BRIDGWATER VPR (0) 0:2 (0) ROVERS
scorers: Elsworthy (2)
Rovers huffed and puffed against a very strong – and useful – VPR Bridgwater side who it took until 20 minutes from time to get the better of, and a late second goal kept the Rovers run going. It’s now five successive clean sheets for goalkeeper Harrison Burton and his now regular back-three of captain fantastic – Tom Badcott – Ryan Harder and Josh McLean – and how the two new lads to this new-look Rovers back line have settled in since joining the team at the start of the current season. Young Burton has not conceded a goal for almost 500 minutes and the last time the team conceded was back in April when Wembdon scored at Silver Street. Indeed the team is now unbeaten in 2014 with one match remaining!
The game at Bridgwater College, on the same pitch that Wembdon had been beaten on a month before, saw the home side make a powerful start and had it not been for goal line clearances by Ryan Harder and Tom Badcott then there would be no on-going clean sheet record to sing about! There was also a smart save from Harrison Burton, but at the other end both Ollie Elsworthy and Philip Andrew had sights of goals, but to no avail. Rovers started with a new centre forward following the signing of Levi Edwardson who has long been admired by Rovers boss Clive Jones who says of his new signing “He’s a real centre forward, someone who holds the ball up well, has quick feet, knows where the goal is and is happy to bring others into play.”
Such was the state of play at half-time that the boss (Clive Jones) was heard to say: “Look lads, this is the first time you have come across a team that has out-muscled you and out fought you. That’s not something you are all used to in this team I know. However, over then years I have seen each and every one of you play for all sorts of teams and I have to say I have never seen you collectively produce what you just did in that first 40 minutes. So what are we going to do about it? I know what you’ll do, each one of you will up your game in the second half and make sure we come off the pitch knowing there was nowt else we could do in the game- and with a smile – please!”
The players responded, but the home side were equally determined, it seemed, to be the first side to stop this Rovers outfit winning a game. There were chances at the VPR end of the pitch and one cross from Sam Jones eluded everybody before, with 20 minutes remaining a well-driven shot into and across the box by Owen Buxton was touched home by Ollie Elsworthy. Ten minutes later Elsworthy fired another shot towards goal that took a deflection – but the goal is his and an Elsworthy double saw Rovers to another clean sheet success!
Rovers were once again solid in defence with the imperious Tom Badcott wo0rking hard to make sure that the prized clean sheet runs on. His partnership with Ryan Harder has been mentioned before – but it really is a solid unit an done that is so well complemented by Josh McLean. In midfield there was one shining star in this game and that was the youngest member of the team. Connor Pengelly plays his Saturday football at Under-15 level and he really did have a fine game in the engine room and did not look like he was playing a year up! Owen Buxton stood out after the break when he delivered a mature midfield performance and of coursed it was his powerful drive into the box that created the deadlock-breaking goal.
Sam Jones once again showed the full range of his passing ability as the senior player in the midfield trio whilst wing backs Phil Andrew and Ollie Elsworthy showed just why they are regulars in this Clive Jones side with plenty of industry up and down their respective flanks. Bailey Jason-Ryan and new man Levi Edwardson had both played 120 minutes of a morning County Cup tie for their Saturday side before dashing up the M5 top Bridgwater and both played their part. Edwardson looks a real bonus for the side going forward. Mitchell Dart played a key role and once again showed how important his set piece delivery is to the side, and, had it not been for the excellence of the home goalkeeper at the corner deliveries then Rovers may have scored before they did! Ryan Shrewsberry did what he always does – gave his all and he played the entire second half looking composed throughout and making some timely tackles.
A special mention also to Jordan Biss who was stripped ready for action and did not get game time, but he took it in his stride and that’s why this particular Rovers squad are so successful.
As for a star man: On this occasion the honour goes to young Connor Pengelly for his quality contribution in the engine room of the midfield trio.
After thought: This was arguably the sides toughest challenge to date this season. The home side were a big and strong outfit and played their part in making Rovers work harder than they might have expected to have done. Full credit must got to the VPR coach and his team. Rovers were not at their fluent best, but much of that was down to the great work from the home side.