In Search of Gas

With your wonderful armchair traveller, Keith Brookman.

As the title suggests, this 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 either out 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 is given below, with the rest of the season archived in two month chunks (see the sub-pages under the ‘In Search of Gas’ heading).

Any omissions from a list of players with Rovers connections is not deliberate; it’s just that there are so many it’s difficult to keep track of them all!



Chapter 14 –  Week commencing 5th November 2018

Monday begins with good news regarding Tom Lockyer, who has been selected for the Welsh International squad for their forthcoming games against Denmark and Albania.

Chippenham Town were in action on Monday evening in National League South, losing 1-0 at Chelmsford City, though none of the players with Rovers connections were involved.

Aside from the Champions League matches taking place on Tuesday, there were two games in League One – far more important!

At The Priestfield Stadium Gillingham suffered a 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Blackpool. Marc Bola was on the winning side, while Tom Eaves went home pointless and goalless! The other game at this level saw Charlton Athletic win 2-0 at Walsall.

In League Two, Mansfield beat Grimsby 2-1 at Field Mill with Ryan Sweeney in their lineup and Conrad Logan on the bench.

Elliot Ward was in the Notts County side that played out a goalless draw against Oldham Athletic at Meadow Lane.

It was Checkatrade Trophy night again and West Ham United’s U-21 side made it a hat trick of defeats as they went down 4-0 at Yeovil in Southern Group D. With Rovers and Exeter City, who meet next week, already through, there was only pride to play for in this one. Alefe Santos made a rare start for The Glovers in this game.

In Group F Wycombe Wanderers were beaten 3-0 by Oxford United at Adams Park where Joe Jacobson and Paris Cowan-Hall were both unused substitutes for The Chairboys.

In the same group, Northampton Town beat Fulham U-21’s 2-0 at Sixfields and Andy Williams was in the starting lineup for Keith Curle’s side.

In Northern Group H, holders Lincoln City took on Wolverhampton Wanderers U-21 side and were beaten 5-4 in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw. Sam Slocombe and Bernard Mensah started this one for The Imps, while John Akinde went on as a second half substitute.

In National League North, Marcos Bignot’s Guiseley side were beaten 1-0 at Ashton United as they warmed up for their FA Cup first round tie against Cambridge United.

In National League South, Weston super Mare gained a point on their travels, from a 3-3 draw against Dulwich Hamlet. Ben Swallow and Nabi Diallo started this one, while Jamie Lucas went on in the second half and scored twice, in the 81st and 84th minutes – the equaliser coming from the penalty spot.

Wednesday saw three more games played in the Checkatrade Trophy, the only one with any Rovers connections involving Middlesbrough, whose U-21 side beat Burton Albion 1-0 though I doubt that Boro boss Tony Pulis was at this game at The Pirelli Stadium!

There was also news that Rovers defender Alfie Kilgour was going out on loan, to National League side Maidenhead United.

Scott Sinclair was in action again on Thursday evening, when he was in the Celtic side that beat RB Leipzig 2-1 at Celtic Park to keep alive their hopes of qualification to the knockout stages of the Europa League.

One game in each of the Championship, FA Cup and Scottish Premiership on Friday but no Gas representation in any of them to the best of my knowledge!

Over in France, though, Oumare Tounkara scored for Chateauroux in their 2-1 home defeat by Metz.

Cardiff’s Neil Etheridge and Brighton’s Paul Trollope (a former Cardiff manager) were on opposing sides on Saturday, and on TV as Cardiff City took on Brighton & Hove Albion in the early SKY match. Etheridge was the one celebrating victory in this one, as his side scored a last gasp goal to clinch victory by two goals to one.

In the Championship, Swansea were 1-0 winners at Bolton Wanderers, with Connor Roberts and Oli McBurnie both completing 90 minutes.

At Ashton Gate, Matty Taylor entered the fray as a 64th minute substitute, but he couldn’t help Bristol City prevent Preston, who won 1-0, registering their first away win of the season.

Middlesbrough were 2-0 home winners against Wigan Athletic, a result that saw Tony Pulis’s side end the day in second place, two points behind Norwich City who beat Millwall 4-3 at Carrow Road. No joy there for Lions’ coach Adam Barrett!

At Loftus Road there were two former Gas goalies on view. Joe Lumley was in the QPR side that beat local rivals Brentford 3-2 to record their fourth win in five matches, while Luke Daniels was again an unused substitute for The Bees.

