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On The Road: Bristol Rovers

28 February 2022

A photograph of Barrow striker Byron Harrison celebrating his second goal in the FA Cup win over Bristol Rovers in December 2016 Kieran Mcmanus (BPI/Shutterstock)
Byron Harrison celebrates his second goal in Barrow's win at Bristol Rovers in 2016

Phil Yelland investigates how The Bluebirds have got on during previous trips to Bristol Rovers ahead of Tuesday evening's League Two encounter at The Memorial Stadium.

Tuesday night sees us heading to Bristol to take on Bristol Rovers for our first Football League game in the city since the 1969/70 season.

Of course, we have been there more recently - in December 2016 for an FA Cup Second Round tie when Paul Cox’s National League side provided a cup upset as two Byron Harrison goals gave us a shock victory over the then League One outfit. That set up a Third Round tie at home to Rochdale, and was revenge for Rovers’ FA Cup First Round win at Holker Street just over 10 years earlier.

Before that, our three visits to the city to play Rovers had been to their old Eastville ground, when both clubs were in Division Three. The first came in October 1967 when a crowd of just under 8,000 watched as Rovers won 1-0 and avenged a defeat at Holker Street by the same score three weeks earlier.

The following season, the trip to Eastville took place at the start of November 1968 three nights after a 4-1 win at Hartlepool had put us on top of the Third Division. We scored our first goals at the ground – through Jim Mulvaney and Roy McCarthy - but lost 4-2.

Our final trip to Eastville was in March 1970 as we battled against relegation. The previous month, Don McEvoy had returned to the Club as boss and we went into the game with just one defeat in the previous 10 games, although five of those games had ended in draws. This time, with over 11,000 fans in the ground, we went down 2-1 with Jim Mulvaney scoring our consolation goal. As we were relegated, Rovers finished the season in third place, missing promotion by just four points.

Let’s hope we can maintain our unbeaten record at The Memorial Stadium and pick up our first EFL points in Bristol!

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