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In opposition: Bristol Rovers v Barnet

30 January 2013

Bristol Rovers and Barnet are both in a relegation battle at the bottom of the npower League 2 table, and this Friday they meet at the Memorial Stadium.

Here, a fan of each team previews the big match.


Name: Daryl Parsons.

Club: Bristol Rovers.

Number of years as a supporter: Since birth, but my first game was away at Ninian Park at the tender age of 18 months.

Favourite moment as a fan: We have had many ups and downs in my time, and there really have been many truly exciting moments supporting this club. Two promotions, once as champions, cup finals, giant killings and of course knocking out our biggest rival in a two-legged affair to reach a cup final. But, my all-time favourite moment has to be our FA Cup triumph against, at the time, Premier League Derby County at Pride Park. Nathan Ellington had already given us a two-goal cushion when Che Wilson's long ball found Ellington on the edge of the penalty area but with his back to goal. After chesting the ball down, the striker swivelled and hit it first time past the unsuspecting Mark Poom - 3-0, we were in dreamland! Even Fabrizio Ravanelli's late consolation couldn't put a damper on the day.

How many games a season do you attend? I had been a season ticket holder in my previous 13 years, but due to work commitments I couldn't extend it to a 14th. This season I have been getting to every match I can when I'm not working.

Where do you sit? I stand with the loudest of the bunch in the Blackthorn End behind the goal at the north side of the stadium. However, I do intend on sitting at our new 21,700 all-seater stadium when it is complete.

Name: Joel Hammer.

Club: Barnet.

Number of years as a supporter: 26 years.

Favourite moment as a fan: There have been many highs and lows, but both promotions from the Conference have to be up there.

How many games a season do you attend? Now I've moved to Manchester and work at the weekend, not so many. Previously all home and 20% away.

Where do you sit? Main Stand, block C, row D, seat 1.


What happened in your last match?

DP: Our last match was another passionate performance. Our second away win on the trot and another three goals scored to boot. It was a tight affair in the first half but after scoring just before the break, courtesy of a Lee Brown penalty, we went on to dominate the second half and win 3-1.

JH: A disappointing 1-0 defeat away at Burton Albion, the scene of last season's great escape. By all accounts, not a bad performance, but we conceded an early penalty and just couldn't pull it back. Scoring has been a bit of an issue of late.

Why is this game important?

DP: Every match is important to us. We are right in the thick of another relegation battle for some reason, so every point we can take is vital to the security of us playing in npower League 2 next season.

JH: I'm not convinced it is all that important. Barnet fans well know seasons can come down to the very last game and there are so many points available for both teams between now and then. It's tight down the bottom and any two of about eight could go down.

How do you see this game going?

DP: Barnet will be up for it. They have really kicked on since Edgar Davids took over as manager of the struggling club. It will be tight, but I see the Gas winning it. I hear the Barnet fans prefer it when the gaffer doesn't play, so for that reason I hope he does grace his playing feet upon the Memorial Stadium pitch, even if they perhaps aren't so graceful anymore.

JH: Rovers are on a good run following the appointment of John Ward and so will fancy their chances. That said, Barnet under Davids are difficult to beat.

Who should we keep our eye on?

DP: Our squad has suffered a tremendous amount of injuries this season with over half our player wages in the treatment room, including our first 'keeper, last season's top scorer and both our first and vice captains. So we're down to the youth team. They play with their heart on their sleeves and always go out fighting. For that reason it's hard to really name just one player, but Ellis Harrison and John Joe O'Toole have really impressed in the last couple of games.

Ricky Holmes. Slight built but lovely quick feet and the skill to do something that no other player on the pitch has the ability to do and in turn change the game. Oh and Edgar Davids plays for us! Writing that still brings a huge smile to my face.JH:

Any memories of previous encounters?

DP: Yes, my favourite being when I drove to Underhill in January 2008 to watch Bristol Rovers play Barnet in an FA Cup fourth round match. Rovers went on to win 1-0 through a Rickie Lambert header. We went on to the quarter-finals that season.

JH: We normally lose so I have blocked most of them, wait something is coming back to me... Ah yes, our 2-0 win at their place last season. The 98th-minute second goal was particularly sweet.

Score prediction?

DP: Bristol Rovers 3-1 Barnet.

JH: 1-1.

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