Bristol Rovers 1 – 2 Coventry CityAttendance: 1,821 (120)
By Steve Hood
Two goals in quick succession from Danny Swanson and Aaron Phillips handed Rovers defeat at the Memorial Stadium.
In the last scheduled pre-season fixture before the start of the new campaign Darrell Clarke opted for a three at the back formation with Tom Lockyer and Tom Parkes either side of captain Mark McChrystal.
It was the visitors who started the stronger of the sides, holding possession very well in the opening five minutes. However, it was Rovers who had the first chance.
Following some good passing movement between Lee Brown and Tom Parkes down the Rovers left, Parkes picked out Matty Taylor in the opposition area but the striker failed to hit the target.
The Sky Blues first effort came from a direct free kick, which stung the palms of Mildenhall as he directed it wide.
Rovers came inches away from taking the lead through the head of Stuart Sinclair. Lee Brown’s pinpoint delivery into the box was met by the head of Sinclair, which Allsop had to push onto the post.
Mark McChrystal saved Rovers at the half hour mark. Coventry striker George Thomas looped a header over Mildenhall but the skipper was there to clear the ball off the line.
An error by the Sky Blues defence put Matty Taylor through on goal but the former Forest Green man failed to make them pay, missing from a difficult angle.
The home side took the lead just before half time as Allsop could only palm Andy Monkhouse’s long-range effort, which allowed Matty Taylor to score a real poachers effort from six yards out.
Two half time substitutes saw Rovers switch shape back to a traditional 4-4-2 for the start of the second half. Ollie Clarke made way for Jake Gosling and Mark McChrystal handed the captains armband over to Lee Mansell.
Taylor had the ball in the back of the net again early in the second half following a delightful ball into the area from substitute Gosling. Taylor calmly guided his header into the back of the net only to see it ruled out for offside.
Rovers brought on Jamie White for Andy Monkhouse and the substitute had an immediate impact, striking the base of the post.
White took the ball across his body and hit it in his stride but the post denied the former Salisbury man with Allsop rooted to the spot.
Coventry drew level at the hour mark with a superb solo effort from Danny Swanson. The Sky Blues front man took the ball 25 yards out and lashed a curling effort past an outstretched Mildenhall and into the top corner.
The visitors doubled their lead moments later as Aaron Phillips found himself free off of a set piece and nodded Coventry into the lead.
A bright spark from the game was Daniel Leadbitter, the young full back darted down the right hand side and delivered a inch perfect pass into the visitors six yard box, however, no one was their to tuck an equaliser.
Tom Parkes came close to making it level after good work down the right hand side from substitute Ellis Harrison. An arriving Parkes met Harrison’s ball into the area but he couldn’t direct his header on target, heading narrowly wide.
Up next for Rovers is Grimsby at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday 9th August, hope to see you all there!
Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Daniel Leadbitter, Tom Parkes, Tom Locker (Pierce Mitchell), Mark McChrystal (Lee Mansell), Lee Brown, Andy Monkhouse (Jamie White), Ollie Clarke (Jake Gosling), Stuart Sinclair, Matty Taylor, Ryan Brunt (Ellis Harrison)
Subs: Kieran Preston
Coventry: Ryan Allsop, Aaron Phillips, Jack Finch, Trialist, Ivor Lawton, Ryan Haynes, Adam Barton, Billy Daniels, Danny Swanson, James Maddison, George Thomas
Subs: Jake Richards, Devon Kelly Evans, Ben Stevenson, Jordan Shipley