ROVERS extended their unbeaten run to nine games with a battling 2-2 draw at Aldershot on Saturday.

Having gone a goal behind to a penalty in the 16th minute, the Pirates showed their character by equalising shortly before half-time thanks to Monkhouse’s deflected shot.

We took the lead in the second half when we were awarded a penalty and Taylor made no mistake from the spot.

But just as it was looking like we may secure another valuable three points to continue our charge up the table, the Shots scored from a free kick to ensure honours were even.

Although there was a sense of disappointment that we did not hang on for victory, that is a measure of how far this side has come.

Darrell Clarke pointed out that previous Rovers teams would have crumbled after going a goal down and fans would have resigned themselves at that moment to leaving empty-handed.

This group of players is made of sterner stuff and even without the inspirational Sinclair, who was injured, we showed great character to battle back and remain unbeaten.

The point leaves Rovers handily placed in fourth position in the table, four points behind leaders Barnet.

We now turn our attention to Saturday’s keenly-anticipated match at home to Forest Green Rovers. It is a local derby and there are plenty of familiar players on view among the opposition so the fixture should generate a sizeable crowd.

Forest Green have a budget that is the envy of most clubs at this level so are expected to be contesting the promotion places this year.

It will be a good test for the Gas to see if our unbeaten run can be extended, or better still we can beat our visitors to close the gap at the top.

We performed well at the New Lawn in August and were unlucky not to emerge with all three points from that game. A win on Saturday would send out a statement to the rest of the division that we have really found our feet at this level and will be pushing hard for promotion.