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 32 – Week commencing 11th March 2019
On Monday night Rushall Olympic were in Southern League Premier Division Central action and, with Tyler Lyttle in the side, won their third consecutive game 2-0 against AFC Rushden & Diamonds.
Tuesday night saw Rovers on the road again and they secured a second 1-0-win, courtesy of Jonson Clarke-Harris, at Gillingham thus securing their first win at the Priestfield Stadium since 1999.
In the Championship, Matty Taylor was an 83rd minute substitute for Bristol City in their 1-1 draw against bottom club Ipswich Town at Ashton Gate. His former Rovers team mate, Ellis Harrison, was an unused Ipswich substitute.
Luke Daniels was in goal for Brentford who were beaten 2-0 at Sheffield United who played for 55 minutes with ten men following Gary Madine’s first half red card. Another Gas goalkeeper, Sam Walker, spent the evening on the bench watching his Reading side lose 3-0 against Leeds United.
Yet another Gas goalie spent the night as an unused substitute in League One. This time it was Aaron Chapman, who saw his side go down 1-0 at AFC Wimbledon.
The injured Marc Bola was still missing from the Blackpool lineup as they drew 1-1 against Doncaster Rovers at Bloomfield Road.
Four former Gas players started the match at Home Park, where Plymouth Argyle were 2-1 winners against Shrewsbury Town. Matt Macey and Gary Sawyer completed 90 minutes for Argyle while Ollie Norburn did the same for Shrewsbury and scored their goal on the hour mark; ‘Former Argyle midfielder Ollie Norburn scored following a penalty he won after being fouled by Graham Carey. Although goalkeeper Matt Macey saved Norburn’s spot kick, the Shrews skipper followed up to level.’ Stefan Payne also started for the Shrews but was substituted in the 53rd minute.
Matt Lund was still missing from the Scunthorpe United side, but they somehow beat Southend United 4-1 at Glanford Park. Quite a good turnaround for them as, in their previous game they struggled to find a shot, let alone a goal, against Rovers.
Lee Brown and his Portsmouth side were 3-2 winners at Walsall and remain in fourth place. In fact, he inadvertently provided an assist for their opening goal; ‘Lee Brown’s 13th minute cross appeared to be drifting out of play when Morgan Ferrier needlessly shoved Nathan Thompson and Brett Pitman converted the resulting penalty.’
Wycombe Wanderers lost 3-1 at home against Accrington Stanley, in spite of taking the lead through Paris Cowan-Hall. Joe Jacobson was missing from the Wycombe side that conceded two penalties, both converted by Billy Kee, and they slipped down to 13th place and could get drawn into a relegation battle.
In League Two Cambridge United played out a goalless draw against Crewe Alexandra at the Abbey Stadium. Reggie Lambe started for the home side but didn’t complete the 90 minutes as he was substituted after 83 of them.
Tom Parkes was in the Carlisle United side beaten 3-1 at Brunton Park by Notts County who were again without any Gas representatives in their squad.
Harry Pell is still injured and missed Colchester United’s 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Forest Green Rovers who are now sixth in the table.
Mansfield Town, with Conrad Logan in goal, but missing Ryan Sweeney, played out a goalless draw at CrawleyTown; ‘Recalled Mansfield keeper Conrad Logan made a double save from Ollie Palmer and Lewis Young to thwart Crawley…’
League leaders Lincoln City stretched their lead over second placed Bury to five points with a 2-0 home win over Oldham Athletic. John Akinde and Cian Bolger were both in the Lincoln lineup.
Goalkeeper Lee Nicholls remained on the bench for MK Dons, beaten 4-2 at Morecambe, but Keith Curle’s Northampton Town recorded a 1-0 home win over Newport County to post a fourth successive league victory. Andy Williams and Jon-Joe O’Toole started for the Cobblers while David Pipe was an unused substitute for Newport.
There was no sign of Joe Martin in the Stevenage squad as they recorded a 2-0 home win against Swindon Town who selected Tom Broadbent and Kyle Bennett in their starting XI.
Port Vale eased their relegation fears, and increased Yeovil Town’s, with a 3-0 win against the Glovers at Vale Park. Cristian Montano was an 83rd minute substitute for Vale while Alefe Santos was in the Yeovil starting XI but never reappeared for the second half.
There was no game for Exeter City duo Donovan Wilson and Hiram Boateng as their scheduled match against Macclesfield Town at Moss Rose was called off because of a waterlogged pitch.
In the National League AFC Fylde, missing the services of Andy Bond, moved into fourth place with a 4-2 home win over Hartlepool United who had Luke James in their lineup.
