Everything but a pasty !
Yep, that’s right, last night had indeed everything but a pasty and that was my brother’s fault for not getting them in at half-time !
Leaving Colchester at half two in the afternoon a pretty easy journey down the A12, M25 and M4 took us to the outskirts of Bristol and we were parked (Downend Road for future reference) by six o’clock and heading for somewhere to eat.
But first … what of last week’s goings-on ?
Well, following our ‘performance’ against Swindon on the telly Russell Slade gets the inevitable big push from Roland, although I do wonder how nuch of the reason behind that was a backlash from the ‘Roland Out’ Taxi visit to Belgium ?
Still Russell can sit on his settee with a pocket full of cash, knowing that he’s probably well out of it.
And so onto Port Vale at home with temporary gaffer Kevin Nugent in charge. Not a lot of positivity around the place when I arrived with the few I spoke to barely bothered about the result and not expecting much anyway, with Chris Solly unavailable and Ricky Holmes with the now diagnosed broken foot.
A nifty pound on Jason Pearce to score the opener almost came true as his header rebounded back off the crossbar but I was quite happy to lose it when Morgan Fox picked out Josh Magennis at the far stick to head back across the keeper and put us in front.
That brief spell quietened the twit somewhere behind me who had spent the previous half haour moaning how Foxy was stealing a living as a footballer and that he should know to sit right on the winger and mark him instead of doing exactly what he was doing and giving up the long ball but keeping the winger on the outside.
What made it even better was when Port Vale tried the same pass and Morgan, in the correct position, intercepted the pass, slotted in Nicky Ajose and celebrated as much as we did when Ajose tucked it past the keeper for our second.
Chappy behind didn’t say a lot after this funnily enough !!
Unfortunately twit a bit too the left then started up with such suggestions as Nugent is clueless playing Foley and not Solly (injured you berk) and various other blithering – fortunately he left relatively early.
I thought Kevin Foley played pretty well at full back. Obviously with Chris Solly being Chris Solly I think we’ve been a little bit spoiled over the last few years so with him now out for quite a while, Foley has a lot to live up to. Provided he defends well, and puts the same amount of effort in, that’ll do just fine for me.
So, pretty much a re-run of the first forty-five minutes up at Port Vale but this time we got a couple of goals and were pressing Vale all over the park.
The second half started a bit better than the last few with us once again pushing on and they had one real chance that came to nothing. Jordan Botaka came on with half an hour to play for Jacko but didn’t really affect the game much and Hanlan replaced the knackered Josh Magennis and nearly increased our lead but stopped when in on goal but possibly knew he was likely to be flagged offside.
A bit of a nail-biter in case we conceded, but we didn’t and stand-in gaffer Kevin Nugent had win number one under his belt.
So, who would we be getting as the new manager ? A variety, nare I say and abundance of possibilities including former players such as Lee Bowyer and Jorge Costa (definitely no and yes), Johnnie Jackson, Andy Hughes and so many more.
Of course the main name in the frame was Chris O’Loughlin, one time lackey of Roland and world travelled coach of some renown. (When I say ‘some’ I do mean ‘some’ but with a raised eyebrow and a quite significant smirk)
He ‘joined’ the coaching team – surely just a matter of time before that announcement comes our way.
But for the meantime Kevin Nugent remained in charge and we set out sights on the away trip to Bristol Rovers.
And so we’re back in Eastville. A wander round the ground and down the main road (Gloucester Road) searching primarily for somewhere with a toilet we passed by the very popular Bristol Fryer chippery and ended up at The Anchor.
Food suitably tucked away and back to the ground to claim our spot on the terracing. I haven’t stood properly at a football match for absolutely donkeys so it was actually something a little bit exciting.
Another good start and Ademola Lookman gets us going with a super (if deflected) finish, cutting back across and pinging it with his apparently weaker left peg past the keeper.
Bristol Rovers weren’t awful by any means with Dean Gaffney’s younger brother Rory being a bit of a nuisance up front but the back four were excellent and kept them at bay, with debutant Dillon Phillips making a couple of excellent blocks and one tremendous save (although that one wouldn’t have counted anyway).
We still needed a second and nabbed it just before the break with a really good move that ended with Adam Chicksen (who was getting better and better as the game went on) getting on the end of a cross from Lookman and knocking it back inside for a super touch from Josh Magennis to make it two.
Two up at half time ? Again ? What was going on ?
Bristol Rovers made a double change at half time but alas to no avail as we went three up within five minutes thanks to a (finally) good corner from Ademola Lookman and a powerful header from Patrick Bauer that Kelle Roos made a bish of and pushed into the bottom.
Another Bristol Rovers change brought on another striker but we just looked like we were now in control.
Obviously being a Charlton fan, three-nil up away from home is usually the time you cross your fingers and ‘take a point’, but a half chance for Charlton left a Rovers’ centre half in a crumpled heap, three subs already made and they were down to ten.
Fair play to them, they didn’t give up and kept passing the ball around but it always seemed to just be a matter of time before we got another one and a good pass from Morgan Fox met a well-timed run from Adam Chicksen and he beat Roos with a right-footed drive to make it four before slapping the badge.
Botaka and Hanlan on for Lookman and Chicksen, a couple of half chances messed up either by a poor final pass or a bad first touch but Nicky Ajose added to his tally with a neat strike from maybe thirty yards to pick out the bottom corner and make it five.
Having pretty much hugged the guy next to me when Bauer scored, me and he discussed the likelihood of a sixth and Paul, for that was (and indeed is) his name, was almost begging for it.
Another chance came and went before Ajose burst forward, Botaka and Hanlan were either side and both looked a shoe-in for number six and making Paul’s day perfect but instead he went for the glory moment and fired over the bar.
A bit of a taint on the night in the last minute or so when Dillon Phillips conceded a penalty as Rory Gaffney brought down a long ball deep inside our box but hey, we just won 5-1 away at Bristol Rovers !!
Other highlights, Sebby Lewis playing air guitar during the half time interval, the fact that Rovers’ supporters are called Gas Heads and indeed junior fans are Little Gas ‘eds, the chap behind us who spent most of the first half querying whether Dillon Phillips would get recalled to Norwich City because he was in fact Declan Rudd and the same fella who wanted Novak on with fifteen minutes to go to ‘put himself about’ !!
A decent journey back, in bed by 1.15am and now the wait for the new manager – expected very much to be Karl Robinson. To be honest, I’m not too bothered who is the manager as long as we play the same way we did Saturday and last night and the poor bugger is allowed to lose a game once in a while without getting his marching orders.
Home to Sheffield Utd on Saturday – a new batch of protests ahead which I hope that Robinson (or whoever) understands the reasons for and doesn’t get arsey with the fans cos that will do him no favours at all.
So, support the team, not the regime.
C’mon you Reds