Bristol Festive Fixture Lists 2018/19 - Rovers face fight for survivalPosted on: 04 Dec 2018
Every game is a cup final when you find yourself near the foot of the league table, and so a busy festive footballing schedule can often go one of two ways for sides struggling to find form. Bristol Rovers have been lingering around the League One relegation places for much of this season, but they'll be looking to make the most of their December fixtures and start the new year in a good position.
Sat 21st in the table in early December with just 17 points from their first 20 matches, it would take a miracle for Bristol Rovers to get anywhere near the playoff places in this year's League One campaign. Despite having one of the best defensive records in the league so far in 2018/19 - only three teams have conceded less than their total of 21 and two of those occupy the top two positions - Rovers are struggling to consistently find the net.
Contrast to their defensive strength, their tally of just 17 goals from 20 games is the third worst in League One, with only Wimbledon and Bradford in 23rd and 24th place scoring fewer.
There can be no denying that the Gas are in a bit of a rut of late, especially when you take into account their embarrassing home defeat to non-league Barnet in their FA Cup Second Round replay in November, but the Christmas period presents any struggling team with a great opportunity to gather some momentum and move up the league table.
Currently four points from safety and ten points off Fleetwood in 12th, Rovers have got some work to do, but there's every chance they could give their fans something to shout about this month.
Their festive schedule kicks off with a tricky home fixture at the Memorial Stadium against playoff-chasers Doncaster Rovers, but these are the matches that Darrell Clarke's side must start winning if they want to break away from the relegation battle. The Doncaster match is followed by a long trip to Sunderland on Saturday 15th December and another home match the following weekend against mid-table Fleetwood Town.
Rovers are set to play a gruelling three games in seven days between Boxing Day and New Year's Day, travelling to Walsall first then to fellow strugglers Oxford United on Saturday 29th - two games against bottom half opposition that should certainly be taken advantage of - before a New Year's Day fixture away to Burton Albion who currently sit 16th in the table. See their full festive fixture list below:
Doncaster Rovers (H) Saturday 8th December
Sunderland (A) Saturday 15th December
Fleetwood Town (H) Saturday 22nd December
Walsall (A) Wednesday 26th December/Boxing Day
Oxford United (A) Saturday 29th December
Burton Albion (A) Tuesday 1st December/New Year's Day
Bristol Rovers' current league position is a direct result of their current inability to find the net, but they've got a solid defensive foundation on which to build and if they can just find a few more goals up top then they should be able to fire themselves to safety. The 2018/19 festive period is likely to be crucial for their survival, so make sure to get out and show your support when you can.
For more information on Bristol Rovers' season so far, to see a complete 2018/19 fixture list or to buy your tickets for upcoming matches, visit their official website or check out their Facebook page.
Having moved to Bristol from Cornwall in 2015, Matt recently completed a degree in Journalism at UWE. He is keen on a wide variety of musical genres, as well as taking an interest in art and illustration, producing his own work in his spare time. Matt makes the most of Bristol's diverse nightlife and attends live music and club nights regularly. Get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.