Gary Waddock’s Aldershot Town lost again, 2-1 at home against league leaders Leyton Orient. Rollin Menayese, Bernard Mensah and Scott Rendell were all in the Shots’ side and it was Rendell who scored their goal, from the penalty spot, in the 72nd minute. Matt Harrold started the game for the O’s.
Barnet coach Danny Senda saw his side play out a 1-1 home draw against Jamie Fullarton’s FC Halifax Town while Boreham Wood, with Ricky Shakes a 60th minute substitute and Danny Woodards remaining on the bench, also drew 1-1 at Dover Athletic.
Eastleigh, with Chris Zebroski playing, and scoring a 43rd minute goal, were 2-0 home winners against John Still’s Maidstone United. Angelo Balanta started for Dagenham & Redbridge but his side were well beaten, 3-0 at Havant & Waterlooville.
Solihull Moors assistant manager/coach James Quinn saw his side move up to second place following a 1-0 home win against Gateshead and it was another former Gas player, Nathan Blissett, who scored the all important goal.
Hereford United’s home match against Brackley Town, in National League North, was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
Bath City, though, were 1-0 home winners against Hampton & Richmond Borough at Twerton Park and moved up to third place. Ryan Clarke and Ryan Brunt both started for the Romans, while Chris Dickson was in the visitors’ starting XI.
Weston super Mare lost 2-0 at St Albans City with Nabi Diallo and Jamie Lucas both in their starting lineup.
In Scotland Heart of Midlothian, still missing the services of Michael Smith, beat Partick Thistle 2-1 to reach the semi finals of the Scottish Cup.
In Scottish League Two Queens Park, without the suspended Alan Gow, were 2-1 winners at Berwick Rangers.
In the Southern League Premier South Division Frome Town’s home game against Beaconsfield Town was called off due to a waterlogged pitch, as was the game between Kings Langley and Hartley Wintney.
Gavin Williams and his Merthyr Town side did get to play, though. They probably wish their game had been called off as, with Ben Swallow in their side, they suffered a 7-1 home defeat at the hands of Dorchester Town.
Salisbury were 3-2 home winners against Farnborough Town and Darren Mullings scored two of their goals, including a late winner.
In Division One South, Melksham Town saw their game at Cinderford Town called off because of a waterlogged pitch.
In Ireland Crusaders retained the County Antrim Shield by beating Linfield 4-3, their last two goals arriving very late in the game. Mark McChrystal, though, wasn’t in the Crusaders squad.
In the Championship on Wednesday evening Kelle Roos was back in goal for Derby County and he kept a clean sheet in their goalless draw against Stoke City.
Adam Barrett would have been a happy man watching from the sidelines at St Andrews. The Millwall coach saw his side win 2-0.
Tony Pulis won’t have been best pleased, though; his side slipped to a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Preston North End and he wasn’t pleased, either, when Daniel Ayala was sent off on 61 minutes.
Goalkeeper Joe Lumley and his Queens Park Rangers side lost 2-1 at home against Rotherham United, who scored the winning goal in the 95th minute.
Managerless West Bromwich Albion were 3-0 home winners against Swansea City and while Connor Roberts turnout for the Welsh side, Oli McBurnie was not involved as he was still recovering from illness.
On Thursday Weston super Mare issued a statement which said that they had made a decision that a change of management was required, and that the decision had been a mutual agreement between the Board and manager Mark McGregor. The statement went on to add that although he was stepping down as manager, they were in discussions with him to offer him another role within the club. The upshot was that another former Gas player, Mark McKeever was handed the role of caretaker manager and is to assist the club in looking for a full time manager.
Friday’s player news saw Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist go out on loan again, and to another club he’s been before. Following a loan stint at Yate Town, he has signed on for Hungerford Town until the end of the season and so joins Cameron Hargreaves and Rhys Kavanagh, Development Squad team mates, and former colleague Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis.
In Friday night’s League Two encounter, Newport County were 1-0 home winners against Cheltenham Town. David Pipe was again an unused substitute for Newport, while Ryan Broom and Jordan Tillson were both in the Cheltenham side. Newport boss Mike Flynn wasn’t impressed with what he saw, though; ‘That was one of the worst games of football I’ve ever seen in the first half. It was disgusting…I don’t want to be associated with that.’
In the Singapore League Charlie Clough picked up a yellow card as his Brunei DPMM side picked up a point from a goalless draw at Albirex Niigata (S). His side are third, and unbeaten with seven points, after the first three games of their new season.
