Bristol Rovers verdict: Silver living at Carlisle as similarities show from 2016 success
There were plenty of talking points from the events that unfolded at Brunton Park
Bristol Rovers’ promotion bid took a slight snag as they lost 1-0 to Carlisle United at Brunton Park.
Kristian Dennis scored in the second-half to give Paul Simpson’s side a sixth win in seven since his arrival.
Here are the key takeaways from the defeat from the Gas in their frustrating Saturday afternoon up in Cumbria.
A good omen?
Ideally, you wouldn’t want to drop any points but Saturday’s defeat to Carlisle United is eerily similar to Rovers’ last promotion campaign.
Back in March 2016, the 28th to be exact, Carlisle won 3-2 against Rovers and then after that, there were no more defeats.
Rovers’ final game of the season was a home match against the already relegated Dagenham & Redbridge.
You’d probably want to wrap up your business earlier and avoid any final day drama but given the closeness and competitiveness of the league that is unlikely to happen.
Rovers have Scunthorpe United at the Memorial Stadium and they look to be moving ever closer to the National League with them ten points adrift of safety with one more game played than Stevenage.
A day of learning for the youthful defence
An enforced reshuffle of the defence unsettled what had been a solid back four. Nick Anderton missing out and Harry Anderson coming in isn’t something that is completely new to the remaining members of the defence.
Saturday was a bit of a lesson for the likes of Luca Hoole and James Connolly though, who will benefit from experiences like this.
Hoole failed to stop Omari Patrick and ultimately, the Carlisle striker was able to get the ball into the box and then came the goal.
For Connolly, there were a few issues such as giving goal scorer Dennis a chance, but he did make amends by getting in the way of a few shots.
Evans is as important as ever
For the past few games, Elliot Anderson has been the main attraction but the absence of Evans left a noticeable gap in the middle of the park.
Finley played in a more advanced role and had a few chances but ultimately it’s an area for Evans to play. Finley is best suited as a box-to-box midfielder, breaking up play and getting other midfielders involved.
Evans at times has played deep and it’s been a mixed bag with some games being quiet whilst others he’s impacted the game.
There continues to be a desire for the 23-year-old to sign a new contract for the club but right now, it’s all about getting as many games as possible out of him.
Evans has already missed a couple of games this season but there is a hope that his injury isn’t too severe as losing him at this point of the season could come as a massive blow.
Closeness of the league
Tuesday’s fixtures won’t have a massive baring on the promotion race but Mansfield Town are going to be clearing their games in hand and they could take their place in the top seven with a win.
After Saturday’s results, the teams from fourth to seventh were all on 63 points and only separated by goal difference.
Perhaps the biggest frustration is not making the most of the win over Northampton Town last week as now Rovers are three points behind them.