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 11 – Week commencing 6th October 2019
SUNDAY 6TH OCTOBER
In the Scottish Premiership Celtic lost their first game of the season, going down 2-0 at Livingston. A 26th minute red card for Ryan Christie didn’t help their cause and defeat saw them drop to second place in the league. Fraser Forster was in goal for Celtic and Scott Sinclair an unused substitute.
In the Danish Superliga FC Midtjylland were 2-1 winners at Silkeborg and, once again, Mikkel Andersen was an unused substitute.
Charlie Colkett was again in the Ostersunds side for their 1-1 draw at BK Hacken in the Swedish first tier.
MONDAY 7TH OCTOBER
Gloucester City lost their FA Cup replay against Whitby Town, going down 3-1 at their temporary Evesham home. Luke Russe was in the Gloucester side who played all of the second half and the latter stages of the first half with ten men following the dismissal of Josh Thomas. The attendance was 273.
Former Rovers loan striker Tom Hitchcock signed for Southern League Division One Central side Bedford Town, currently in ninth place in the league standings just two points away from the final play off place. Tom was registered in time to play in Tuesday night’s Southern League Cup tie against Biggleswade Town.
TUESDAY 8TH OCTOBER
It was EFL Trophy night for many League One and Two clubs and some former Rovers players were involved in this competition which, in the early rounds, fails to catch the imagination of football supporters… everywhere!
Matty Taylor was in the Oxford United side that drew 2-2 against Portsmouth at the Kassam Stadium and scored their first goal. Portsmouth sent Ellis Harrison on from the bench in the 61st minute, and he scored their second penalty in the resulting shootout that saw Pompey claim the extra bonus point as they were 5-4 winners on spot kicks.
Matt Harrold was an unused Leyton Orient substitute as they lost 3-0 at AFC Wimbledon. Attendance for this tie was 642.
Cheltenham Town recorded a 4-3 home win against West Ham United’s U-21 side. Gavin Reilly was an unused Cheltenham substitute for this one.
Tom Parkes and Jordan Tillson were in the Exeter City side that won 2-0 at Newport County in front of an even lower crowd than watched AFC Wimbledon. There were just 635 fans inside Rodney Parade and 47 of those travelled to South Wales from Exeter.
Tom Broadbent was a 40th minute substitute for Swindon Town, beaten 3-0 by Plymouth Argyle at The County Ground. Gary Sawyer skippered the Argyle side and they now top the group which also includes Rovers and Chelsea U-21’s. Swindon, whose final group game is against The Gas at The Mem, can’t now qualify for the next stage of the competition.
Joe Jacobson started for Wycombe Wanderers, beaten 1-0 by Stevenage at Adams Park and there was another 1-0 scoreline at The Abbey Stadium where Cambridge United were beaten by Northampton Town. Elliott Ward was an unused Cambridge substitute while Andy Williams started for Northampton.
Stefan Payne was an unused Tranmere Rovers substitute and saw his side beat Aston Villa’s U-21 side 2-1 at Prenton Park.
Ollie Norburn was named on the Shrewsbury Town bench and saw his side win 3-0 against Newcastle United’s U-21’s.
Ryan Sweeney was in the Mansfield Town side that drew 1-1 against Crewe Alexandra, but it was Crewe who claimed the additional point on offer as they won the penalty shootout 4-3.
Jack Bonham and Alex Jakubiak were both named on the Gillingham bench for their game against Ipswich Town at Portman Road. The home side were 4-0 winners and while Bonham remained on the bench Jakubiak was sent on by The Gills in the 68th minute.
There was a full fixture programme in the National League and we begin with Aldershot Town who moved clear of the bottom four with a 4-0 home win against Dover Athletic. Alefe Santos scored the fourth Aldershot goal on 58 minutes.
Boreham Wood, with Danny Woodards starting and Ricky Shakes entering the fray on 90 minutes, were beaten 3-1 at Barrow who registered their seventh consecutive league win and moved into fourth place.
Joe Partington started for Eastleigh and Scott Rendell was sent on in the 85th minute as they were 2-1 home winners against Maidenhead United. Bernard Mensah came off the Maidenhead bench in the 76th minute.
