Assistant manager Marcus Stewart saw his side lose a friendly game against their Swindon Town counterparts today, but declared himself pleased with the efforts of both his experienced and younger players.
Leading 2-1, thanks to goals from Jermaine Easter and Blake Davies, Rovers conceded twice in the last minute through a deflected shot and a penalty.
“The result aside,” said Marcus, “I thought it was a good game and very good workout for us.
“We did really well and kept our shape and our discipline throughout and were very good when not in possession against a Swindon side that likes to pass the ball around. We actually improved as the game went on and in the second half we looked to counter and get forward quicker than we had before the break and our second goal came from one such break.
“Of course it’s disappointing that we lost by conceding two late goals, but by that time I had made a number of substitutions and there were a number of younger players on the pitch.
“I think those late goals came about from a little bit of naivty on our part as we didn’t make the right decisions when under pressure. That will happen occasionally as the players develop, but the important thing is always to learn from any mistakes.
“Everyone put a great deal of effort into the game and I can’t fault any of the lads for that.”
Marcus included a number of experienced players in his starting lineup ahead of a busy Christmas/New Year schedule; “Jermaine Easter, Cristian Montano, Jake Gosling, Mark McChrystal and Ollie Clarke all got some much needed game time under their belts and that was vital as we will need to be able to call on everyone over the next few weeks.”
The most positive news was that goalkeeper Will Puddy came through 90 minutes unscathed as he continued his rehabilitation from a groin injury that, so far, has kept him out of first team action this season.
“I thought that Will’s kicking was good today. Last week at Newport he was a little bit tentative when kicking the ball, which is to be understood given the nature of his injury. He did well today and it’s good that he got a second reserve game in and has had a full week’s training between the two.”