Victory in final pre-season game.
Bristol Rovers beat Reading 2-1 in an entertaining pre-season game at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
The Pirates took the lead through Eliot Richards against the run of play, and doubled their lead just before the half time whistle thanks to Dave Clarkson.
Reading pulled one back in the second half, thanks to a wonder strike from Garath McCleary, but Rovers were able to end pre-season with an impressive win.
A small crowd were there to see John-Joe O’Toole play his first game back for Rovers after signing a three-year deal with the club in midweek.
Reading felt they could have had a penalty in the early stages after Jake Taylor was brought down in the box.
And the Royals then missed a golden opportunity to take the lead after McCleary beat two men to send in a low cross, but Pavel Pogrebnyak missed open goal from point blank range and fired over the bar.
The visitors then had another chance to open the scoring, as they put Rovers under some early pressure, but Akpan’s shot from the edge of the box was fired straight at Mildenhall
Rovers then took the lead against the run of play. Harrison put a cross into the box, which was met by the head of Parkes who put the ball into the path of Richards to tap home past a stranded Stuart Taylor.
A great ball from Norurn put Harrision through on a good run, but his shot was sliced wide of the right post.
Then a cross from Harrison, across the face of goal, managed to narrowly avoid every Rovers player in the box.
Rovers then made an early substitution, taking off Matt Harrold as a precaution; he was replaced by Mitch Harding.
A cross into the box from Michael Smith was met by the head of substitute Harding, but he put the effort narrowly wide.
Rovers then doubled their lead seconds before the half time whistle. A pass from Smith found Clarkson who shot home from close range.
Rovers came out all fired up for the second half, with Harrison blasting over from close range, after some good work down the left from Harding.
Harding was looking impressive up front, combining well with strike partner Clarkson.
Reading then pulled a goal back thanks to a fantastic 25 yard curling effort from the dangerous Garath McCleary, who smashed home past Mildenhall.
Ward then made a number of substitutions, with Clarkson, Harrison, O’Toole, McChrsytal and Norburn all brought off early ahead of the start of the season next week.
More good work down the left from Harding set up Lee Brown on the edge of the box, but his shot was blocked.
Rovers worked hard and defended well to hold on to the lead and claim victory.
The result will be massive confidence boost going into the first game of the season against Exeter next weekend.
Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Michael Smith, Tom Parkes, Mark McChrystal (Tom Lockyer), Lee Brown, Ellis Harrison (Alefe Santos), John-Joe O'Toole (George Rigg), Oliver Norburn (Pat Keary), Eliot Richards, Dave Clarkson (Shaquille Hunter), Matt Harrold (Mitch Harding).
Substitutes: Conor Gough, Jordan Goddard, Josh Southway, George Rigg, Jake Green
Reading: Stuart Taylor, Chris Gunter (Sean Long), Shaun Cummings, Adrian Mariappa, Kaspars Gorkss, Hope Akpan (Gozie Ugwu), Lawson D'Ath, Garath McCleary (Craig Tanner), Jake Taylor, Jordan Obita, Pavel Pogrebnyak.
Substitutes: Jonathan Henly, Natthew Patridge, Pierce Sweeney, Aaron Tshibola.