Looking for 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 ‘In Search of Gas’ updates last season, which are archived HERE

The latest instalment is given below, and the rest of the season is being archived in two month chunks.

Chapter 25 – Week commencing 12th January 2020

SUNDAY 12TH JANUARY

There was the small matter of a Welsh derby between Cardiff City and Swansea City at the Cardiff City Stadium and it turned out to be a goalless affair. Neil Etheridge was an unused Cardiff substitute, while Connor Roberts was in the Swansea side.

TUESDAY 14TH JANUARY

It was FA Cup replay night and Rovers went out of the competition at the third round stage, losing 3-0 against Coventry at St Andrews. The last time we were knocked out at the same stage of the competition was also at that venue, when Birmingham City were 3-0 winners. I feel a quiz question coming on!

Goalkeeper Sam Walker kept a clean sheet for Reading on one of his rare first team appearances. They beat Blackpool 2-0 at Bloomfield Road. Marc Bola, who has returned to Blackpool, on loan from Middlesbrough, was ineligible for this one.

Ollie Norburn skippered Shrewsbury Town to a 1-0 home win against Bristol City and they will now host Liverpool in the fourth round.

There were three League One games also taking place on this particular night. Burton Albion, with John-Joe O’Toole in their side, moved into a play off place following their 1-0 home win against MK Dons. Lee Nicholls was in goal for MK.

Lincoln City scored three goals in the final five minutes to record a 5-1 home win against Bolton Wanderers. John Akinde scored two of those late goals, after going on as a 60th minute substitute. Cian Bolger completed 90 minutes for the home side who moved up to 15th place.

Oxford United, with Matty Taylor in their starting XI, were held to a goalless draw by Ipswich Town at the Kassam Stadium, a result that left Ipswich in third place and Oxford in fifth.

Cristian Montano was on the losing side in League Two as he and his Port Vale teammates were beaten 2-1 at Morecambe.

There was a host of non league games postponed due to waterlogged pitches, including all four FA Trophy second round replays.

One game that did go ahead was the National League South tie between John Still’s Maidstone United and Hemel Hempstead Town. The result was a 1-1 draw and Deon Moore, who was named on the Hemel bench, made an 83rd minute substitute appearance. Alex Wall, who left Hemel by mutual consent last week, signed for National League side Woking.

In the second round of the Northern Premier League Integro League Cup Basford United, with Kieran Preston in goal, suffered a 5-0 home defeat at the hands of Matlock Town.

WEDNESDAY 15TH JANUARY

In the Isthmian League Premier Division Hornchuch gained a point from a 1-1 draw at Cray Wanderers. Chris Dickson was in the away side line-up and Adam Cunnington made his Hornchurch debut.

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Adam Cunnington, who recently signed for Hornchurch. [Photo courtesy of Neil Brookman]
SATURDAY 18TH JANUARY

Oli McBurnie completed 90 minutes for Sheffield United in their Premier league match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. He didn’t get on the scoresheet but helped his side to a point as they drew 1-1 with the Gunners.

In the Championship Joe Lumley, somewhat surprisingly, was missing from the Queens Park Rangers squad for their home game against Leeds United. They managed a 1-0 win without him.

At St Andrews Birmingham City played out a 1-1 draw against Cardiff City. Jake Clarke-Salter was in the Birmingham side, while goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was an unused Cardiff substitute.

Kelle Roos kept the Derby County bench warm al afternoon and watched his side beat Hull City 1-0. Tom Eaves also watched the game, from the Hull bench.

Brentford goalkeeper Luke Daniels was another unused substitute and saw his side miss an opportunity to move up to third as they played out a goalless draw against Huddersfield Town.

The list of former Gas players sat on benches continued at The Den where Reading’s Sam Walker saw his side lose 2-0 against Millwall.

Preston North End were 2-1 home winners against Charlton Athletic. Scott Sinclair was in the Preston side, though Billy Bodin was missing – possibly on paternity leave as he became a Dad in the week leading up to the game, or injured? Tom Lockyer was in the Charlton side who, after a promising start to the season, are now down in 19th place, five points above the final relegation place.

Swansea City, with Connor Roberts in their side, moved back into the play off places as they beat relegation candidates Wigan Athletic 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium.

In League One Ellis Harrison again started for Portsmouth who were 1-0 winners at Bolton Wanderers, a result that saw them move up to seventh place.

