Talking Points: Killer instincts, refereeing decisions and partnerships


Mark Whittle picks out the talking points as Rovers lose 1-0 at home to high-flying Brentford.

Killer instinct lacks once again as Rovers are stung by the Bees

The most used word describing Rovers this season must be ‘frustrating’ and that is exactly how I feel yet again after watching the game against Brentford. Pre-match talk from Tony Mowbray was about Rovers being in the early stages of building value within their squad – a model like that of visitors Brentford have. If that is to be the case and the money is reinvested well enough, then it is going to be a big summer coming up for the club.

The first half was particularly poor, and it was a familiar story of falling behind in a match and not getting anything from it.

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Once Toney put Brentford 1-0 up through an albeit dubious penalty decision after ten minutes, it seemed a case of here we go again and no shots on target in the first 45 minutes was proving to be another difficult night in front of the Sky cameras. Things did improve in the second half with the introduction of the lively Rothwell and Elliott, yet I never got the feeling that we were going to cause Raya many problems. We lacked a killer instinct in front of goal which has been the case for some time.

Without Armstrong in the team, I am not sure who or were the goals will come from.  I think it is fair to say Brentford looked comfortable throughout the evening and could have probably gone up a gear or two if they needed to. In the end, they were able to see the game out for a much needed three points in their quest for promotion.

A game of penalty decisions

Although Rovers never created many chances and lacked a killer touch in front of goal – not for the first time this season – we should have had arguably two penalties.

It appears there is always penalty controversy in Championship contests involving Rovers of late. The two penalties awarded for Swansea and Brentford this week have been harsh to say the least – and the foul on Nyambe was a clear penalty.

The standard of referees at Championship level has been as poor as I have seen it this season, and not just for Rovers. I do not like talking about referees, but I do think it has been a talking point for the majority of matches this year and it certainly needs to be addressed and the standard must be reviewed by the powers that be in the summer.

Centre-back partnership a positive

The one positive from tonight was the centre-half partnership again of Lenihan and Harwood-Bellis – with young Harwood-Bellis impressing in particular. It has been a more settled partnership in the last three games, keeping a clean sheet at Millwall, whilst restricting both Swansea City and Brentford’s strike force to goals from the penalty spot only.

It has been well documented of the defensive frailties in recent months, but it has certainly been a positive in the last three games. Congratulations to Darragh Lenihan on his 200th appearance for the club.

More devastating injury woe for Dack

It is incredibly sad to end the evening talking about what looks to be another serious injury to Bradley Dack. We were just getting used to having Dack getting back to his best in recent weeks, so for this to happen to him again is beyond words for everyone connected with Rovers, but mainly to the player himself. 

Losing the match is one thing, but the injury to Dack is far more deflating and upsetting. Incredibly difficult to try and put it all into words. He is mentally strong, and he will get back from this again.

Stay strong Dacky, we are all with you!

Thanks for reading.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

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