AN EVENTFUL week in the Rovers camp saw John Ward move upstairs to be replaced by Darrell Clarke as first team manager.
Ward takes up a director of football role in what was presented as a pre-planned appointment. I believe it may well have been pre-planned to take place after the end of the season, but to make the change with eight games to go smacks of desperation.
The writing had been on the wall for John. He will be a valuable director of football with his experience, contacts and integrity, but it was clear that he wasn’t able to stop the team’s perilous slide towards the relegation places.
The new boss has a track record of success as manager of Salisbury – winning two promotions with the Wiltshire side. His managerial reign got off to a winning start when the Gas entertained Morecambe on Saturday.
Entertained may not be quite the right word, as the match was one of the dullest spectacles I’ve seen down the Mem all season. Both sides huffed and puffed without any real conviction or quality and neither keeper had a meaningful save to make.
Just when Gasheads were resigned to another goalless home draw, Ellis Harrison made a run down the right and put in an excellent cross from which Kaid Mohamed planted a bullet header into the net.
After Clarke’s successful debut, his next task was to try and lead the squad to a rare and precious away victory at Bury. Unfortunately the evening started badly as Bury’s on-loan youngster, Hallam Hope, scored after three minutes. Our performance improved late in the first half and the Gas were rewarded when Mohamed deflected in an Ollie Clarke strike to send the teams in at 1-1.
The second half was an even affair with Rovers dominating for periods before our defence went to sleep and the Bury sub scored from a corner with one of his first touches.
Another defeat on the road means that we are nowhere near safe yet; much rests on Darrell Clarke’s shoulders.