What could have been a potential banana skin ended as a little more than a glorified training session. Rob Johnson dissects Rovers second consecutive home victory:
- Well that was easy! From the moment Tyson’s brilliant run and cross was fired home by Andy Williams to the final whistle, Rovers were in complete control. No goals conceded from set pieces. No injuries. The closest Rovers came to an uncomfortable moment was when a Stalybridge fan exposed his magnificent Northern arse cheeks to the cold November air.
- Having said that this should have been a walk in the park considering that Ferguson undoubtedly picked his strongest side with Mattioni coming in for Cameron Stewart as the only change from Saturdays victory over Colchester. The first XI stepped up to the challenge accordingly and swept Stalybridge away.
- Front to back this was a strong performance from Rovers with Stuckmann having little to do but looking convincing when Stalybridge did trouble the reds, particularly a close range header in the second half. The back four were once again composed and solid since the switch to 5-3-2 and Middleton and Grant made for a hard working engine room which again gave Coppinger, Tyson, Evina and Williams a platform to build from.
- Coppinger actually didn’t do a great deal but he showed glimpses of what has kept him in the first XI for 12 years and based on his improvement in the last few games he is once again being picked on talent and merit rather than reputation. The roar and standing ovation during the 26th minute were a testament to everything Copps has achieved at Rovers. Two stadiums, four promotions, numerous players and managers and 469 appearances. As I said when writing about Colin Cramb, the word legend is thrown around a lot these days, particularly in football, but in the case of James Coppinger it is the only word to describe what he means to the club and to the fans.
- What was promising was the link up play between Copps and Mattioni. Copps has played in front of some absolute dross in the last few years and he thrived from having someone on his wavelength overlapping and linking up. Mattioni was a revelation. Quick, skillful, positive, he was everything you look for in a full/wing back. I tried not to get to excited as this is only Stalybridge Celtic after all but when Mattioni beat three men and played a perfect ball to Copps in the second half I definitely felt my dick move.
Tyson & Williams – Nathan Tyson’s determined cut back and Williams composed finish are hopefully a sign of things to come this season as the partnership clicked immediately against Stalybridge. Williams continued where he left off against Colchester and he was unlucky not to get a hat trick.
Cedric Evina – From laughing stock to one of the first names on the team sheet. Nobody would begrudge Evina such a meteoric rise. His work rate and willingness to run at players was once again a joy to watch against Stalybride.
The Stalybridge fans – Decent numbers and made a fair bit of a noise. The Celtic boys put a lot of league 1 clubs to shame. Extra marks for a couple of verses of ‘We all hate Leeds scum’
Harry Forrester – It shows how influential Forrester is that I have written about him so much this season even though he has barely played. It is hard to image that he won’t go elsewhere in January and that is a shame but something must be going on to keep him so firmly on the bench.
The Rovers stewards – Don’t they know the only way to end a pitch invasion is for ten of them to jump on the offender and beat the shit out of him? Send them back to stewarding school.
Man of the Match – Could have been Mattioni, Williams, Evina or Grant but for me Harry Middleton was the best player on the pitch. A complete performance. Bad news for Richie Wellens.