Ollie Norburn was in the Shrewsbury Town side that picked up a point from a 2-2 draw at Fleetwood Town and he picked up another yellow card to add to his growing collection!

Gillingham and Oxford United played out a 1-1 draw at the Priestfield Stadium. Jack Bonham was in goal for the Gills and Alex Jakubiak was sent on from their bench in the 80th minute, but Matty Taylor was missing from the Oxford squad.

Marc Bola’s second debut for Blackpool ended in defeat. The former Rovers defender, back at Bloomfield Road, on loan from Middlesbrough, was in the side that lost 1-0 against Lincoln City at Sincil Bank. Cian Bolger was in the Lincoln side but there was no sign of John Akinde, on the pitch or on the bench.

Sunderland’s 1-0 win at MK Dons saw them move into the final play off place. Lee Nicholls was in goal for MK but, once again, Hiram Boateng was missing from their squad.

Ipswich Town recorded their first away win in the league for more than two months as they beat Tranmere Rovers 2-1 at Prenton Park. Stefan Payne was an unused Tranmere substitute.

Joe Jacobson’s 94th minute penalty gave Wycombe Wanderers their first win in six games and saw them beat Rochdale 2-1 at Adams Park. Tyler Smith, who moved to Rochdale, on loan, in midweek following his loan in BS7 wasn’t in the Rochdale squad.

Scunthorpe United, with Matt Lund in their side, picked up a valuable League Two point from a 2-2 draw against Bradford City at Valley Parade.

Cambridge United suffered a 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Stevenage, who had been bottom of the table going into this game. Daniel Jones was in the Cambridge side while Reggie Lambe was an unused substitute.

Harry Pell was in the Colchester United side that collected three points from a 2-1 home win against Macclesfield Town, a result that saw them move up to eighth.

Adam Smith was again in goal for Forest Green Rovers who suffered a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Salford City and dropped down to ninth in the league placings. Salford finished the game with nine men as two of their players were sent off.

Tom Parkes was in the Exeter City side that recorded a 1-0 win against Grimsby Town at Blundell Park, a result that kept them in second place.

League leaders Swindon Town suffered a 2-0 defeat against Newport County at Rodney Parade. Tom Broadbent was in the Swindon side but, once again, there was no sign of Daniel Leadbitter in the Newport squad. He appears to have slipped off the radar or has joined another club without me finding out!

Northampton Town were 4-1 home winners against Morecambe at Sixfields, a result that moved them up to sixth and saw Morecambe drop to the bottom of the pile. Andy Williams and Chris Lines started for the Cobblers while Joe Martin was a 77th minute substitute for Keith Curle’s side. Lines also got on the scoresheet, adding Northampton’s fourth goal in the 75th minute.

Northampton Town v Peterborough United - Leasing.com Trophy
Chris Lines, who scored for Northampton Town FC last Saturday.  [Photo courtesy of Pete Norton, Northampton Town Official Photographer]
Cristian Montano was on the winning side as Port Vale overcame Leyton Orient 1-0 at Vale Park. Matt Harrold was a 79th minute substitute for the O’s.

The only former Gas player in Darrell Clarke’s Walsall side was James Clarke and he skippered the Saddlers to a 2-1 win against Crawley Town at the Banks’s Stadium.

Mansfield manager Graham Coughlan returned to one of his former clubs, Plymouth Argyle, and saw his side beaten 3-1. Argyle made it six wins from their last seven games to maintain their promotion push (they moved up to fourth following this win). Gary Sawyer and Byron Moore were in the Plymouth side while Ryan Sweeney was in the Mansfield lineup.

Graham Coughlan, whose Mansfield Town side were beaten by one of his former clubs, Plymouth Argyle, last Saturday. Photo courtesy of Keith Brookman
Graham Coughlan, whose Mansfield Town side were beaten by one of his former clubs, Plymouth Argyle, last Saturday.  [Photo courtesy of Keith Brookman]
In the National League Eastleigh, with Joe Partington in their side and Scott Rendell an 81st minute substitute, were beaten 2-0 at home by Chesterfield.

Bernard Mensah was an 80th minute substitute for Maidenhead United, who suffered a 5-2 defeat at FC Halifax Town and they now find themselves just two points above the relegation places.

Sam Slocombe kept another clean sheet for Notts County, who played out a goalless draw against Dover Athletic at Meadow Lane, a result that kept them in the play off places.

