Salisbury 1-4 Bristol RoversAttendance: 1,068 (386)
Rovers’ boss Darrell Clarke, who guided The Whites to two promotions during his time in charge, returned to his former club for the first time this afternoon and saw his current charges register a comfortable win in their first pre-season friendly.
A first half goal from Jamie Lucas, who added another after the break, together with a Nathan Blissett saw Rovers ease past their hosts.
Clarke was forced to make a change to the lineup he announced earlier this week, as a calf injury prevented Lee Mansell from taking his place in midfield, so Jake Gosling started instead.
The home side almost took a first minute lead as a ball in from the left found Danny Young in space, but as he was about to shoot skipper Mark McChrystal made an important block.
Two minutes later McChrystal was at the back post at the other end of the pitch when he managed to get on the end of a Jake Gosling free kick. However his angled drive flew high over the crossbar.
Cristian Montano then showed a clean pair of heels to two Salisbury players as he burst into the box and although he was forced out wide, he still managed to get in a shot on goal which was headed clear by George Coulson.
There were 12 minutes on the clock when Rovers took the lead, that all began with Tyler Lyttle’s throw in on the right. He found Jake Gosling who, in turn, picked out Nathan Blissett with a long ball down the flank.
Goalkeeper Gareth Barfoot had a rush of blood to the head and sprinted ten yards outside of his area in an attempt to prevent the striker getting a cross into the box.
He failed, though, and Blissett picked out the unmarked Jamie Lucas who had the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net from close range.
Moments later Bodin saw a shot blocked by a packed home defence as Rovers took the game to their hosts.
Steve Mildenhall was called into action for the first time on 19 minutes when Claudio Herbert broke down the right before cutting inside and unleashing a powerful drive that the keeper, diving low to his left, touched round the post.
Bodin almost added a second on 26 minutes when he managed to get a touch on Blissett’s cross from the right, but there was no power in his effort and goalkeeper Gareth Barfoot safely gathered.
After a tentative opening to the second half, Rovers added a second goal eight minutes in when Gosling won possession on the half way line and found Blissett with a defence splitting pass. The striker had time to pick his spot before firing a shot past substitute goalkeeper Monty George.
A third goal arrived soon afterwards as the impressive Lyttle got down the right and crossed to the back post where Lucas headed home to register his second goal of the afternoon.
Bodin then saw a shot blocked and substitute Jay Malpas fired a long range effort wide of the target.
However the home side kept plugging away and a Matt Burt header came back into play off the post with two minutes remaining.
A minute later they scored a consolation goal with a spectacular 25 yard strike from defender George Coulson.
That wasn’t the end of the scoring, though, as Nathan Blissett broke down the right and his a shot into the net from a tight angle.
Salisbury FC: Gareth Barfoot (Monty George, 46), George Coulson, Callum Casson (Louis Brayley, 59), Pip Nolan, Steve Walker (Callum Casson, 83), Matt Burt, Claudio Herbert (Dan Demkiv, 59), Brandon Mundy (Claudio Herbert, 80), Sam Wilson, Ashley Jarvis (Mark Ford, 59), Danny Young (Ed Perrett, 38)
Bristol Rovers: Steve Mildenhall, Tyler Lyttle, Tom Lockyer (Alfie Kilgour, 69), Mark McChrystal, Danny Greenslade, Cristian Montano (Jay Malpas, 69), Stuart Sinclair (Dominic Thomas, 59), Jake Gosling (Ryan Broom, 69), Billy Bodin, Nathan Blissett, Jamie Lucas
Referee: Brendan Malone