Rovers go down by the odd goal in three
Apologies for the technical problem which prevented the report from appearing straight away.
Bristol Rovers 1
Coventry City 2
McDonald (23 & 47)
In bright sunshine and on the best prepared Memorial Stadium pitch I’ve seen in a long while, Rovers lost 2-1 to Coventry City this afternoon.
Cody McDonald opened the scoring on 23 minutes after the visitors had enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, but Rovers hit back strongly and were on level terms before the break thanks the Matt Harrold’s headed goal.
McDonald added his, and Coventry’s, second goal two minutes into the second half and although Wayne Brown and David Clarkson went close to equalising there were few other anxious moments for the Coventry defence.
That aside, this was an excellent workout for Rovers and if manager Mark McGhee can add the signings he wants to bolster his squad, there could be exciting times ahead.
The manager spoke, in his post match interview of hoping to bring in new players soon and admitted he was quite relaxed about the situation.
His comments and those of Fabian Broghammer, who has signed a one year deal, will appear on the website tomorrow in written and audio formats.
Mark again included goalkeeper Iain Turner in his starting lineup, and began with a back four that saw Jim Paterson partner Adam Virgo.
The visitors did get the ball in the net after five minutes when Richard Wood headed past Iain Turner, but the referee’s assistant had already indicated a foul on the far side of the pitch as the cross came into the box.
Some neat approach play saw Adam Barton fire just wide of the target and another effort from Carl Baker flew over the crossbar.
Cody McDonald should have put the Sky Blues in front on 16 minutes but glanced his header, from Kevin Kilbane’s cross, wide of goal.
Rovers first attempt on goal came just two minutes later and goalkeeper Chris Dunn did well to get down low to his left to save Matt Lund’s shot at the second attempt.
As Rovers came more into the game, Michael Smith picked out Matt Harrold with a pinpoint cross but the striker headed just over from eight yards.
However the visitors took the lead on 23 minutes when Chris Hussey crossed from the left and Cody McDonald dived between the two central defenders to head past Turner from six yards.
Smith provided another good cross from the right on the half hour mark and Clarkson did well to direct a glancing header on target, but defender Jordan Clarke reacted well to clear the danger.
Rovers did well to get back on level terms when, with six minutes of the half remaining last season’s top scorer, Harrold, rose above the Coventry defence to power home a close range header from Fabian Broghammer’s corner.
There was a chance of taking a lead into the half time interval, but from yet another Smith cross Lund directed his header wide of the target with only Dunn to beat.
Coventry were back in front within two minutes of the restart as McDonald got the better of Paterson and rifled a shot past Turner from the edge of the area.
The visitors almost added a third on 51 minutes when Hussey let fly from some 25 yards out. His shot dipped and swerved its way towards goal but Turner did exceptionally well to dive to his right to touch the ball round the post.
Rovers almost scored a stunning equaliser on 65 minutes when Joe Anyinsah raced down the right and cut a perfect ball back for Wayne Brown. His first time shot, from some twenty yards out, appeared destined for the back of the net but Dunn somehow managed to touch it up in the air and over the bar.
Clarkson then went close with a perfectly executed, from a Seanan Clucas cross, overhead kick that flew over the bar.
At the other end Carl Baker tried his luck from thirty yards, but his shot was always rising and comfortably cleared the bar.
Eliot Richards then raced omn to a long through ball from Michael Smith and lifted the ball over Dunn, who had rushed to the edge of his area clear. The ball drifted wide of the upright, but the young striker was fouled in the process and Rovers were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area which Lee Brown curled the ball over the bar.
Rovers: Iain Turner, Michael Smith, Adam Virgo, Jim Paterson, Lee Brown, Matt Lund, Seanan Clucas, Oliver Norburn (Wayne Brown, 62), Fabian Broghammer (Eliot Richards, 71), Matt Harrold (Joe Anyinsah, 58), David Clarkson (Matt Gill, 78)
Substitutes: Rogvi Baldvinsson, Conor Gough, Wayne Brown, Ross Staley
Coventry: Chris Dunn, Jordan Clarke, Reece Brown, Richard Wood, Chris Hussey, Carl Baker, Cody McDonald (Stephen Elliott, 62), Kevin Kilbane (Roy O’Donovan, 88), Adam Barton (Steve Jennings, 46), Callum Ball (Peter Poskei 62), Richard Wood, Billy Daniels (Gary McSheffrey, 46), Reece Brown
Substitutes: Kevin Malaga, William Edjenguele, Virge
Referee: Steve Martin
Away Supporters: 172