Date:Sunday July 5 2009
Continuing with the review of the season and we have now reached December.
After another frustrating month for Rovers fans in November, could December finally see their good play produce some goals and positive results?
The first game of the month saw Plymouth Argyle visit the Keepmoat.
Rovers made it five games undefeated when a superb strike by Brian Stock gave them all three points.
Rovers were soon back in action at Preston on Tuesday night, it was back to the old story in this one of playing well but coming away with nothing. Jon Parkin came off the bench to earn Preston all three points with just eight minutes remaining.
Rovers followed this up with a trip to the capital at Crystal Palace, after taking a deserved lead on fifteen minutes through Paul Heffernan Rovers were again to get some poor decisions against them which would mean they came away empty handed.
Shefki Kuqi equalised for Palace soon afterwards when Matt Mills was adjudged to have fouled the striker inside the area.
The decision looked very harsh and what made matters worse was Mills was shown a straight red card as he was the last man.
Kuqi made no mistake from the spot.
Rovers battled hard and looked to have earned a deserved point but their hearts were broken in the last minute when Alan Lee scored the winner for Palace.
Next up for Rovers were top of the table Wolves at home, it certainly didn`t look like a game between top and bottom of the table and once again Rovers could feel aggrieved to come away with nothing.
Neil Collins scored the only goal of the game for the table toppers inside the last ten minutes, what made matters worse was Collins should have been shown a straight red earlier in the half when he was the last man and brought down Lewis Guy when he was through on goal.
If that wasn`t bad enough the referee and his assistant somehow missed a clear push on Lewis Guy in the area by goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey much to the frustration of everyone connected with Rovers.
Rovers went into the Christmas period once again bottom of the table and next up came a relegation six pointer at Nottingham Forest.
The Forest game was to be the turning point of Rovers season.
At last everything came off for Rovers and a fantastic performance in the first half saw the three points in the bag by that stage.
Rovers had got to Christmas without managing more than one goal in any game so far in the season, this was soon to be laid to rest.
Paul Heffernan gave Rovers the lead on twelve minutes and then a sublime goal from Martin Woods doubled the lead just past the half hour. Woods goal was to be voted Rovers goal of 2008 and was to make the final five short list for the Football League goal of the year.
Richie Wellens made it three on the stroke of half time when his free kick took a deflection on its way to finding the back of the net.
Forest`s plight was to be made worse early in the second half, having already made all three substitutions Julian Bennett got injured and limped off leaving Forest to play nearly all the second half with ten men.
Rovers made it four just past the hour when Heffernan got his second of the afternoon.
Forest showed a bit of fight and scored two goals, the first an own goal by Sam Hird and second by Joe Garner left Rovers fans feeling a little nervous late on.
Forest sacked manager Colin Calderwood within hours of the final whistle.
Rovers were quickly back in action against Burnley at home, the good Christmas form continued with them taking all three points thanks to two quick goals from James Coppinger and Brian Stock close to half time.
Burnley pulled one back through Martin Paterson but it couldn`t stop Rovers taking all three points and becoming the only side in the Championship to take all six points over Christmas.
A fabulous end to the year for Rovers giving fans renewed optimism going into the New Year, the two victories saw Rovers climb to 22nd in the table and level on points with Southampton.
Could Rovers continue the form into January?
The review of January will follow next week.
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Date:Sunday July 5 2009
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