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ROVERS COMPLETE PRE-SEASON WITH WIN AGAINST CHELTENHAM TOWN

31 July 2016

Bristol Rovers 3-0 Cheltenham Town

Attendance: 1,607 (104)

Rovers completed their pre-season campaign with a professional 3-0 win against Cheltenham Town at the Memorial Stadium.

Goals from Ellis Harrison, Chris Lines and Matty Taylor secured the win as Rovers move towards the start of the League One season.

Darrell Clarke's side started well in their final game of pre-season as Ellis Harrison picked out Matty Taylor on the edge of the penalty area but his shot was blocked well by Daniel O'Shaughnessy.

It wasn't long before Rovers took the lead as Ellis Harrison capitalised on a huge mistake from the visitors. Following a long ball up field Josh Lelan looked for Max O'Leary with his back headed but headed the ball over the advanced keeper and Harrison was on hand to fire the ball home into an empty net.

Taylor and Harrison looked bright in the first half as the pair linked up again but this time Matty Taylor was unable to pick out the run of an advancing Stuart Sinclair in the penalty area.

Moments later Rovers were attacking again, this time Ryan Broom got the better of his man on the right hand side before an inch perfect pull back found Ellis Harrison but this time the Rovers front man stabbed his shot just wide.

With just 15 minutes on the clock Cheltenham were almost gifted a goal of their own after Dan Holman rounded Will Puddy on the edge of the penalty area but made the angle difficult for himself and fired into the side netting.

Rovers continued to dominate proceedings with Ryan Broom causing Jordan Cranston a lot of trouble on the right flank with another fantastic pull back finding Liam Lawrence who fired over the crossbar.

The Gas doubled their lead with just over five minutes of the first half remaining. Matty Taylor and Ellis Harrison linked up well before the Welsh Under-21 International's shot was blocked well by Josh Lelan. However, Harrison didn't give up there, showing great strength he won the ball back instantly and was able to pick out substitute Chris Lines who had an easy finish at the far post.

Darrell Clarke made two substitutions at half time as Steve Mildenhall and Rory Gaffney took to the field replacing Will Puddy and Ellis Harrison but Rovers kept the 3-5-2 shape that worked very well in the first half.

Matty Taylor continued to look lively and was rewarded under 10 minutes into the second half. Tom Lockyer floated a perfect pass into the path of Taylor from a free kick and Taylor controlled the ball superbly before giving Max O'Leary no chance thumping the ball past him.

On the hour mark Darrell Clarke made seven changes as Mark McChrystal, Jake Gosling, Jermaine Easter, Danny Greenslade, Billy Bodin, Luke James and Alfie Kilgour all took to the field replacing Lee Brown, Tom Lockyer, Peter Hartley, Ollie Clarke, Matty Taylor, James Clarke and Stuart Sinclair.

The changes altered the tempo of the game and the visitors were able to get back into the game but Daniel O'Shaughnessy was denied at close range by Steve Mildenhall.

Time ticked by in what was a good performance for Rovers and Cheltenham grew into the game but shots from half time substitutes Amari Morgan-Smith and Dan Whitbread failed to force a save from Mildenhall.

Rovers looked in control of the game and could have had a fourth had it not been from a great save from Max O'Leary. Billy Bodin received the ball on the Rovers left, danced his way into the penalty area and pulled the ball back from Chris Lines but his low shot was well saved by the Bristol City keeper on trail at Cheltenham. 
 
Up next for Rovers is the kick off the Sky Bet League One season on Saturday 6th August as Darrell Clarke's men travel to Glanford Park to take on Scunthorpe United before entertaining Championship side Cardiff City in the EFL Cup at the Mem on Thursday 11th August.  

Rovers: Puddy (Mildenhall - 46); Broom, J. Clarke (Gosling - 60), Lockyer (Kilgour - 60), Hartley (McChrystal - 60), Brown (Greenslade - 60); O. Clarke (Gosling - 60), Lawrence (Lines - 33), Sinclair (Easter - 60); Harrison (Gaffney - 46), Taylor (James - 60).

Cheltenham: O'Leary; Bartthram (Storer - 46), Jennings, Pell (Rowe - 46), Wright, Hall, Cranston (Walters - 73), Dayton (Whitbread - 46), O'Shaughnessy, Lelan (Morgan-Smith - 46), Holman (Lymn - 79).

Unused Substitutes: Lovett (GK).

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