Another keeper, Reading’s Sam Walker, was an unused substitute in their bottom of the table clash against Ipswich Town, which ended 2-2 at the Madejski Stadium.

No Rovers game today, as they take on Barnet in tomorrow’s First Round FA Cup tie at The Hive, but there was a great deal of Rovers interest in the competition.

Alfie Kilgour made his debut for Maidenhead United, against Portsmouth and Lee Brown in front of the BT cameras and a certain Chris Hargreaves, manager of Rovers’ Development Squad. Chris was a member of the BT crew covering the game. Portsmouth ran out 4-0 winners so there was no FA Cup glory for Alfie who was almost certainly watched by his proud father as well as celebrity Maidenhead fan Timmy Mallet!

That game was an early kick off and there were another 29 ties later on Saturday afternoon and I’ll work through them alphabetically, starting at Accrington where the home side beat League Two side Colchester United who included Harry Pell in their starting lineup.

Aldershot Town held Bradford City to a 1-1 draw at home, so manager Gary Waddock and striker Scott Rendell and his team mates face the long trip up to Valley Parade for the replay.

No cup progress for Elliot Ward, though, as he and his Notts County side lost 4-2 at Barnsley. Daniel Jones was back in the County squad for this one and went on as a 72nd minute substitute.

Aaron Chapman was in goal for Peterborough in their 3-1 win at Peterborough, while Byron Moore and Dominic Telford both scored in Bury’s 5-0 home win against Dover. In fact, Moore scored twice; had to read that several times to make sure I had it right – never known him score twice in a match before!

Billericay Town drew 1-1 at Chesterfield, but Adam Cunnington was missing from their squad for this one.

Ryan Broom was in the Cheltenham side that drew 0-0 at Ebbsfleet United, while down at Exeter Jordan Tillson started for the home side against Blackpool, and was booked, but there was no sign of Marc Bola in the visitors’ squad.

Tom Eaves and Luke James were on opposing sides at The Preistfield Stadium and will be again in ten days’ time as Gillingham and Hartlepool United played out a goalless draw.

Lee Nicholls and his MK Dons side are out of the competition, losing 3-1 at Grimsby, but three former Rovers players made it through to the next round against three more ex Gas up at Sincil Bank where Lincoln City beat Northampton Town 3-2. John Akinde started for the home side, while Bernard Mensah and Sam Slocombe were unused substitutes, while Keith Curle selected both John-Joe O’Toole and Andy Williams for The Cobblers.

Joe Jacobson, Paris Cowan-Hall and Wycombe Wanderers are left to concentrate on the league following their 2-0 defeat at Luton and the same can be said about Nathan Blissett and his Macclesfield Town colleagues, beaten 2-1 by Maidstone United. Blissett was a 73rd minute substitute for The Silkmen.

David Pipe started for Newport County in their potentially tricky tie against Metropolitan Police, but the Welsh side ran out 2-0 winners, while FC Halifax Manager Jamie Fullarton and his side will be in the hat for the second round after their goalless draw at Morecambe.

Goalkeeper Matt Macey and Plymouth Argyle went through to the second round by virtue of their 1-0 win against Stevenage at Home Park and Matt Lund, who will be at The Mem with Scunthorpe United next week, will also be in round two as The Iron were 2-1 home winners against Burton Albion.

No cup joy for Danny Woodards and Ricky Shakes, though, as their Boreham Wood side were beaten 2-0 at Southport, but Charlie Clough and his Sutton United side live to fight another day after their goalless home draw against Slough. One other former Rovers player who has gone under my radar until now is Wayne Brown. He went on as a 64th minute substitute for Sutton; he’s now played 13 games for them this season, so it’s taken me a while to catch up with him! Louie Soares was an unused Slough substitute.

Alefe Santos was an unused substitute in Yeovil Town’s 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Stockport County.

There were matches in National Leagues North and South, though many clubs were involved in the second round of the FA Trophy.

In National North, Adam Dawson was an 86th minute substitute for AFC Telford in their 1-0 home win against Boston United.

Hereford United slipped to a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of FC United of Manchester. Ryan Green and Danny Greenslade were both in the starting lineup for the home side who drew a crowd of 2,473 to Edgar Street, easily the best attendance in the league on the day.

In the Southern section, Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis was in the Hungerford Town side beaten 3-1 at Eastbourne while Harry Warwick started for Gloucester City in their 2-1 defeat at Hemel Hempstead.

