde played, and picked up a yellow card, for Braintree Town in their 2-1 defeat at Havant & Waterlooville which means they stay bottom of the table, nine points from safety.

Alfie Kilgour was in the Maidenhead United side beaten 1-0 at home by Hartlepool United. Luke James was in the Hartlepool side, but didn’t get on the scoresheet!

Wayne Brown scored for Sutton United in their 2-2 home draw against Solihull Moors, but Charlie Clough was missing from the side. The result keeps Solihull and assistant manager/coach James Quinn in fifth place.

Eastleigh, with Chris Zebroski an unused substitute, went down 2-0 to fourth placed Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground.

Our sojourn around the leagues below Division Five begins this week in the National Leagues North and South, starting in the North where Darlington suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Nuneaton Borough and while Johnny Burn was in the ‘Darlo’ lineup, there was no sign of Alex Henshall.

Adam Dawson was in the Chester side that picked up a point from a 1-1 draw against Stockport County at Edgeley Park, a match that drew a crowd of 3,714.

In case you think I’ve missed Hereford out of the equation, you’d be wrong! Their away game against Marcos Bignot’s Guiseley was called off;‘after the pitch failed an early morning inspection. Heavy rain in the area over the past 48 hours has left the pitch unplayable.’

In the Southern Section a Twerton Park crowd of only 546 saw Bath City held to a 1-1 draw by Concord Rangers who included Alex Wall in their lineup. Ryan Clarke was in goal for ‘The Romans’, Sean Rigg started as well but was replaced by Ryan Brunt on 72 minutes. In addition, Mo Baghdadi was an 87th minute substitute while Deon Moore remained on the bench for the entire afternoon.

Slough Town, with Scott Davies in their lineup and Louie Soares used as a 77th minute substitute, also drew 1-1, at Dartford.

Harry Warwick, who joined Gloucester City on an open ended work experience placement in October, was missing from their lineup for their goalless home draw against Hampton & Richmond who had Chris Dickson in their lineup.

Hungerford Town scored a 90th minute goal that enabled them to beat Chippenham Town 2-1. Rhys Kavanagh had equalised for them in the 66th minute and was awarded an eight out of ten for his performance in the Non League Paper. Cameron Hargreaves, who also started, was given a seven, but Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis had to be content with warming the bench. George Rigg was in the Chippenham side, while Will Puddy was again on the bench.

Michael Meaker, assistant manager at Truro City, saw his side slip to a 4-0 defeat at Oxford City. Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist made a 64th minute substitute appearance for the defeated Cornish side.

Bradley Goldberg scored for Welling United, but it wasn’t enough to save them from defeat as they lost 3-1 against Torquay United at Plainmoor in front of a crowd of 2,467.

Weston super Mare sank to the foot of the table again, as they were beaten 4-2 by Woking at the Woodspring Stadium. Jamie Lucas was an 80th minute substitute but Ben Swallow stayed on the bench.

I’ve left Billericay Town until last and although they won 2-0 at Eastbourne Borough and are in third place in the league, it would seem all is not well as the lead story in the Non League Paper suggested in an article that appeared under the heading ‘RICAY IN RUINS.’ The article began thus; ‘Billericay Town are set to be taken over this week with Glenn Tamplin’s dream of taking them into the Football League all but in tatters.

‘The club which had been running with a reported £22,000 a week wage bill is set to be taken over by Irish businessman David McCartney…A number of high profile players have headed for the exit door with Adam Cunnington leaving on Friday…’
Should be interesting to see where Cunnington pitches up next.

In the Northern Premier League, Clayton McDonald was missing from Nantwich Town’s 0-0 draw against South Shields, while Craig Stanley was on the losing side as he and his Lancaster City team mates suffered a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Gainsborough Trinity. The attendance was 184 and the result leaves Lancaster in 16th place.

Cleethorpes Town, in the East Division, were 4-2 winners at Morpeth Town and in front of a crowd of 510. Craig Disley was an unused substitute but at least his side are up to comparative safety, in 14th place.

Ossett United were 3-0 winners against Stocksbridge PS and Andy Monkhouse was again in their lineup, described on the club’s Twitter account in the following way underneath an action photo of him during the game; ‘The General. Andy Monkhouse taking charge of midfield yet again.’

Prescot Cables, of the West Division, won 4-2 against Droylsden and although he played, Josh Klein-Davies didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet.

Moving on to the Bostik Premier Division and, in particular, Bishop’s Stortford who, in spite of taking a third minute lead, suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Lewes.

Although not scoring, Jamie Cureton did make an assist for his side’s goal; ‘…almost immediately, in the third minute, the Blues were ahead when Jamie Cureton flicked on for Ryan Charles to run through and beat Lewis Carey.’

