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ROVERS HANDED FIRST LOSS OF PRE-SEASON AT EXETER

16 July 2016

Exeter City 2-0 Bristol Rovers

Attendance: 1,247 (197)

Rovers were handed their first loss of pre-season going down 2-0 to Exeter City at St James Park.

First half goals from Ryan Harley and Ollie Watkins secured the win for Exeter in what was their second pre-season fixture.

Darrell handed starts to triallists Jordan Evans and Sam Barratt as Rovers attempted to make it five wins out of five in their pre-season campaign.

After good early pressure in the final third from Rovers, the first real look at goal from either side came from Exeter City. Robbie Simpson latched onto a poor back pass from Billy Bodin only to see Will Puddy dive well at his feet before Alfie Kilgour cleared the danger.

However it didn't take long for the deadlock to be broken as Exeter took the lead in the 8th minute through Ryan Harley. Lee Holmes caused the Rovers defence issues on the left hand side before pulling the ball back to Harley who's shot deflected off of Kilgour and into the back of the net.

Seconds later Rovers almost pulled level as Sam Barratt's free kick was met by Ellis Harrison but the Welshman's header crashed against the crossbar and Exeter were able to clear.

After long spells of possession from the hosts, Rovers hit back through triallist Jordan Evans. The former Fulham man took the ball in his stride before unleashing a powerful drive goalwards that almost caught out Bobby Olejnik but the City keeper was able to recover and push the ball behind for a corner.

Exeter continued to dominate possession and doubled their lead on the 37th minute. It was Lee Holmes again causing the Rovers defence trouble before picking out Ollie Watkins who got to the ball ahead of Will Puddy to guide the ball into an empty net.

Rovers made four changes at half time trying to freshen things up as Danny Greenslade, Liam Lawrence, Cristian Montano and Rory Gaffney came on to replace Mark McChrystal, Billy Bodin, Sam Barratt and Ellis Harrison with the home side making 10 changes of their own.

Darrell Clarke's men began to assert dominance on the second half as Cristian Montano looked particularly dangerous on the left hand side but it was the Grecians who had the first chance of the second half but Matt Jay could only fire his shot wide.

Rovers began to look dangerous against a youthful Exeter side as Luke James got the better of Alex Byrne before finding Rory Gaffney in the penalty are who swang a right boot at the ball but missed and then Cristian Montano drilled the follow up shot wide of the goal.

Minutes later a smart touch and turn from Luke James created space in the area but his left footed effort by James Hamon before James presented Montano with a glorious chance to shoot but the Colombian fired over the crossbar. 

Exeter 1st Half: Olejnik, James, Harley, Simpson, Holes, Watkins, Moore-Taylor (C), Taylor, Brown, Archibald-Henville, Sweeney.

Substitutes: Hamon (GK), Reid, Ampadu, Egan, Down.

Exeter 2nd Half: Olejnik, McCready, Storey, Grimes, Tillson, Grant (Egan - 58), Reid, Riley-Lowe, Jay, Down, Byrne.

Substitutes: Wheeler, Ampadu.

Rovers: Puddy; Leadbitter (Broom - 67), Kilgour, McChrystal (C) (Greenslade  46), Evans; Bodin (Lawrence - 46), O. Clarke (Malpas - 67), Lines, Barratt (Montano - 46); Harrison (Gaffney - 46), James.

Substitutes: Lawrence, Greenslade, Montano, Broom, Malpas, Gaffney. 

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