Talking Points: Beating a play-off contender makes Rovers’ win even sweeter


Ryan Richardson discusses the talking points from Rovers’ victory at Middlesbrough, maintaining their unbeaten league record in 2021.

Winning against contenders

Several times this season, Rovers have blown away teams struggling at the bottom of the table but have struggled when playing against teams above them in the table. 

This could be because of many different reasons: we struggle to break good, solid defences down and we lack composure and concentration at the back. However, even if it wasn’t the prettiest performance, these points were applied and that’s why we won the game.

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If we are to make a push for the play offs in the second half of this season, we are going to have to beat these teams and put in better performances than we saw today but, this was a much needed win to give the team confidence and keep us in the mix. 

The brick wall at the back

The Rovers defence has left much to be desired this season but today was a much more promising display. This was only the Rovers second clean sheet in the last 13 games – the other coming away at Birmingham on January 2. 

Thomas Kaminski pulled off several really smart saves in goal to lead Rovers to this clean sheet, but the entire back line put up a really good display in what was a really scrappy game. 

Captain Darragh Lenihan lead the backline well and Barry Douglas put in one of his better defensive displays in a Rovers shirt. In those two clean sheets Rovers have kept in their last 13 games. Lewis Travis and Jacob Davenport have started together in that midfield, which makes me believe that this partnership should be used much more going forward. 

A little bit of luck

We all know that we probably wouldn’t have won this game if it wasn’t for the big bit of fortune we received early in the first half as Jarrad Branthwaite caught Boro centre back Dael Fry with a high foot in the penalty area which resulted Fry leaving the field with what was described as a severe facial injury. 

This was a clear penalty and red card, but Rovers got away with that decision which would have undoubtedly been a big turning point in the game.

Credit: Getty Images

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