It takes a lot to ruin at day out at the seaside for me. Amazingly, Rovers managed it.
I was in high hopes when I arrived in Blackpool on Saturday. Before the game, I was sat in a chippy attached to the Tower, looking at the Central Pier, the donkeys walking along the beach and the famous brown, murky sea when I made a very bold claim: “I think we’ll win every game this month. No doubt about it”. Our performances so far this month, although not brilliant, showed promise of great things and made picking up tough wins seem easy.
I was wrong, so very wrong. Perhaps the sea air got in my system and simply clouded my judgement, or perhaps Rovers should have won but instead completely fell to pieces. Seemingly, being in a popular holiday resort allowed Fergies’ men the perfect excuse to take a day off, get out a deck chair and not even try.
When the game started, I genuinely still thought my prediction was right. Within forty seconds Rovers had taken the lead, albeit due to an own goal from Blackpool defender Taylor deflecting the ball into the back of the net following Rovers’ first attack. Blair looked great as he ran along the right wing, Marquis managed to create chances despite being up front on his own, Baudry looked strong and comfortable in his position despite possibly lacking match fitness.
Just like riding the Pepsi Max after a few suspect pints in Blackpool, everything quickly went downhill. An absolutely pathetic excuse for a tackle from Jordan Houghton just outside the box, and a quick free-kick left our defence totally unprepared and allowed Blackpool to get even. This gave a visible life to Blackpool’s game and their ‘one to watch’ Potts managed to somehow effortlessly chip the ball over Marko Marosi, putting us behind at half time. Playing the usual role of ‘onlooker’ during both first half goals was Cedric Evina; though he did seem to take a knock just before the free kick. Nobody will ever know wether it was the ongoing effect of the knock that made his movement so static or his ongoing determination to prove he’s shit at defending.
In the second half, Blackpool started things off the way Rovers did in the first half, scoring a goal in the 47th and 48th minutes. It is impossible to tell why Rovers totally fell apart in such a horrific, disappointing and downright depressing fashion. It was one of them games where passing the ball to your own players suddenly became a foreign concept, defending seemed like the most challenging task our back line had ever seen and the Blackpool side kicked lumps out of us across the park – much to the delight of the disinterested referee it seemed.
If any fans in that away end thought things couldn’t get any worse by this point, they were sadly mistaken when one of our most impressive players this season so far, Marko Marosi, was taken off due to what looked like a very serious injury to his back or ribs and couldn’t even stand up straight as the physio helped him off the pitch. Ross Etheridge, who was obviously delighted, didn’t even look at his fellow goalkeeper as he reclaimed his place in the net.
Rovers began to pick up pace during the latter part of the second half. When Tommy Rowe scored his first penalty (and the 2nd of a depressing 6th taken by Rovers players this season), its safe to say the Rovers fans were shocked. Chants about winning 5-4 echoed around the almost empty stadium and the disbelief that we’d actually netted a spot kick on this dismal day was evident on the faces of many…
This didn’t last long when he missed his second penalty of the game, cementing defeat and ruining what could have been a lovely day out.
- Ross Etheridge: Ross has been desperate to get back into the Rovers side since he was replaced by Marosi in the EFL Cup game against Nottingham Forest. Marosi has since been an exceptional goalkeeper, making Etheridge’s first team hopes seem very slim. He must be delighted at the opportunity to once again prove himself to Fergie.
- Andy Williams: I miss him. I miss his work ethic, I miss his constant threat in front of goal, I miss his slightly poor attitude when he flails his arms about or rests them on his hips, I miss how bloody brilliant we play when he’s in the side. Please have a speedy recovery Andy, we love you.
- The trouble before half time: I disagree with fighting at football games full stop, but at least this confrontation between two Rovers fans provided some actual entertainment and excitement that was very much lacking throughout. It was like watching WWE honestly. At least it meant that certain supporters were lucky enough to miss the rest of this diabolical performance.
- Marko Marosi: I’m absolutely gutted that he’s gotten injured, especially considering the progress he’s made so far this season. In addition to this, conceding four sloppy goals allows Etheridge to further stake his claim in the first team.
- Cedric Evina: It was like he was completely non-existent in defence today. Even more so than usual. I don’t even hate Evina, at times I really value his attacking play, and with the living nightmare of ATS still fresh in my mind, we should be thankful that he is playing over him. However it baffles me that Tyler Garratt hasn’t even had a look-in when it comes to making the first team instead, given the blatant weak-spot being exposed time and time again.
- Paul Keegan: The minute we went 1-0 up, I shouted “get Keegan on” and I meant it. We needed his solidity to hang on to the win we had attained, in the way SOD used to with the lovely Mark Wilson. If he can’t get a game in fixtures like this where we desperately require solidity in midfield to support a sloppy defence, when will we ever see my favourite Irishman return again?