Bristol Rovers fans' panel: Reaction to 2-2 draw at Hartlepool in League Two
ROVERS battled hard in the second half to rescue a point against Hartlepool on Saturday but a poor first-half performance proved costly.
It was surprising that the team did not seem fired up from the outset as they should have been eager to put things right after two consecutive league defeats.
Instead the first half was a poor, lacklustre display riddled with errors and a lack of flowing football.
It was a surprise to see young Mitch Harding partnering Harrold up front instead of Eliot Richards or the more experienced Clarkson, while Lockyer at least was restored to the midfield.
Starting Richards on the left was a case of putting square pegs in round holes and highlighted the lack of options we have in the wide positions.
Bond made his home debut on the right side of midfield but did not do enough to convince Gasheads that Ward had improved the squad in any way by recruiting him on loan, when we are crying out for a winger.
Rovers finally produced a moment of quality with a marauding run down the left by Brown, allowing Richards to cross to Harrold, who expertly turned and shot to give the Pirates the lead.
However to concede a goal immediately afterwards showed a lack of concentration and focus from the players which was disappointing.
When Hartlepool took the lead before half-time it summed up a poor, disjointed display.
Rovers were much better after the break, playing some neat football and showing much more energy and drive to get back on level terms, with the ever-impressive Michael Smith at the heart of our best play.
The equaliser by O’Toole with just minutes to go was well deserved, but in no way excused the below-par first half when the damage was done.
Fans are bemused how a team which looked so impressive in the second half of last season can now be so mediocre.
Ward’s continuing refusal to pick Gill is another mystifying issue that needs clarification from the manager or the club.
Rovers have an opportunity to bounce back and secure our first away win of the season with a Friday evening game at Southend.
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