Saturday saw Rovers be the first team in league two to have promotion confirmed to league one. That comes just less than one year after suffering a shock relegation.
Where to start? Rovers were poor to say the least during the first half, and you would’ve thought it was going to be one of those days where nothing will go for you… well you’d be wrong – in fact everything did go right; by the end.
Frenchman, Mathieu Baudry, didn’t have his greatest game in a Rovers shirt with him misplacing plenty of possession, with one noticeable mis-pass going to Shaquile Coulthirst in midfield, who tried to counter Rovers from that, but thankfully for Rovers, Craig Alcock was to the rescue!
Luke McCullough had an excellent game considering it was only his second start of the season, with him using some fantastic skill to get past two Mansfield defenders and to then play the ball through to Tommy Rowe, whose effort was saved by Wednesday loanee, Jake Kean, to be deflected back out to find McSheffrey who shot from a wide angle, but again Kean was there to save the day for Mansfield.
With Rowe having the most chances throughout the game, it was written in the stars that he’d be the one to score the winning goal, as substitute, James Coppinger, whipped in a corner from the right to meet the rising Tommy Rowe who headed it towards the top right corner.
Rovers responded quickly to that lead by attacking straight away with Matty Blair finding the back of the net, but the linesman disallowed it, due to John Marquis being in an offside position.
Come full-time – which Mansfield manager, Steve Evans, doesn’t think the referee played until – there was a pitch invasion from fans from the Black Bank, celebrating in jubilation with Rovers staff and players alike.
Hero of the moment, Tommy Rowe, didn’t only just get his 13th goal of the season on Saturday, he also got the winning goal to give Rovers promotion back to league one.
This is what Ferguson had to say following the game:
“The main focus all week – especially before the game, and in the team talk – was to do it in front of our own fans.”
“Perfect scenerio. Really vivid memories of last year when Burton did it here [get promotion].”
“What we worked on was playing a diamond, and then switching to three at the back. That’s what we worked on all week.”
“We thought the system of playing three at the back would cause them more problems.”
“I didn’t think we were in too much danger in terms of the game. It was just a case of getting that first goal. We were aware of Stevenage getting beat, and they were out of it. It was just a case of a point at that point would get us up, but we wanted to win it.”
“Clean sheets vital against a good team. They’re full of energy.”
“They’re [the players] really determined to win this league.”
“This has got a lot of potential this club. From the way its run. To the directors, the chairman, the chief exec is outstanding.”
“We’ll enjoy tonight, but tomorrow’s a different day.”
Andy Butler on the promotion:
“Extremely happy” to get over the line.
“…everyone likes to do [gain promotion] it in front of their own fans.”
“…hopefully we’ll bring back the trophy in front of the home fans against Exeter.”
“We’re in pole position now. We just want to keep going and going and going.”
“I think we’ll do well in league one, I really do. I watch a few league one games and there’s not much difference from our squad to their squad.”
“I think my house got egged actually. Someone aimed for the window and it hit the bottom part of my house after last game of the season [which saw Rovers relegated last season], hopefully he’ll come round and clean it off this year [following promotion back league one]” he laughs about as he states how much it means to fans and how much it means to him with him being a local lad himself.