Last autumn Bristol Rovers entertained Southend Utd at the Mem and after a poor first half found themselves 2-0 down to the struggling Shrimpers. After 15 minutes of the hairdryer treatment from then manager Graham Coughlan, Rovers came out for the second half and blew their opponents away with a confident four-goal blast, writes Steve Knowlson.

There was to be no repeat of a stirring second 45 comeback at Roots Hall last Saturday as Rovers limped to an embarrassing 3-1 defeat at the hands of League Two-bound Southend.

It was yet another dismal performance from the men in blue and white quarters. Bereft of spirit, fight or skill, Rover surrendered to a team packed with youngsters, with many of their players unpaid, under a transfer embargo and on a run of six straight defeats. Yet we made them look like Brazil.

I won’t dwell on the gory details of yet another horrible 90 minutes for Ben Garner’s men, but suffice to say that the only bright spot was a decent performance and well-taken goal by young Jayden Mitchell-Lawson – everyone else was poor.

After a chastening run of results, the enigma that is Bristol Rovers continued to confound Gasheads after they witnessed our best performance this year, versus Sunderland on Tuesday night. Rovers ran out worthy 2-0 winners against the promotion-chasing Black Cats just a few short weeks after capitulating to the visitors at the Stadium of Light.

Rovers gave a disciplined, incisive display limiting Sunderland to very little whilst we confidently took the chances which came our way – both dispatched by Jonson Clark-Harris. His first goal was a smart turn and finish from an Ollie Clarke cross after fine work from Alex Rodman; the second was from the penalty spot midway through the second half after Power handled Leahy’s cross in the area.

It could have been more – Cameron Hargreaves was booked for diving after being brought down by the visiting keeper – it was as blatant a penalty as you’ll see. The performance was the polar opposite to the one served up against Southend.

The club needed that – let’s hope this is a sign of things to come under Garner.