Bloomfield: Playing for a draw backfired on Rovers

Bucks Free Press: The emotion of Wanderers' dramatic last day escape was too much for Matt Bloomfield to take The emotion of Wanderers' dramatic last day escape was too much for Matt Bloomfield to take

BITTER experience taught Matt Bloomfield that Bristol Rovers and Northampton Town were playing a dangerous game by only needing a point in their final game to ensure survival.

The long-serving midfielder was part of the Wanderers side that won promotion under Peter Taylor in nerve-shredding circumstances on the final day of the 2008/09 season.

Back then Blues only needed a draw to be certain of going up - but a late winner from Notts County meant the Chairboys were relying on results elsewhere.

The roles were reversed on Saturday as two other teams needed a solitary point to stay in the Football League at Wanderers' expense.

But Bloomfield said the sides above them would have been unsure whether to go all out for a win or play for a draw and run the risk of being caught out.

That's how survival Saturday panned out, with Bristol Rovers being hit by a sucker punch from Mansfield to fall through the trapdoor into non-league football.

Bloomfield said: "Our job was simple - all we had to do was win. They were the ones who had to go into the game needing a point and that's always a horrible position to be in.

"I was telling everyone when we were at home to Notts County all we needed was a point to get promoted and we ended up losing but still going up on goal difference. It's a horrible situation to be in, just needing a point - you don't know whether to stick or twist."

The fans' favourite added it was vital Blues got an early goal to get under the skins of their relegation rivals' supporters.

He said: "I'm sure it will have filtered through and the pressure would have grown on them, and once they went behind it would have been panic stations.

"I'm sure that's what they felt early on and once we went ahead they didn't know what to do. The pressure would have built on them."

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