Single goal defeat at the hands of Cheltenham
Cheltenham Town 1
Bristol Rovers 0
Rovers came into this game following a tough training session this morning at their University of South Wales training camp.
In spite of this they put in an energetic and workmanlike performance against a strong Cheltenham side who created a number of scoring opportunities.
The only goal of the game came on 75 minutes and was a spectacular effort from Byron Harrison.
Although Rovers failed to find the back of the net, it should be remembered that this was the first time in a Rovers shirt for a number of players.
Overall, it was an encouraging performance from a Rovers side still working towards full fitness for the start of what will undoubtedly be a very tough Conference game.
Manager Darrell Clarke’s starting lineup gave Rovers supporters their first opportunity to see a number of the manager’s summer signings in action for the first time.
Three of them, Matty Taylor, Lee Mansell and Stuart Sinclair were in the starting lineup, while Jamie White and Jake Gosling were on the bench.
Triallist Ryan Higgins, who featured in last week’s game against Cirencester Town also started, while Pierce Mitchell, who also featured in that game, was on the bench.
Rovers began brightly and fashioned an opportunity with the ten minute mark approaching.
Ellis Harrison did well to get a cross into the box and it only just evaded Matty Taylor before being cleared by Troy Brown.
A minute later the home side went close when Lee Vaughan fired a shot that just cleared the crossbar.
Steve Mildenhall was called into action on 15 minutes, when he did well to touch away a fierce drive from Andy Haworth.
Vaughan then played in Asa Hall, who rolled a shot just wide of the upright.
Cheltenham missed another opportunity on 22 minutes when a Matt Richards shot was deflected over the bar by Ryan Higgins.
The first real chance created by Rovers arrived in the 42nd minute and fell to Ollie Clarke who, when well placed, rolled a shot wide of the upright.
Cheltenham substitute Omari Sterling-James should have opened the scoring in the final minute of the half when played in by Paul Black. However the triallist mishit his shot with only Mildenhall to beat and the
keeper saved with his legs.
Sterling-James wasted another chance in the first minute of the second half, hitting a tame shot straight at Mildenhall.
The keeper saved again, this time from Haworth before Rovers made a double substitution, with Jamie White replacing Ellis Harrison and Jake Gosling on for Ollie Clarke.
Matty Taylor then hit a long range effort towards goal, forcing the first save of the evening from Trevor Carson.
Pierce Mitchell replaced Ryan Higgins on 65 minutes but it was the home side who fashioned the next chance, when Haworth hit a fierce cross shot just wide of the mark.
After a long range Lee Brown effort had cleared the crossbar at one end, Byron Harrison went close at the other end, but his effort was wide of goal.
Cheltenham took the lead on 75 minutes when Zack Kotwica found Harrison and he curled a superb effort into the top left hand corner of the net.
In response Tom Parkes headed just over, but hard as they tried in the closing stages, there was no way through for Darrell Clarke’s side.
Mildenhall made one final save, from Joe Hanks, tipping the midfielder's shot over the bar in the final minute.
Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Ryan Higgins, Tom Lockyer, Mark McChrystal, Tom Parkes, Lee Brown, Stuart Sinclair, Lee Mansell, Ollie Clarke (Jake Gosling, 52), Matty Taylor, Ellis Harrison (Jamie White, 52)
Substitutes: Jamie White, Jake Gosling, Aaron Ward-Baptiste, Jamie Lucas, Danny Greenslade, Dominic Thomas, Pierce Mitchell, Kieran Preston
Cheltenham Town: Trevor Carson, Andy Haworth Zack Kotwica, 72), Paul Black (Craig Braham-Barrett, 60), Jason Taylor, Troy Brown, Steve Elliott (Jack Deaman, 23), Asa Hall (Joe Hanks, 83), Matt Richards, Byron Harrison, Terry Gornell (Omari Sterling- James 40), Lee Vaughan, Harry Williams
Substitute: Ben McNamara