STRONG winds and a muddy, uneven pitch made a big impact on the quality of Saturday’s game, according to Oxford United midfielder Danny Rose.
Doubts over whether the game at Bristol Rovers would go ahead proved unfounded, thanks to the work of the Memorial Stadium’s ground staff and less rain falling than had been forecast.
But although the surface was playable, the elements made life extremely difficult for players on both sides as they fought out a 1-1 draw.
Rose said: “If you speak to most footballers, the last element they want to play in is wind.
“That, combined with the condition of the pitch, did make it difficult and I think that showed in the overall quality of the passing and the whole game.
“It was bobbly, wet and boggy at the same time. To judge the roll of the ball was very difficult – sometimes it didn’t bounce, sometimes it did.
“But we more than matched them in the other side of the game, which we have done countless times this season.”
United stayed in the automatic promotion places and the draw extended their cushion over the sides outside the play-off positions to 12 points.
It was the same result as their trip in midweek to Bury, who, like Rovers, are involved in the battle to avoid relegation.
But the changing room on Saturday was far more subdued afterwards, having held a lead until John-Joe O’Toole’s 84th-minute header.
Rose said: “On Tuesday we had equalised and the lads were on a bit of a buzz as we managed to hold out and defend really well.
“We looked at that as a positive result in the end.
“Here we took the lead quite early and then gave away a goal. It’s a bit of a downer.
“The lads are pretty disappointed conceding the goal in the way we did.”