Bristol Rovers fans' panel: Reaction to 2-1 League Two defeat at Exeter City and League Cup defeat against Watford
ROVERS’ season got off to a disappointing start on Saturday with a narrow defeat at Exeter.
The Pirates went into battle with 10 players on the injury list, leaving John Ward unable to fill the substitutes’ bench.
A point would have been a decent result for our depleted squad at St James’ Park, but our hopes were dashed when the Grecians’ second goal proved to be the winner in their 2-1 victory.
There was no shortage of spirit in the side, which Ward has instilled and most importantly maintained since taking over last season.
But the loss of Harrold last week was a devastating blow, as we are already missing the power of Brunt up front.
That forced Ward to hand Mitch Harding his full senior debut and although the 19-year-old is of one of many promising youngsters at the club, expecting him to get the better of experienced Exeter defenders Coles and Baldwin was asking a lot of the lone frontman.
Rovers showed good character to come back from a goal down thanks to the predatory instincts of Richards, who needs to grasp this opportunity to make a striker’s role his own.
But the lack of know-how from a young side proved costly as we allowed Exeter to clinch all three points.
The quality of Championship side Watford also shone through at the Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night as the Gas exited the Capital One Cup.
But there was plenty to be positive about despite the 3-1 defeat, as another youthful Rovers side were not overawed by the opposition, battled until the end and produced some neat, attractive football.
The difference was the finishing as the Hornets punished the Pirates for errors at the back, but fans left feeling enthused at having watched an entertaining match.
The younger players showed plenty of promise once again and will have learnt a lot from the experience, which will hopefully benefit them during the forthcoming fixtures while we wait for the injured crop to return.
The arrival of Scunthorpe to the Mem on Saturday is sure to provide another tough test but three valuable points would get our season up and running.
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