Sam Slocombe kept a clean sheet for Notts County, 2-0 winners against Dagenham & Redbridge at Meadow Lane where a crowd of 3,670 saw County move up to eighth place. Angelo Balanta was in the Dagenham side.
Smith’s former goalkeeping rival at Rovers, Adam Smith, was between the posts for Yeovil Town who were 3-1 winners against Woking at Huish Park. The three points leave The Glovers in third place, just a point behind leaders FC Halifax Town.
In the FA Cup third round replay, Chippenham Town made it through to round four with a 3-2 win at Slough Town and they will face Whyteleafe to determine who goes through to the first round proper. Will Puddy, George Rigg and Chris Zebroski all started this one for Chippenham.
No FA Cup joy for Bristol Manor Farm, though as they lost their replay 4-0 at Wealdstone. Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist and Steve Kingdon were both in the Manor Farm side.
Martin Horsell kept a clean sheet for Swindon Supermarine, 3-0 home winners against Blackfield & Langley in the Southern Premier League South Division.
In the same league Yate Town won their first home game of the season, scoring the winning goal in the 93rd minute to beat Hartley Wintney 2-1. Sam Kamara and Ollie Mehew were both in the Yate starting lineup.
Tom Hitchcock made a goalscoring debut for Bedford Town, but it was only a consolation as his new club were beaten 3-1 by Biggleswade Town in the Southern League Cup.
In the GFA Senior Challenge Cup first round tie at Cossham Street Trey Anderson and Toby Rennie, both former Gas trainees/scholars, were in the Mangotsfield United side that lost 5-2 against Bishops Cleeve.
Paulton Rovers went through to the next round of the Somerset Premier Cup with a 5-3 win at Odd Down. Nuno Felix was in the Paulton side.
In the same competition Bath City were 5-1 winners at Shepton Mallett. The two Ryan’s, Clarke and Brunt, were unused Bath substitutes.
Sam Oji was in the Highgate United side for their home game against Heather St John’s, which ended in a 2-0 defeat.
In the Northern Ireland League Cup Seanan Clucas was in the Dungannon Swifts side that exited the competition following their 4-1 home defeat by Linfield.
WEDNESDAY 9TH OCTOBER
In the evening’s only game in the National League Hartlepool United, with Luke James in their starting XI, were beaten 2-1 at Edgeley Park by Stockport County.
Larkhall Athletic went through to the second round of the Somerset FA Premier Cup, beating Street 5-4 in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw. Jack Camm started for The Larks while Lewis Powell, Dale Evans, Geraint Bater and Neil Arndale were all named on the bench.
Former Rovers striker Adam Cunnington signed for Hemel Hempstead Town, of the National League South, from Dartford who play in the same league.
THURSDAY 10TH OCTOBER
Former Rovers defender Stuart Taylor, the club’s record appearance holder, died after along illness. He was 72. Our tribute to the great man can be found here.
Wales were in action in Slovakia in a qualifying match for next year’s European Championships and there were two former Rovers players in the Welsh back four, namely Tom Lockyer and Connor Roberts. Lockyer made his first competitive start in a Welsh shirt and his side drew 1-1 to keep alive their hopes of qualification.
The Darlington website carried the news that Jonny Burn had left the club by mutual consent.
SATURDAY 12TH OCTOBER
Rovers goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola was on the bench for Finland who were beaten 4-1 by Bosnia-Herzegovina in their European Championship Qualifying match in Group J.
His stand in for Rovers, Jordi van Stappershoef, had a relatively easy afternoon as Rovers comfortably saw off MK Dons at the Memorial Stadium. There were two former Rovers players in the MK lineup, in goalkeeper Lee Nicholls and midfielder Hiram Boateng. It was Rovers fourth consecutive league win.
Peterborough United were 2-0 home winners against Lincoln City and Aaron Chapman was an unused Posh substitute. Cian Bolger was in the Lincoln side while John Akinde was sent on in the 89th minute. Both Peterborough goals arrived in the final eight minutes of the game.
