After Rovers’ went down 1-0 to neighbours Oldham Athletic, @benwilkinson11 looks at the things we learnt from the game.
A 90th minute winner from Oldham substitute Queensy Menig meant that the Blues went home empty-handed for only the second time this campaign.
The sell-out crowd couldn’t quite push the players onto a last-gasp equaliser, and here we look at the talking points.
Chapman is not as good as certain fans make him out
So during the recent supporter’s consultation meeting, Tony Mowbray said that Harry Chapman will remain on the bench for the foreseeable future. Fans were split in two over this, some thought that he provided the creativity we require to break defences down when we need a goal. Others, like myself, thought Mowbray was right to do this as we would then sacrifice defensive capability ourselves for most of the game, and leave ourselves open to a counter attack.
Chapman came on with just over half an hour left to play with the score level, and us pushing for the opening goal. In my opinion, he was anonymous throughout, not really doing much other than lazily swiping at an Oldham player and earning himself a booking. And low and behold, we concede from a counter attack. By no means am I blaming Chapman for the goal, however with the score at 0-0 I would rather we settle for that and bring on a defensive player than go for a winner then end up conceding on the break.
Player’s effort levels
It has become apparent by now that teams up their game and give 110% against us as we are such a ‘big club’ for this division. Given the quality present in our squad, we should have enough to beat teams even when they treat us as a ‘cup final’. The problem arises when players in our squad (not all by a long chalk, I for one thought Conway gave his all yesterday) get complacent and make unforced errors that ultimately cost us today.
As has been proved, we are more than capable of putting teams to the sword when we play the best we can; 4-1 at home to MK Dons and 3-0 away to Rochdale in consecutive league games testify to that. If we want to get out of this league and make an instant return to the second tier we need to see more of that effort and less of the nonchalant passes that went straight to the opposition that were so common today.
Our cracking away support
Of course I can’t make any sort of review on the game without commenting on our immense away support. 3500 Rovers fans were at Boundary Park, bringing our away average up to over 2000. While the atmosphere was rather subdued (we didn’t have much to shout about in fairness), the sheer number of fans travelling to see the team away from home has been consistently good all season, and the players must surely feel the backing they’re receiving.