Still no Will Puddy or Andy Sandell in the Chippenham Town lineup (they won 3-2 at St Albans) and bath City also scored three in their game at Wealdstone…trouble is, so did the home side! Ryan Clarke and Sean Rigg started this one, while Ryan Brunt was introduced as an 84th minute substitute.

In the Northern Premier League East Division, Craig Disley was on the bench for bottom of the table Cleethorpes Town, who drew 3-3 at home to Loughborough.

In the Southern League Premier Central League, Tyler Lyttle was in the Rushall Olympic side beaten 2-1 at home by Alvechurch.

In Division One South, Lewis Ellington was in the Mangotsfield United side that earned a point from a goalless draw at Bideford. Former Rovers youngster Kieran Hodges was between the posts for the home side, having joined them on loan from Bath City. Rene Howe was in the Kings Langley side beaten 1-0 at Farnborough

Phil Bater’s Larkhall Athletic suffered a 2-0 home defeat by Blackfield & Langley, while Paulton Rovers were beaten 1-0 at Slimbridge. Not able to find a lineup for Paulton but at least two former players with Rovers connections were with them until recently, one of whom was Jay Malpas. Will have to catch up on Paulton news later in the week!

Big surprise in this league was the home defeat suffered by Yate Town, who lost their first league game of the season, losing 2-1 to Barnstaple Town at Lodge Road. However, they stay top of the league for the time being. Sam Kamara and Olly Mehew were in the Yate side, for a match watched by 230 and with an entertainment rating of three out of five on the Yate website.

FA Trophy team news takes a while to assimilate, but here goes; Josh Klein Davies put Prescot Cables ahead in their tie at Halesowen Town and scored again after the home side had got back on level terms. His side led until the 90th minute when they conceded a penalty. That was converted to make it 2-2 but worse was to follow as Halesowen scored a winning goal to make it 3-2 in their favour deep into stoppage time.

Lancaster City were 1-0 home winners against Ossett United and Craig Stanley started for the home side and, according to the Non League Paper’s report; ‘Stanley hit the post with a header which fell to Rob Wilson who failed to get a clean strike and his shot was cleared off the line.’

Gavin Williams and his Merthyr Town side are out of the competition, beaten 2-0 at Lewes and the same goes for Tiverton Town, who lost 3-2 at home to Wingate & Finchley so nu cup run for goalkeeper Liam Armstrong.

Jefferson Louis and Chesham United are also out of the competition, losing 1-0 at Worthing, who played with ten men from the 42nd minute.

Darren Mullings, whose last goal for Salisbury FC was against Tiverton Town on 23rd October, wasn’t in the squad that progressed with a 2-0 home win against Merstham FC.

Marcus Law and his Kettering side also exited the competition, losing 1-0 at Stamford. Another player who won’t be making any further Trophy progress is Tom Hitchcock, who scored in Harlow Town’s 5-2 defeat against Southend U-20’s in midweek but was on the losing side again as he and his side lost 3-1 against Carshalton Athletic.

While checking out the lower leagues, in particular to see if Sam Oji had played in Highgate United’s 2-1 home defeat against Shepshed Dynamo (he did and scored), I discovered that Jordan Goddard is now turning out for them as well. In fact, he was making his debut for them after signing from Halesowen Town. Highgate play in the Total Motion Midland Football League Premier Division. Seven years ago this month Rovers were investigating claims that Jordan urinated in front of Corby Town fans at The Mem in a first round FA Cup tie and made his debut in the 3-1 win.

Trying to track down striker James Walker is proving to be a bit of a nightmare; he’s listed as having played for Maldon & Tiptree this season before a move to Tilbury, though there was no sign of him in the lineup for their game against Grays Athletic on Saturday.

In the Hellenic League Premier Division, Barry Hayles was an unused substitute for Windsor FC as they were 1-0 winners at Abingdon Town, a victory that means they haven’t conceded a goal for 560 minutes.

Further down the pyramid, Ray Johnstone’s Hallen beat Brislington 2-1, and Joe White’s Chipping Sodbury were 1-0 winners against Andy Gurney’s Roman Glass St George.

In Scotland, Michael Smith was in the Heart of Midlothian side beaten 1-0 at home by Kilmarnock, Darryl Duffy was in the Airdrionians side that won 2-1 at Stranraer and David McCracken was an unused substitute in Peterhead’s 2-0 defeat at Queens Park.

In the Welsh Premier League, Kayne McLaggan and his second placed Barry Town United side drew 2-2 with league leaders Connahs Quay Nomads.