Nathan Blissett was an unused substitute for Solihull Moors whose 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Boreham Wood saw them drop down to ninth. Danny Woodards and Ricky Shakes were both unused Substitutes for the winners.

Alex Wall made his Woking debut when being sent on in the 55th minute of their game at Wrexham. By then his side were two goals down and they conceded again in the 78th minute as the Welsh side ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.

Yeovil Town drew 2-2 at home against Hartlepool United and Marc Richards made his debut for the Glovers. He never appeared in a league game for Rovers but was one of a number of players on trial in BS7 when Ian Atkins was manager. Luke James was missing from the Hartlepool squad.

Alefe Santos was sent on from the Aldershot Town bench in the 66th minute. They picked up a point from a 3-3 home draw against bottom club Chorley who equalised with a 92nd minute penalty.

Alefe Santos who came off the bench for Aldershot Town last Saturday. Photo courtesy of Ian Morseman, Aldershot Town
Alefe Santos who came off the bench for Aldershot Town last Saturday. [Photo courtesy of Ian Morseman, Aldershot Town]
There was just one former Gas player involved in National League North action and that was Andy Bond, who was an unused substitute for York City in their top of the table clash at Kings Lynn Town. In front of a crowd of 4,019, Kings Lynn moved four points clear at the summit as they beat the Minstermen 1-0.

Hereford’s game at Kettering Town was postponed, so there was no game for Danny Greenslade, and Cameron Ebbutt was missing from the Gloucester City squad as they went down 2-1 at Guiseley.

Bath City stayed in second place in National League South thanks to a 2-0 home win against Hemel Hempstead Town. Ryan Clarke and Ryan Brunt completed 90 minutes for Jerry Gill’s side while Deon Moore went on at the start of the second half for Hemel.

Weymouth are fifth in the table following their 2-1 win at Concord Rangers. Abduali Baggie and Josh Wakefield were both in the Weymouth side and Baggie scored for them on 40 minutes.

Chippenham Town picked up a point from a 1-1 draw at Dulwich Hamlet, though given their league position (bottom but one) they could have done with all three. Will Puddy, George Rigg and Chris Zebroski all started for Chippenham as did Luke Russe, making his debut after his loan move from the Gas. Jeffrey Monakana was in the Dulwich side.

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Luke Russe, now on loan at Chippenham Town and made his debut for them last Saturday.  [Photo courtesy of JMP UK]
Slough Town stayed in third place following their 1-0 home win against Dartford. Scott Davies was an unused Slough substitute for this one.

Welling United moved out of the bottom two thanks to a 3-2 home win against bottom of the table Hungerford Town. Bradley Goldberg was in the Welling side.

In the Northern Premier League Premier Division Basford United, with Kieran Preston in goal, were 3-2 away winners at Stalybridge Celtic. They are third in the league, with the same number of points as second placed Lancaster City and six points adrift of leaders South Shields.

Kieran Preston, whose Basford United side are up to third in the Northern Premier League Premier Division. Photo courtesy of Craig Lamont Photography
Kieran Preston, whose Basford United side are up to third in the Northern Premier League Premier Division.  [Photo courtesy of Craig Lamont Photography]
The only other Gas representative in this division, Adam Dawson, was missing from the Radcliffe FC side. They suffered a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Gainsborough Trinity.

In the North West Division Craig Stanley was in the Clitheroe side held to a 2-2 home draw by Pickering Town and they now find themselves in seventh place, three points away from a play off place.

In the same Division there was no sign of Andy Monkhouse in the Ossett United squad. They were 4-2 home winners against Widnes.

Next it’s on to the Southern League Premier South Division and Harry Warwick’s Dorchester Town debut ended in a 5-0 defeat at Hayes & Yeading United. Dorchester find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table, seven points from safety.

Merthyr Town were 2-0 home winners against Farnborough and they named Ben Swallow and Gavin Williams on their bench. Swallow went on in the 76th minute while Williams remained on the bench.

Liam Armstrong was in goal for Salisbury for their home clash with Swindon Supermarine and there was a former Gas shot stopper in goal for Swindon, who ran put 2-0 winners. Lewis Clutton was a 56th minute substitute for Salisbury but Alex Henshall was missing from the Supermarine squad.

