After mixed results and fortunes, @lukerovers85 looks back at the first month of the season…
With the hectic first month of the season over, we look back at how August has gone for Mowbray’s men
Every football supporter across the country always looks forward to the start of the season with renewed optimism, regardless of how they ended up the previous season
As Rovers fans, we seem more optimistic about how the season will play out for us.
During the course of the season, I will be writing a monthly review about our fixtures and how we got on. This time, August.
Southend United 2-1 Rovers – League One – 5th August 2017
Rovers opened the season with a trip to Roots Hall to face Southend United, Rovers’ 1st game in the 3rd tier of English Football League for 37 years.
Despite being tipped as favourites for promotion from Sky Bet League 1, Rovers started the season in disappointing fashion losing 2-1.
Southend opened the scoring on 27 minutes through Ryan Leonard & extended their lead before half time through Michael Kightly.
Rovers pulled a goal back through the new skipper Charlie Mulgrew on 53 minutes, with a trademark free kick, but the home side held on for a deserved win as defensive lapses in concentration cost us & we didn’t create enough chances on the day.
Coventry City 1-3 Rovers – Carabao Cup 1st round – 8th August 2017
Tony Mowbray’s side had little time to rest as they faced Coventry City in the 1st round of the Carabao Cup, a game that saw Rovers run out 3-1 winners.
The first real attack of the game came on 16 minutes, with Corry Evans scoring his 1st goal since November 2015 to put the away side 1-0 up, the lead only lasted 6 minutes as the Sky Blues levelled the contest through Biamou.
Rovers went ahead once more through a strike from Richie Smallwood, which found its’ way into the back of the net via a deflection on 32 minutes. The tie was settled on 56 minutes when Dominic Samuel returned to haunt his former club with the 3rd goal & seal progress into the next round rather comfortably.
Rovers 1-3 Doncaster Rovers – League One – 12th August 2017
The first home game of the season saw the visit of Doncaster Rovers to Ewood Park, less said about this game the better.
Rovers were poor from start to finish, as 3 gift wrapped goals from John Marquis,a James Coppinger penalty & Alfie May saw the visitors take the 3 points despite a Dominic Samuel consolation goal.
The game saw a compilation of errors, with Rovers handing the game to the Yorkshire side. Elliott Ward let the ball under his foot for the first goal, Mulgrew gave away a penalty for the second one, and David Raya headed the ball to May for the third goal.
Rovers looked in trouble, and they needed to find a way to stop fans turning against the team.
Bradford City 0-1 Rovers – League One – 19th August 2017
Rovers needed a response & quickly when they headed to Valley Parade to take on Bradford City, roared on by just under 2,000 supporters.
Mowbray’s men secured their first league win of the season thanks to Dominic Samuel’s 47th minute winner.
Rovers’ win was the first defeat that the home side had suffered in a league game at Valley Parade, which portrayed just how good the result was.
It wasn’t pretty, the goal or the match, but they showed grit & determination to grind out a much needed win & restricted Bradford to half chances as I can’t recall David Raya having a serious save to make, just the tonic for the next game.
Rovers 0-2 Burnley – Carabao Cup – 23rd August 2017
The next game was the small matter of a Lancashire Derby against that six fingered lot in Claret & Blue.
Rovers changed their side for the game, with in-form striker Dominic Samuel starting on the bench
Other than a Peter Whittingham deflected effort on 14 minutes & a Dominic Samuel goal ruled out for offside, the Premier League side comfortably progressed untroubled 2-0 thanks to two players who cost £23 million, Jack Cork & Robbie Brady.
The game unfortunately showed the gulf between the two sides, due to the money the Premier League brings a team now.
Rovers 4-1 MK Dons – League One – 26th August 2017
Rovers obviously had a point to prove after the devastating loss a few nights earlier and made light work of Milton Keynes Dons in their next home game.
They put the Buckinghamshire side to the sword during the home encounter, winning 4-1 courtesy of goals from Derrick Williams, a brace from captain Charlie Mulgrew and Dominic Samuel.
Rovers started strong, and took the lead only 90 seconds in, from a skillful strike from defender Derrick Williams. However, MK Dons equalised after a poor Mulgrew clearance fell to Ed Upson, who volleyed the ball away.
However, Captain Mulgrew added his second goal of the season with another free-kick in front of the Darwen End.
After the break, the came was end to end, before Mulgrew popped up with a casual header at the back post. Rovers made it 4 when Chapman’s pull back was met by the onrushing Dominic Samuel.
Rovers showed character to bounce back so quickly after the Cup loss by making a statement of intent with a dominant display against a side who maybe in the shake up for promotion come May.
Rovers 1-0 Stoke City U21’s – Checkatrade Trophy – 29th August 2017
The final game of the month saw Rovers kick off their Checkatrade Trophy with a narrow 1-0 victory over Stoke City U21s.
In a game which was largely forgettable with few chances, substitute Joe Nuttall came off the bench to net the decisive goal on 77 minutes on his debut, giving the Blue & White army 3 points in their group.
Rovers now face Bury on the 3rd October at home, before concluding their group away to Rochdale on the 7th November at Spotland.
My final thoughts is that, even though August didn’t start off too well with 2 straight league losses & poor showings in both games, the results against Bradford & MK Dons should give fans belief that the team are starting to learn what League 1 is all about.
Once Tony Mowbray finds out what team is his best 11, Rovers should move up towards the top end of the table sooner rather than later.
Come on you Blues!