Portsmouth and Gillingham played out a goalless draw at Fratton Park where four former Rovers players started. Lee Brown and Ellis Harrison completed ninety minutes in a Portsmouth shirt, while Alex Jakubiak and Jack Bonham started for The Gills. Jakubiak was substituted in the 76th minute while Bonham was the star of the show; ‘Bonham pulled off three good saves and was the hero as Gillingham held Portsmouth and denied their hosts a third league win in a row.’
In a League Two top of the table clash at St James’ Park Exeter City were 1-0 winners against Forest Green Rovers and remain in second place with the same number of points as leaders Crewe Alexandra.
Two former Rovers players were on the scoresheet at Brisbane Road. Stuart Sinclair opened the scoring for Walsall on 21 minutes, but his side were beaten 3-1 with Matt Harrold scoring Leyton Orient’s second goal after 60 minutes. James Clarke, winner of the EFL September Player of the Month for League Two, was in the Walsall side as was Rory Gaffney.
Mansfield Town scored six goals in a league game for the first time since 2002 as they thrashed Oldham Athletic 6-1. Oldham had two players sent off in a minute in the first half but still managed to score their consolation goal with only nine men on the pitch. Conrad Logan and Ryan Sweeney were both in the Mansfield side.
Elliott Ward was the only former Gas man in the Cambridge United side that lost 1-0 at Salford City, a result that leaves both sides on 16 points.
Scunthorpe United, still missing the suspended Matt Lund, were 3-0 home winners against Northampton Town to make it a miserable afternoon for Cobblers boss Keith Curle and his three ex Gas players. Joe Martin had to be substituted in the 24th minute, Andy Williams was sent on at the start of the second half, while Chris Lines remained on the bench all afternoon. Northampton were reduced to ten men in the 53rd minute following Vadaine Oliver’s red card for a foul on Scunthorpe keeper Rory Watson.
Swindon Town and Plymouth Argyle drew 1-1 at the County Ground, where Tom Broadbent was an unused Swindon substitute and Gary Sawyer was in the Argyle side.
Aldershot Town suffered a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Hartlepool United in the National League. Alefe Santos completed another 90 minutes for Aldershot, while Luke James was a 65th minute substitute for Hartlepool who had sacked manager Craig Hignett earlier in the week.
It was the usual story for Eastleigh, with Joe Partington starting and Scott Rendell coming off the bench in the 85th minute (think I’ve written that sentence quite a few times already this season!). The result? A goalless home draw against Chorley.
It would be nice to report a goal for Bernard Mensah but, alas, it’s not possible. He was named on the Maidenhead United bench for their 2-1 win at bottom club Ebbsfleet United and did get a brief taste of the action, being sent on in the 92nd minute.
There was another clean sheet for Sam Slocombe, his fifth on the bounce, who was in the Notts County side that beat Torquay United 2-0 at Meadow Lane in front of a crowd of 5,265.
Slocombe’s erstwhile Rovers team mate and rival, Adam Smith, was in goal for Yeovil Town and finished on the losing side for the first time since joining The Glovers. They lost 2-1 against Harrogate at Huish Park.
Boreham Wood, with Danny Woodards and Ricky Shakes in their squad, were 2-0 away winners at top of the table Halifax Town. Woodards had to come off after 31 minutes, while Shakes was sent on in the 65th minute.
In National League North Andy Bond was in the York City side that drew 1-1 at AFC Telford United and are now three points clear at the top of the table.
Luke Russe, though, was on the losing side as he and his Gloucester City side lost 1-0 at Gateshead. James Spruce was an unused Gloucester substitute.
In their first home game for more than a month, Bath City were held to a 1-1 draw by Maidstone United. Ryan Clarke was in goal for The Romans and it was Ryan Brunt who scored their equaliser, from the penalty spot, in the last minute of time added on.
Welling United, with Bradley Goldberg and Theo Widdrington in their lineup, suffered a home defeat at the hands of Hampton & Richmond Borough. Jefferson Louis started for Hampton and Louis Soares came off the bench in the 71st minute.
Weymouth, with Josh Wakefield and Abdulai Baggie in their side, picked up a point from their 2-2 draw at Dulwich Hamlet and sees them in fifth place in the league standings. Jeffrey Monakana was missing from the Dulwich side.
