GASHEADS breathed a huge sigh of relief after a vital 2-1 victory at Wycombe on Saturday gave a massive boost to our bid to fight off relegation.
Nerves were jangling throughout the afternoon as Rovers entered a game that had been billed as the most important in their history.
Football league survival was at stake and we knew that only a win would give us a realistic chance of staying up.
As expected the fixture at Adams Park was a tense, edgy affair but the pressure was eased slightly when Lee Brown opened the scoring with a brilliant free kick to give the Pirates the lead.
Unfortunately it only lasted for nine minutes as McClure put the Chairboys back on level terms.
As news filtered through that Northampton were coasting to victory in their game at Dagenham & Redbridge, anything but a Rovers win would have left us second from bottom in the table and needing a miracle next week to stay up.
Clarke showed his budding managerial prowess by switching to a 3-5-2 formation as we went in search of the winner, and the tactical switch paid off as Clarkson proved to be our saviour.
He was in the right place at the right time to put the Gas 2-1 up with a composed finish to send 2,000 travelling fans into raptures.
However the work is not yet over as a point is still needed against Mansfield to be certain of our league status next year.
Some observers will be surprised to see two Rovers players feature in the League Two PFA team of the year, but the accolades for John-Joe O’Toole and Michael Smith are well deserved as they have been two consistent performers. Without O’Toole’s goals and tenacity in midfield we could have been relegated already, while Smith’s defensive qualities and foraging runs down the wing have always caught the eye.
Hopefully they will play their part in securing the result we need at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday so we can all relax and enjoy the summer in the knowledge that the Pirates remain a Football League club.