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Archived News from November 2006

10th November 2006 21:02

Press conference with Peter Shirtliff and interview with Craig Disley (file is 0.6 Mb). Clips here
Audio interview with Peter Shirtliff from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed)
Paul Trollope press conference

Paul Trollope was relieved to see his side grab a late winner against Mansfield Town, to secure his side's second victory in a week.

Craig Disley popped up in the closing stages of the clash with Mansfield Town to superbly head home a fine Sammy Igoe delivery.

The result moves Rovers up the League Two table to 13th, and with a fortnight break until the next league match, Paul knew picking up three points today was important.

"It was nice to win the game for the three points, and for the clean sheet as well," Paul told bristolrovers.co.uk, "It was a tight affair and there weren't many chances at all for either side.

"It did open up a bit in the second half, and we needed Steve Phillips to make a good save to keep us in it before we put them under a bit of pressure towards the end.

"We didn't create too much, but that one bit of quality from Sammy Igoe found Craig Disley, and it was a nice finish. It was a touch of class and that spark we needed.

"Craig has had a good couple of performances in the side recently, and he's in there to give us more of a goal threat. He made some good runs against Wycombe in the week but didn't get the finish touch, something he did today.

"We know we're expected to win our home games, so it was a relief seeing the ball go in the back of the net. Sometimes we haven't had our rewards when we've played some decent stuff, so today it was good to get a late winner, although there's still plenty for us to work on."

The game seemed to be heading for a scoreless draw, something Paul himself felt as he made a double substitution early on in the second half, removing Andy Sandell and Jamal Easter from the pitch.

"It's been a hard week, and they're both young lads, especially Jamal," he said, "I think Jamal found it a bit difficult against their big central defenders, and the two substitutes made the impact we wanted. They gave us more legs and the spark to step up the pressure on them."

Rovers will next be in league action a week on Saturday when Paul will take his players north to tackle Bury.

"It's been a decent run over the last month or two, and although we were disappointed to lose at Wrexham, our form hasn't been that bad," he said.

"We're still not where we want to be in the table, but today gives us something to build on after the break. We're not the finished article by any means, but we believe we're moving in the right direction."

The FA Cup round one meeting with Barrow lies in wait first for Paul, and he knows it's a game when the pressure is all on his side.

"The FA Cup first round is always a special date in the calendar, and it will feel different as we prepare for it," he said, "It will be a new experience for Bristol Rovers, but we'll go up there on the back of two wins into another game that we should win.

"After that, hopefully by the time the next league game comes around, we will have improved further, especially in the final third. There's no reason why we can't go into the Bury match having won three on the bounce, and ensuring that will be our objective next weekend."

Nottingham Evening Post, 06 November 2006
Peter Shirtliff blasted his Mansfield players for failing to complete the job at Bristol Rovers.

The Stags looked set for a point which would have stretched their unbeaten run to six games.

But Craig Disley struck a late winner for Rovers, leaving Shirtliff disappointed.

"We switched off. We didn't close the ball down for the cross and then we allowed them far, far, far too much room when the ball was delivered.

"It was just a succession of mistakes that led to the goal. I'm surprised we lost the game and disappointed as well."

Things might have been different if second-half substitute Michael Boulding had taken a golden opportunity.

Shirtliff felt the former Grimsby and Barnsley man should have done better.

He said: "We have to get the first goal and we should have when Michael was through. It was a good chance, but he didn't finish it.

"I think he could have taken it on a bit further before shooting because he was well clear of the defenders.

"He could have had another touch but he chose to shoot early. He's a good finisher so he's disappointed and I am as well because if we'd scored the first goal I'm confident we would have gone on to win."

Danny Reet (head), Matt Hamshaw (calf) and Giles Coke (dead leg) all picked up slight knocks but should recover in time for Saturday's FA cup tie.

Nottingham Evening Post, 06 November 2006

Craig Disley felt no sympathy for Mansfield after scoring the winner against his old club.

He pounced to head home a Sammy Igoe cross in the dying stages.

"I didn't feel sorry for them because it is a few years since I left Mansfield," said Disley.

"People dream about scoring against their old club so it is nice that it happened for me.

"It was a great ball in from Sammy and I just drifted in behind their defenders to get on the end of it. Luckily for me it went in the top corner."

The goal was his first of the season and he was delighted to put a bad run behind him.

He said: "I think you saw the relief come out in the celebration because it has been a frustrating few weeks for me.

"It's not just that I haven't scored, I haven't been happy with some of my performances either."

Nottingham Evening Post, 06 November 2006

Bristol Rovers 1 - 0 Mansfield Town
Having seen him do it for them on several occasions, Mansfield's fans always knew it was a distinct possibility.

But for the 212 hardy souls who made the long journey down to the Memorial Stadium, that did not make Craig Disley's late winner any easier to take.

The former Stags midfielder had not managed to get on the scoresheet all season - and had not been in the best of form either.

But all that changed when he swooped late on to snatch the points for a Rovers side who had rarely threatened Carl Muggleton's goal all afternoon.

In a game that was lacking in any kind of inspiration - particularly in the first half - the goalless draw that seemed the likely outcome would have been a fair result.

And having failed to keep a clean sheet on their travels in League Two this season, Mansfield would have settled for that.

But their five match unbeaten run - which had taken in the whole of October - was ended by the one flash of quality.

The Stags had defended so well for so long, but switched off in the moments leading up to Disley's winner.

As boss Peter Shirtliff told his team, it is paramount to stay switched on for the whole match, not just most of it, or you are going to be punished.

The leading sides grind out the results in the ugliest of games and when they are not at their best. Mansfield, though, are finding that very hard away from Field Mill.

The truth was that Rovers - who have struggled to score goals all season - were an average side who were there for the taking had things gone Stags' way.

But the home side made the most of the one real chance that came their way and Mansfield spurned theirs.

Only minutes after coming off the bench, Michael Boulding raced clear of the Rovers defence and had a glorious opportunity.

But his effort, though well struck, was saved by Steve Phillips diving to his left in what proved to be a turning point.

Had the Stags netted then, it would have been likely they would have gone on to win, or at the very least, draw.

As it was, the visiting supporters were left with another miserable journey back up the M5.

With Alan Sheehan unable to take his place at left-back because of a toe injury, Gareth Jelleyman occupied that slot. Giles Coke moved over to the left of midfield while Stephen Dawson came back into the centre after recovering from an ankle injury.

They were pushed back by Rovers in the early stages but Jon-Olav Hjelde and Alex John-Baptiste rarely looked troubled. The central defensive duo mopped up pretty much everything that came their way.

Going forward was a different story with the in-form Richard Barker and Danny Reet subdued by the Rovers rearguard. It was only in the dying seconds of the half that either side looked like scoring - and the chance fell to Mansfield - but Johnny Mullins blasted over following a long throw by Matt Hamshaw.

Fortunately after such a poor first half, things did improve after the break.

Perhaps, as much as anything, that was because the game became stretched as home boss Paul Trollope made attacking substitutions in a bid to force a win.

Pirates captain Stuart Campbell was denied by a smart block from Hjelde while John-Baptiste cleared after Muggleton had juggled a cross.

At the other end, aside from Boulding's near miss, Barker headed into the arms of Phillips and Dawson failed to collect the ball when he would have been well placed to net following Boulding's pass.

The Mansfield camp were not too downhearted, and rightly so, because they have shown signs of improvement over recent weeks.

They play Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup first round on Saturday.

At least they have no former favourite to come back to haunt them.


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