In France Oumare Tounkara was in the Chateauroux side beaten 1-0 at home by Paris FC.
Saturday matchday saw Rovers and Charlton Athletic play out a goalless draw at the Mem in awful conditions. The points meant that Rovers have taken seven in a week and are up to 13th in the league but still not clear of a relegation battle!
In the FA Cup sixth round Swansea City, with Connor Roberts in their side, were leading Manchester City 2-0 until the 69th minute and then conceded three to bow out of the competition.
Tony Pulis and his Middlesbrough side remain in the Championship play off places, but only just following their 3-0 defeat at Aston Villa, who are now in sixth place one place and one point behind the team they beat. Pulis said afterwards; ‘Villa have had five shots and scored three goals. That’s something that wasn’t happening when we were doing well.’
Ex Gas Goalkeeper Luke Daniels was on the losing side as Brentford suffered a 1-0 home defeat against West Bromwich Albion while another former Gas goalie, Joe Lumley, conceded twice as his Queens Park Rangers side took a point from a 2-2 draw at Hull City.
Ellis Harrison was again missing from the Ipswich Town lineup as they recorded a 1-1 home draw against Nottingham Forest. Goalkeeper Sam Walker was an unused Reading substitute in a goalless draw at Stoke City, a result that keeps them a point above the relegation zone.
In League One, Blackpool’s play off hopes suffered a blow as they lost 3-0 at Burton Albion. Marc Bola returned to the Blackpool squad after injury, though, and was an unused substitute.
Rovers’ next opponents, Plymouth Argyle, lost 2-0 at Fleetwood Town with goalkeeper Matt Macey and defender Gary Sawyer both in their lineup.
Tom Eaves was on target for Gillingham, who took a point from their 2-2 draw against league leaders Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.
Aaron Chapman was again on the bench as Peterborough United were beaten 2-1 at home by fellow play off hopefuls Coventry City while Lee Brown and his Portsmouth side consolidated their play off place with a 2-0 win against Scunthorpe United at Fratton Park. Matt Lund was still missing from the Scunthorpe lineup.
Shrewsbury Town were 2-1 home winners against Wycombe Wanderers and Ollie Norburn was again on the scoresheet, converting a 93rd minute penalty to seal victory for the Shrews who had trailed until the 87th minute. Stefan Payne was an unused substitute for Shrewsbury while Paris Cowan-Hall and Joe Jacobson were both in the Wycombe side.
Exeter City moved back into the League Two play off places with a 3-0 home win against Colchester United with Hiram Boateng in their starting lineup and Donovan Wilson being introduced as a 90th minute substitute. Harry Pell was still missing from the Colchester squad.
Keith Curle’s Northampton Town, with John-Joe O’Toole and Andy Williams in their side, played out a goalless draw at Grimsby Town while Lee Nicholls returned to the MK Dons side for their 1-1 home draw against Stevenage. Goodness knows where Joe Martin was, though, as he was again absent from the Stevenage squad.
Carlisle United, with Tom Parkes in their side, drew 1-1 at Forest Green Rovers, while another draw was played out at the County Ground where Swindon Town and Port Vale couldn’t manage a goal between them. While Kyle Bennett was in the Swindon side, Tom Broadbent remained on the Swindon bench all afternoon. Cristian Montano was introduced as an 87th minute substitute for Vale.
Yeovil Town, with Alefe Santos in their starting XI slipped closer to the relegation trap door as they suffered a 2-0 home defeat against 23rd placed Macclesfield Town who are now just three points behind them with a game in hand.
Moving into the National League, Gary Waddock’s Aldershot Town side are ten points from safety at the bottom of the table following their 1-0 home defeat by Salford City, who registered a fourth consecutive win. Rollin Menayese, Bernard Mensah and Scott Rendell were all in the Aldershot side and Rory Gaffney was sent on as a 77th minute substitute for the visitors.
Barnet coach Danny Senda saw his side play out a goalless draw against Hartlepool United who had Luke James in their side, but Jamie Fullarton’s FC Halifax Town slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Dover Athletic. Jamie wasn’t at all happy with the outcome, though; ‘Furious FC Halifax Town boss Jamie Fullarton refused to talk to the press after a heated post match debate with referee Simeon Lucas following his side’s defeat at Dover.
‘Fullarton was left raging that Alfie Pavey’s 25th minute opener was allowed to stand when the ball appeared to strike the hand of Jai Reason in the build up.’
Eastleigh, with Chris Zebroski in their lineup, lost 1-0 at home against Barrow but remain in the final play off spot but Boreham Wood, with Ricky Shales in their side and Danny Woodards again left on the bench, lost 3-2 at Ebbsfleet United.