In Ireland, Mark McChrystal was in the Crusaders side that won 1-0 at Ards and Seanan Clucas was also on the winning side as Dungannon Swifts beat Institute 2-1.

Larne were 3-0 away winners against Portadown, but not being able to track down the lineup, I am unable to confirm if Jeff Hughes was in any way involved for the winners!

In Holland, Jake Clarke Salter was in the Vitesse Arnhem side that beat Utrecht 2-1 while in France Stephane Leoni saw his side, Sarre-Union beat Saint-Louis Neuweg 2-1.

Thanks to all who reminded me that Trevor Morgan is in charge of the Bhutan national Football team. He’s a player who knows Bristol very well given his two spells at Ashton Gate and from his 55 league games for The Gas.

Sunday saw four games played in the Premier League but if there was any Rovers involvement than I missed it! In any case, it was another big day in the FA Cup with nine more first round ties being played.

That included Rovers’ game at Barnet, which ended in a 1-1 draw. However, Rovers were down to ten men after only seven minutes following Stuart Sinclair’s dismissal. Barnet scored after 16 minutes but Rovers deservedly forced a replay thanks to Chris Lines who converted from the penalty spot on 66 minutes.

Cian Bolger and Fleetwood Town safely made it through to round two by virtue of a 4-1 win at Alfreton Town.

Marcus Bignot was a proud manager, though, as he saw his Guiseley side register a 4-3 home win against Cambridge United for whom Reggie Lambe started (he was substituted after 62 minutes).

Ryan Sweeney started, and Conrad Logan warmed the bench for Mansfield Town, who held Charlton Athletic to a 1-1 draw at Field Mill while Ollie Norburn and Rory Gaffney faced each other at Montgomery Waters meadow. Norburn gave Shrewsbury the lead but Salford City, with Rory Gaffney starting, equalised two minutes later. There were no further goals, so the sides will meet again next week to decide who goes through to round two.

Weston super Mare were beaten 2-0 by Wrexham in a home tie. Nabi Diallo started and was booked, Ben Swallow started and was substituted after 69 minutes, Jamie Lucas didn’t start but went on as a 12th minute substitute. A crowd of 1,170 watched the match in which the home side apparently put in a hardworking performance.

In the other tie to be played today Cristian Montano returned to the Port Vale squad and went on as a 71st minute substitute in their 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Sunderland.

In Scotland Celtic, with Scott Sinclair in their lineup, replaced Heart of Midlothian at the top of the Scottish Premiership on goal difference, by virtue of their goalless draw at Livingston. Spare a thought for Peter Hartley though, as he and his Motherwell colleagues were on the wrong end of a 7-1 beating by Rangers at Ibrox. Mind you, they had to play all but 34 minutes of the game with ten men following the dismissal of Carl McHugh. Hartley picked up a yellow card.

In the National League South there was a win for Truro City and it was a good day for Lewis Leigh Gilchrist who scored the winner in a 3-2 victory against Dulwich Hamlet.

In Denmark, Mikkel Andersen was an unused substitute for FC Midtjyland in their 5-0 win against Vejle BK in the Danish Superliga.

Marcus Bignot, who tasted FA Cup glory on Sunday when his National League North side Guiseley side beat League Two Cambridge United 4-3 to go through to the second round of the FA Cup.
As a player he started out with Telford United before moves to Kidderminster Harriers and Crewe Alexandra. Manager Ian Holloway brought him from Gresty Road to The Mem in August 2000 and he scored once (mind you, it was against Bristol City!) in 26 league games for Rovers before moving on in March 2001, to QPR whose manager by then was…Ian Holloway! August 2002 saw him sign for Rushden & Diamonds, but he returned to QPR for a second spell in March 2004. Then it was on to Millwall and he ended his playing career back with Kidderminster Harriers though there was a five match spell with Brackley Town early in the 2010/11 campaign.
He began his managerial career when still a player, taking charge of Birmingham City Ladies side in 1998 when he was only 24. He remained with them until 2005.
Once he had hung up his boots, he became assistant manager of Solihull Moors before being appointed as manager for the 2011/12 season. He remained with them until November 2016 when he became manager of Grimsby Town, though it turned out to be an unsuccessful, and short, rein at Blundell Park as he was dismissed in April 2017.
He was assistant manager of Barrow for 15 days in September 2017 and then became manager of Chester until April 2018. In May this year he became co manager of Guiseley along with former Alfreton Town manager Russ O’Neill.
[Photo courtesy of Neil Brookman / JMP]