Breath­less Clarke is afraid for his health

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Richard Latham

DAR­RELL CLARKE ac­cused his Bris­tol Rovers team of al­most giv­ing him a heart at­tack af­ter they nearly let rel­e­ga­tion-bound Ch­ester­field off the hook.

The man­ager felt his play­ers should have cap­i­talised fully on a one-sided first half, claim­ing the sec­ond pe­riod took years off his life.

With Rovers two up, Luke James had a 40thminute penalty saved by im­pres­sive Ch­ester­field goal­keeper Thorsten Stuck­mann, and a late Syl­van Ebanks-Blake goal for the vis­i­tors set up a tense fi­nale.

Clarke said: “The dress­ing room cer­tainly isn’t bounc­ing. We are pleased with the win, but the play­ers are wor­ried I’m go­ing to have a heart at­tack!

“We had umpteen chances to get the third so the man­ager’s heart rate would calm down and he’d get a few more years on his life.

“Credit to Ch­ester­field for keep­ing go­ing, but we should have seen the game out a lot more com­fort­ably.

“It was so frus­trat­ing when the whole place got anx­ious late on. And rightly so be­cause we were not clin­i­cal enough to set­tle the out­come be­fore then.”

Rovers went in front with only half-a-minute on the clock, Ol­lie Clarke fir­ing home a low shot from the edge of the box.

Rory Gaffney made it 2-0 on 18 min­utes with a clin­i­cal fin­ish, hav­ing been put through by Luke James, and it looked like be­ing a stroll in the park for the hosts.

James had the chance to net his first Rovers goal when pushed by Tom An­der­son. But his penalty lacked con­vic­tion and Stuck­mann stood firm, thrust­ing out a strong left hand to parry the ball.

It was one of nu­mer­ous first-half saves from the busy Ch­ester­field keeper as Rovers surged for­ward. But the vis­i­tors im­proved af­ter the in­ter­val and Ebanks-Blake pulled a goal back five min­utes from time with a curling right­footed ef­fort from the left of the box.

Ch­ester­field boss Gary Cald­well ad­mit­ted: “We came to try and win, but you can’t win games start­ing like we did this af­ter­noon.

“We gifted Rovers a goal start, be­gan to play well and then gifted them an­other goal. Too often we carry play­ers in games.

“The ba­sics have to be done bet­ter, but we will keep go­ing while there are points to play for and no one is giv­ing up.

“It is very frus­trat­ing at times be­cause we have some tal­ented play­ers at the club, but we keep shoot­ing our­selves in the foot and make our keeper work too hard.”

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