Solihull Moors coach/assistant manager James Quinn saw his side maintain their push for promotion (they are in second place) with a 3-2 home win against Braintree Town. Nathan Blssett played for the Moors but wasn’t on the scoresheet.
John Still’s Maidstone United look to be heading for relegation following their 1-0 loss at Wrexham and they are now 13 points from safety with eight games to play.
It was FA Trophy semi final day and in the first leg of their match against AFC Telford United, Leyton Orient beat AFC Telford 1-0 at Brisbane Road. Matt Harrold was in the Orient starting XI for a game played in front of a crowd of 3,622. Adam Dawson didn’t feature for AFC as, I think, he is cup tied.
The other semi final, between AFC Fylde and Stockport County, remained goalless. Andy Bond was missing from the Fylde lineup for the game, played in front of a crowd of 2,505.
There were only three league games played in National League North. Six were called off because of waterlogged pitches and of the games that did take place, none featured former Gas players.
It was a different story in National League South, though, where there was a full league programme and not one postponement.
Bath City remain in third place following a 1-1 draw against Wealdstone at Twerton Park, watched by a crowd of 966. The two Ryans, Clarke and Brunt, were in the Romans side selected by Jerry Gill.
Chippenham Town also shared the spoils, taking a point from a home goalless draw with St Albans and while George Rigg played in this one, Will Puddy was nowhere to be seen!
Mark McKeever got his temporary managerial role off to a decent start as his Weston super Mare charges played out a 2-2 draw at fifth placed Chelmsford City. They remain anchored at the foot of the table, though. Nabi Diallo and Jamie Lucas both started for the Seagulls.
Michael Meaker, Truro City’s assistant manager, saw his side go down 3-2 at Dulwich Hamlet where they had two players sent off.
Luke Russe completed another 90 minutes for Gloucester City, who drew 1-1 at home against Hemel Hempstead Town and so gained a valuable point in their battle against relegation.
Two former Gas strikers were in opposition when Hampton & Richmond Borough met Concord Rangers, Chris Dickson for Hampton and Alex Wall for Rangers. Dickson converted a 33rd minute penalty for his side, but Wall’s side ran out 4-1 winners and are within sight of a play off place as they currently lie in seventh place.
There was a Gas explosion at Hungerford Town, who were 2-0 winners against Eastbourne Borough. Rhys Kavanagh scored for the home side and was in a side that also saw Cameron Hargreaves start and Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist introduced as a 72nd minute substitute. Not a good day for Eastbourne boss Mark McGhee or for Dave Martin, who was included in his starting lineup.
Louie Soares was an unused substitute for Slough Town, 2-1 home winners against Billericay Town, while Torquay United assistant manager Aaron Downes saw his side register a 2-0 home win against Dartford in front of a Plainmoor crowd of 2,284. The Gulls remain in second place, a point behind leaders Woking with a game in hand.
Speaking of Woking, they played out a 3-3 draw against Welling United, who had Bradley Goldberg in their lineup.
Northern League games were also hit by the weather, though goalkeeper Kieran Preston did manage a game for Hednesford Town in the Premier Division though he won’t be happy that he conceded four goals. His side played out a 4-4 home draw against Nantwich Town.
Andy Monkhouse also got some game time under his belt as in the East Division his Ossett United side were 3-1 winners at Frickley Athletic, a result that saw them take over the final play off place.
In the Bostik League Premier Division Bishop’s Stortford recorded their first league win in over a month, as they beat Haringey Borough 2-0. Jamie Cureton was in the starting XI for Stortford but wasn’t on the scoresheet on this occasion.
Theo Widdrington did get on the scoresheet, though, as his Bognor Regis Town side claimed a point from a 3-3 draw at Enfield Town.
It wasn’t a good day for Harlow Town, though, as they slipped to a 7-2 home defeat against Wingate & Finchley. Tom Hitchcock and Scott Davies were both in the Harlow side.
There was a surprise defeat for Southern Premier league Central leaders Kettering Town, Beaten 1-0 at Biggleswade Town. However, Marcus Law’s side remain eight points clear at the top of the table. Craig Stanley was again in the Kettering lineup, but Adam Cunnington was still missing.
Rushall Olympic, with Tyler Lyttle in their side, played out a goalless home draw against Halesowen Town.
There was a surprising result in the Premier South Division, as Frome Town recorded a 2-0 home win against Taunton Town. Danny Greaves’ side took three much needed points with the help of a goal from Tom Mehew, who scored their second with only seven minutes on the clock. Pierce Mitchell started for Taunton, while Lucas Tomlinson was named on the bench.