Yate Town drew 1-1 at Walton Casuals, but are still in the bottom three. Sam Kamara was in the Yate side. Hard as I tried, I could find no lineup for Walton, so I have no idea if Rene Howe was playing.

Bedford Town, of the Division One Central, lost 3-1 at Yaxley. Tom Hitchcock was in their side, but the goals appear to have dried up for him and his team.

In Division One South Bristol Manor Farm were 2-1 home winners against Bideford. Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist scored their second goal on 81 minutes. Steve Kingdon also started for the Farm and Ollie Mehew was named on their bench.

There were six goals scored at Cossham Street where Mangotsfield United and Slimbridge drew 3-3. Luc Noble was in the Mangotsfield starting XI but there was no sign of Trey Anderson in the squad.

Paulton Rovers and Larkhall Athletic shared four goals and, naturally, Lewis Powell scored one of the Larks’ goals! Jack Camm and Dale Evans were in the starting lineup as well, while Neil Arndale and Geraint Bater were named on the bench.

There were also four goals scored in the Isthmian Premier League game between Bishop’s Stortford and Margate with both sides scoring twice. Jamie Cureton named himself in the Stortford starting XI but failed to score in this one.

Chris Dickson and Adam Cunnington were both in the Hornchurch side that drew 1-1 at home against Leatherhead, though neither got on the scoresheet. Hornchurch are in sixth place, two points off a play off place.

With Lyle Della-Verde in their side, Enfield Town won their 1,000th game, 3-2 at Cheshunt, and they are now in seventh place, just three points behind the aforementioned Hornchurch.

In the South East Division Whitehawk, with Dave Martin in their side, were beaten 4-2 at Whyteleafe though they remain in third place, six points adrift of second placed Ashford United.

Sam Oji skippered Midland Premier League side Highgate United to a 2-1 home win against AFC Wulfrunians and, after a poor start to the season, they are now in eighth place.

In the North West Counties League Premier Division, Skelmersdale United lost 3-1 at Squires Gate but Josh Klein-Davies was missing from their lineup – has he moved on again?

Craig Disley was named on the Barton Town bench for their Northern Counties League match at Bridlington Town. I could be wrong but, looking at the club’s Twitter feed, he appears to have stayed there all afternoon and saw his side lose 4-1.

Bitton were 2-0 winners at Wellington in the Western League Premier Division. Scott Brice was in the starting XI while Matt Groves was named on the bench though it’s not clear if he actually managed any game time.

In the Scottish Cup Heart of Midlothian recorded their first win under manager Daniel Stendel and recorded their first clean sheet since October in beating Airdrieonians 5-0. Michael Smith was in the Hearts starting XI but had to go off in the 41st minute.

Celtic, with Fraser Forster in goal, were 2-1 winners at Partick Thistle who made the scoreline more respectable thanks to a 93rd minute penalty.

Peter Hartley was in the Motherwell side that recorded a 3-0 win at Dundee to join Hearts and Celtic in in the fifth round.

In Scottish League Two Darryl Duffy scored twice for Stirling Albion in their 3-2 away win at Annan Athletic. His career goal tally is now 199 so just one more needed for a double century!

Barry Town United, of the Welsh Premier League, went goal crazy and recorded a 7-1 home win against Carmarthen Town. Kayne McLaggon started, and scored twice for Barry.

Kayne McLaggon who scored twice for Barry Town United last Saturday. NO CREDIT FOR THIS ONE
Kayne McLaggon who scored twice for Barry Town United last Saturday.

Kris Owens was in the Connah’s Quay Nomads side beaten 2-1 at The New Saints.

In the Northern Ireland Premiership Jeff Hughes was in the Larne side beaten 3-0 at Crusaders FC but Seanan Clucas was missing from the Dungannon Swifts side that took a point from a goalless draw at Linfield.

We end this week’s edition with news (thanks to Stephen Byrne) of two former Gas players on the overseas circuit.  Jeff Hopkins is manager of Melbourne Victory Ladies, who beat Adelaide United 3-0 last week for their biggest win of the season so far.

Jeff Hopkins who is now coaching in Australia. Photo courtesy of Alan Marshall
Jeff Hopkins who is now coaching in Australia. [Photo courtesy of Alan Marshall]
Oumare Tounkara, in the meantime, looks as though he will be returning from Romania, where he has been playing this season, and could possibly rejoin his former club Chateauroux in the French Second Division.