Many good sides rely on an SAS strike force, from Blackburn in the 90’s, England in the 00’s and Liverpool today. Willand have found a pair of SAS goal scorers. Dean Stamp scored his 10th of the season and David Steele his 4th of the season to give Rovers three points against 4th place Cadbury and banish the ghosts of a soggy Wednesday night. This was a double celebration for the club as club stalwart Mike ‘Bacon’ Mears reached his octogenarian status his support behind the scenes is invaluable to the club, all Rovers salute you Mike, Happy Birthday. Having lost once in September, Rovers started October with a defeat as they succumbed to a narrow home defeat to top of the table Gillingham. A quiet Wednesday night dressing room gave Rovers the necessary fire in their belly for todays encounter. Dave Hambly replaced Russell Jee at left back was the only personnel change although some of the players swapped positions from Wednesdays game. Todays game started as you would expect from two footballing teams with the usual sparring and jousting neither side were able to create much in the first 20 minutes as the teams sized each other up. The game suddenly woke up with a flowing Rovers move involving Dan Western and Stamp whose righted footed effort was smothered. Not to be disappointed Steele won the ball in midfield slipped the ball through to Stamp who turned his defender and rifled his shot into the top of the net. Rovers 1 up. Western had a shot which was fumbled by the keeper who reacted quick enough to gather the ball before it crossed the line. But it wasn’t all Rovers, Heath threatened but with each attack they were repelled by the Rovers back line, there one chance at goal was nullified by Sam Alexander’s brave dive at the on rushing strikers feet. Into the second half and another Stamp effort flashed wide. In the 50th minute all Rovers efforts seemed to have been cancelled out as Heath grabbed an equaliser with a far post finish. But Rovers rolled up their sleeves and got back into the game, 7 minutes later Luke Alden beat two players out wide moved the ball inside to Scott Rogers who in turn passed it onto Stamp whose neat dummy set up Steele whose sublime chip nestled into the top corner. In the last 15 minutes of the game Heath threw everything they had at Rovers, Alexander made two class saves to keep Rovers ahead. Each of the back four made telling blocks when an equaliser looked certain. Simon Hill for the second week in a row gave all watching a defensive master class on how to be a determining, nuggety, aggressive winner which again earned him the man of match award. With Heath pushing for that goal Rovers exploited the gaps at the back. Stamp should have done better with a free header and Rogers shot curled past the far post. But Willand were worthy winners and narrowed the gap to the visitors to 2 points.
Rovers: Alexander; Wannell©, Hill, Clampin, Hambly: Western D, Steele, Hopkinson, Alden: Rogers, Stamp: Subs: Jee for Hopkinson (75) R Western for Rogers (89).
Speaking to Willand legend after the game Hedley Steele was pleased with a more cohesive team performance. Rovers probably felt they deserved at least a draw on Wednesday and Heath probably felt the same today, but that’s football.