Hemel Hempstead Town now have two former Rovers strikers in their ranks. Adam Cunnington made his debut for them in their 2-1 away win at Havant & Waterlooville and he was replaced by Alex Wall in the 61st minute.
Chippenham Town also won away from home, beating Concord Rangers 1-0, the winning goal arriving from the penalty spot in the 80th minute. Will Puddy, George Rigg and Chris Zebroski were all in the Chippenham side for this one.
Scott Davies was in the Slough Town side that registered a 3-1 home win against Billericay Town, a result that sees them up to third place.
In the Northern Premier League Premier Division Kieran Preston was in goal for Basford United who drew 1-1 at Morpeth Town to stay in second place.
Moving on to the Southern League, and in the Premier Central Division Nuneaton Borough were 3-0 home winners against Redditch United, thus registering their seventh consecutive win on home soil. Craig Stanley was in the Nuneaton starting lineup for this game, while Alex Henshall was named on the bench and entered the action in the 50th minute.
In the Premier South Division Scott McGleish was an unused Hendon substitute and saw his side lose 3-0 in their home game against Salisbury. Darren Mullings was missing from the Salisbury side.
Merthyr Town were 2-0 home winners against Blackfield & Langley. Both goals arriving in the first seven minutes and the second scored by Eliot Richards. Ben Swallow was also in the Merthyr lineup.
Swindon Supermatine recorded their third home win in a row as they overcame Farnborough 3-2. Martin Horsell was again between the posts for the Wiltshire side who are up to seventh in the table.
Taunton Town, with no ex Gas representatives in their squad, were 2-1 home winners against Hayes & Yeading United. Lyle Della Verde was named on the bench for the visitors and was sent on in the 60th minute.
Sam Kamara and Ollie Mehew were in the Yate Town side that beat Metropolitan Police 1-0 at Lodge Road. The winning goal arrived in the 93rd minute and the three points sees Yate move out of the bottom three.
Walton Casuals, with Rene Howe in their side, were beaten 1-0 at Hartley Wintney and stay in 13th place in the league standings.
Jamie Cureton won his first game in sole charge of Bishop’s Stortford. His side were 2-0 home winners against Horsham and Jamie didn’t select himself for this one. Is he going to concentrate on managing rather than playing? Watch this space!
In the same league Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis and Barry Hayles were both named on the bench for Merstham who suffered a 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Leatherhead.
It was FA Trophy first round day and Ossett United, with Andy Monkhouse in their starting lineup, went out of the competition after a 3-2 defeat at Dunston UTS.
Bedford Town, with Tom Hitchcock in their side, also suffered a 3-2 away defeat. They were beaten by Northern Premier League side Carlton Town who currently lead the South East Division.
Larkhall Athletic recorded their first ever win in the competition, as they won 2-0 at Didcot Town. Geraint Bater, Dale Evans and Wayne Powell were in the Larks’ starting lineup, while Jack Camm and Neil Arndale were on the bench.
Bristol Manor Farm went out of the competition, losing 2-1 at Sholing. Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist and Steve Kingdon were in the Manor Farm side.
Dave Martin skippered the Whitehawk side in their home tie against Romford and scored their opening goal, from the penalty spot, in their 2-1 win.
Darren Jefferies was in the HIghworth Town side held to a 1-1 home draw by Cinderford Town and the teams meet again in the replay on Tuesday.
Craig Disley skippered Barton Town in their Northern Counties League match away at league leaders Staveley Miners Welfare and ended up on the losing side as the home side netted a late winner to seal all three points.
In Scotland Lochee United went through to the next round of the Quest Engineering Cup after a convincing 4-0 away win at Dundee Violet. Garry Kenneth was a 64th minute substitute for Lochee.
In the Northern Irish Premiership Larne, with Jeff Hughes in their side, were beaten 1-0 at Cliftonville FC with the only goal of the game arriving in the 87th minute.
For the second time in four days Seanan Clucas and his Dungannon Swifts team mates faced Linfield at home, this time in a league match. Once again, they conceded four goals though they did better than on Tuesday and scored one themselves to go down 4-1.