Lewes moved into second place following this win, with Stortford dropping down to sixth but still only two points behind the side that beat them.

In the same division, Tom Hitchcock was ontarget for Harlow Town, but unfortunately, they conceded more – losing 4-1 at Enfield Town, a result that leaves them with only Whitehawk below them in the league standings.

In the Southern League Premier Central Division Marcus Law’s Kettering Town returned to the top of the table following their 3-0 home win over Lowestoft Town.

Tyler Lyttle, meanwhile, was in the Rushall Olympic side that suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Hitchin Town.

In the Premier South Section, Jefferson Louis was again on target for Chesham United who recorded a fourth win in five games, beating Swindon Supermarine 3-1 on this occasion.

All seems to be going well for Josh Bailey, currently on loan at Dorchester Town, as he was on the scoresheet in their 4-1 win at Gosport Borough.

Gavin Williams and his Merthyr Town side had to settle for a point as they drew 1-1 at home to Kings Langley, who had Rene Howe in their lineup.

Tiverton Town were beaten again, though, this time 3-2 at Metropolitan Police. Liam Armstrong was again in goal for ‘Tivvy’ while Cameron Allen was a 90th minute substitute.

Darren Mullings was in the Salisbury side that registered a 4-1 home win against Wimborne Town, though it was a close run thing. Salisbury were 4-0 ahead with 67 minutes on the clock but allowed the visitors back into the game before clinching all three points.

League leaders Taunton Town thrashed Harrow Borough 7-0 but there was no sign of Pierce Mitchell in their squad on this occasion. Harrow, by the way, had three players sent off before half time!

Weymouth stayed in second place with a 4-0 home win against Danny Greaves’ Frome Town. Josh Wakefield was in the Weymouth side who are still five points adrift of leaders Taunton Town.

There was a local affair down at The Creek in Division One South, where Bristol Manor Farm suffered a home defeat at the hands of Mangotsfield United. Kieran Hodges was in goal for ‘The Mangos’

Trey Anderson and Jay Malpas were on the winning side as Paulton Rovers recorded a 5-3 away win at Cirencester Town. Good news, also, for Paulton’s two assistant managers, Paul Tovey and Gary Powell.

Melksham Town, with Nuno Felix in their side, were 3-0 home winners against Barnstaple Town and they remain in fifth place in the league.

Yate Town stay in second place following their goalless home draw against Phil Bater’s Larkhall side. Sam Kamara started for the home side, while Ollie Mehew was on the bench. Geraint Bater and Lewis Powell started for ‘The Larks’ while Neil Arndale was named as one of three substitutes.

There was no match action for Barry Hayles and his Windsor side, as their Hellenic League game against Longlevens FC was postponed.

Highgate United were reduced to nine men (two straight red cards) with 35 minutes to go in their home fixture against Long Eaton United in their Total Motion MFL Premier League clash and were beaten 3-0. One of those cards was brandished at Sam Oji; ‘for an altercation with Reuben-Thomas.’

In the Scottish Premiership, Scott Sinclair was in the Celtic side that returned to the top of the table following their 5-1 demolition of previous leaders Kilmarnock.

Michael Smith was in the Heart of Midlothian side that registered a 2-1 home win against Motherwell, who were without Peter Hartley.

In Scottish League One, Darryl Duffy started for Airdrieonians in their 1-1 draw at Dumbarton but came off after 69 minutes. Meanwhile there was no sign of David McCracken in Peterhead’s 5-0 away win at Berwick Rangers in Scottish League Two.

In Wales, Kaid Mohamed made his Havordfordwest County debut in the Third Round of the Welsh Cup and his new side registered a comfortable 3-0 win against Pontypridd Town AFC.

Mixed fortunes for two ex Gasmen in the Irish Premiership though. Seanan Clucas was yellow carded in Dungannon Swifts 1-1 home draw against Newry City, while Mark McChrystal was in the Crusaders side beaten 4-1 at Linfield.

In the NIFL Championship, Jeff Hughes scored Larne’s first goal in their 5-0 win over Dundela. Unbeaten this season, having won 15 and drawn three, Larne have a 17 point lead at the top of the table.

In the eighth round (!) of the French Cup Chateauroux, minus Oumare Tounkara, were 4-0 winners against Pau.

In the FA Vase, Ray Johnston’s Hallen were beaten 2-1 at Shepton Mallet, but Joe White’s Chipping Sodbury were 2-1 winners at Hengrove Athletic and Joe even managed to get on the scoresheet!

No joy for Andy Gurney’s Roman Glass St George, though, as they lost 2-0 at Bradford Town.