There were no goals for Chesham United or Jefferson Louis, as their 14 match unbeaten run came to an end, beaten 1-0 at home by Farnborough.
Rene Howe was also on the losing side as Kings Langley were beaten 1-0 at Metropolitan Police who moved into third place.
Gavin Williams saw his Merthyr Town side, with Ben Swallow starting, lose 3-1 at Poole Town, but Scott McGleish would have been a happy man. The Hendon coach saw his side record a 5-2 away win against Staines Town.
Swindon Supermarine, without the services of the suspended Martin Horsell and also missing Jerel Ifil, were 4-0 home winners against Beaconsfield Town, a result that sees them sitting comfortably in ninth place, nine points off the play off places and eight points above the relegation zone.
There was a clean sheet for Liam Armstrong, who was in goal for Tiverton Town against Salisbury; ‘A clean sheet for Liam Armstrong, a deserved reward for a fine performance.’ Tiverton’s 2-0 win dented Salisbury’s title hopes. Darren Mullings was in the Salisbury side for this one.
League leaders Weymouth, with Abdulai Baggie in their lineup, but not Josh Wakefield, took a point from a goalless draw at Wimborne Town.
In Division One South Yate Town were 2-1 winners at Cirencester Town, a result that still sees them in second place but, crucially, just one point behind leaders Blackfield & Langley. Hero for Yate was goalkeeper Alexis Andre Jnr who saved a last minute penalty to preserve Yate’s lead. Also in the starting lineup was Ollie Mehew while Sam Kamara, who was named on the bench.
Mangotsfield United picked up three points with a 4-3 home win against Phil Bater’s Larkhall Athletic with Tyrone Tucker-Dixon in their starting lineup and Lewis Ellington on the bench. For Larkhall, Lewis Powell started and Geraint Bater was named on their bench.
Paulton Rovers assistant managers Paul Tovey and Gary Powell could only look on as their side suffered a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Evesham United. Jay Malpas was named on the Paulton bench for this one.
In the Total Motion MFL Premier League Highgate United with Sam Oji and Jordan Goddard in their side, played out a goalless draw against third placed Westfields.
In the Toolstation Western League Andy Gurney’s Roman Glass St George were 3-1 home winners (their first victory in 15 games) against Joe White’s Chipping Sodbury Town. Ray Johnston’s Hallen were without a game.
In the Scottish Premiership Heart of Midlothian slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Hamilton Academical and Michael Smith was again missing from the Hearts squad.
Motherwell suffered a second defeat in nine games as they went down 2-0 at Hibernian and Paul Hartley was again an unused Motherwell substitute.
Alan Gow returned to the Queens Park squad for their Scottish League Two match against Elgin City, which was comfortably won 4-1, and he was sent on as an 80th minute substitute.
In Wales Kayne McLaggon, who has been called into the Welsh ‘C’ squad for their international against England ‘C’, was in the Barry Town United squad that suffered a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Bala Town.
Seanan Clucas was in the Dungannon Swifts side that lost 1-0 at Glenavon in the Northern Ireland Premier League.
Last week they clinched the Championship title but this week Larne, with Jeff Hughes in their side, suffered a 1-0 defeat at second placed Carrick Rangers.
In the Danish Superliga Mikkel Andersen took up his customary place on the FC Midtylland bench and watched his side win 2-1 against SonderjyskE. FC are currently in second place in the league standings.
On Sunday two former Gas players were in opposition on the bench and on TV! Millwall’s coach Adam Barrett and Brighton & Hove Albion’s Paul Trollope saw their sides play out a 2-2 draw and a goalless period of extra time before watching a dramatic penalty shootout unfold, with Brighton winning that 5-4. They now head to Wembley to face Manchester City in the semi final.
In the Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic, with Scott Sinclair in the side, scored a 96th minute goal to record a 1-0 away win at Dundee and extend their lead at the top to ten points.
Jake Clarke-Salter was missing from the Vitesse side beaten 3-2 at Heracles and they are now in fifth place in the Dutch Eredivisie.
In France, Stephan Leoni saw his Sarre-Union side take a point from a goalless draw at FCA Troyes and they are currently top of the National 3 table.
I’ll end with news of an experiment being trialled in Step 5 and Step 6 levels next season. Sin Bins are to be introduced after a pilot scheme showed that ten-minute sin bins, in lieu of a yellow card, had been a success with a 38% reduction in dissent across the 31 leagues involved in the trial. So, look out, there could be a sin bin arriving near you very soon!