Bath City 2
Stearn (pen, 14), Watkins (50)
Bristol Rovers 2
Brunt (26), Harrold (47)
John Ward’s side played out a 2-2 draw against Bath City at Twerton Park this evening, in a game that came hot on the heels of a one week’s hard work, at their Lincolnshire training camp.
The home side were brighter for long periods of the game, but Rovers stuck in and put in a dogged and determined performance, with two of their main strikers, Ryan Brunt and Matt Harrold getting off the mark.
The players will be glad to get the first taste of action under their belts and now turn their attention to Hereford United , at Edgar Street, on Tuesday evening.
The Rovers squad of 24 who travelled to Stoke Rochford Hall Hotel on Monday returned to the West Country following a gruelling week of training in a superb location in the Lincolnshire countryside.
They headed to Bath this afternoon following one final training session this morning and not all of the 24 who travelled on Monday featured tonight.
Matt Gill and Garry Kenneth who took part in many of this week’s training sessions are still a little way from full fitness while minor knocks kept Mitch Harding and Ellis Harrison on the sidelines, though both hope to be fit for Tuesday night’s game at Hereford.
Goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall didn’t start either half, allowing Conor Gough to get ninety minutes under his belt.
The home side began brightly and a long range effort from Dave Pratt drifted over the bar in the first minute, while Andy Watkins saw a shot touched away by Conor Gough.
The first goal arrived in the 14th minute, from the penalty spot, when Ross Stearn went down under a challenge from Alefe Santos and the Bath player got up to beat Gough from 12 yards.
At the other end Santos hit a shot on the turn which hit the upright, with home keeper Jason Mellor touching the rebound behind for a corner.
Rovers gradually got themselves back into the game and equalised with 26 minutes on the clock. Eliot Richards chased a ball to the byeline and crossed to the far post where Ryan Brunt touched the ball into the net from close range.
There were few chances after that, though Richards did fire a long range effort over the bar before some drama in the final minute of the half.
Gough missed a free kick from Stearn which hit the crossbar and the rebound fell to Danny Ball who saw his close range effort cleared off the line.
Rovers took the lead two minutes into the second half when good work between Clarkson and Harrold saw the striker stroke the ball past Mellor from ten yards.
However the home side equalised just three minutes later when Dave Pratt threaded a pass through to Andy Watkins, who comfortably beat Gough from just inside the area.
David Clarkson saw his powerful drive blocked on the edge of the area as Rovers attempted to regain the lead, and just after the hour mark he saw another effort palmed away by Mellor.
The home side made a number of substitutions during the second period, while Rovers appeared to tire as the week’s intensive work took its toll, though Rigg did roll a shot wide of the target with ten minutes remaining.
Bristol Rovers First Half: Conor Gough, Josh Southway, Pat Keary, Mark McChrystal, Lee Brown, Shaquille Hunter, Ollie Norburn, Jordan Goddard, Alefe Santos, Ryan Brunt, Eliot Richards.
Second Half: Conor Gough, Michael Smith, Tom Lockyer, Tom Parkes, Jim Paterson, Shaquille Hunter Josh Southway, (66), Ollie Clarke, George Rigg, Fabian Broghammer, Matt Harrold, David Clarkson.
Bath City: Jason Mellor (Ollie Barton, 75), Sekani Simpson (Dan Bowman, 70), Andy Gallinagh (Jim Rollo, 75) Danny Ball, Mark Preece, Ben Addlesbury (Chris Allen, 46), Ross Stearn (Joe Burnell, 46), Adam Connolly (Matt Collins, 46), Dave Pratt (Rory Kay, 70), Andy Watkins (Alex Russell, 66), Josh Low (Noah Keates, 46).