Chris Hargreaves took a young side of first year pros and triallists to take on Mangotsfield United at Cossham Street tonight and saw his charges come away with a 2-1 win.
All of the goals came in the opening 45 minutes, with Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist and Nathan Ellington giving Rovers a two goal cushion before George Lloyd pulled a goal back for the home side.
On a warm, sultry evening, in total contrast to the weather experienced at Weston last night, both sides made a lively start but it was Rovers who fashioned the first opportunity when Ben Morgan met Lewis Ellington’s corner from the right. However the central defender saw his effort safely gathered by former Rovers keeper Steve Phillips.
The home side went close to opening the scoring on ten minutes, though when James Fisher’s free kick clipped the crossbar and dropped behind for a goal kick.
Fisher then delivered a low cross into the area which only needed a touch to turn it into a goal, but Sam Jenkins was just unable to apply the finishing touch and the ball drifted out of play for a Rovers throw in.
George Lloyd then almost capitalised on an error by Rovers skipper Rollin Menayese, but his hurried shot drifted over the bar.
However it was Rovers who took the lead in the 23rd minutes when Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist took a through ball from Sam Phillips and drilled a shot past Phillips from the edge of the area.
Three minutes later Rovers doubled their lead when Lewis Ellington met Michaels Kelly’s cross at the far post and applied a neat finishing touch to beat Phillips.
The home side pulled a goal back just after the half hour mark when Fisher hoit another low cross to the back post where George Lloyd was first to react and drilled a shot through a ruck of players and into the net.
With five minutes of the half remaining Jake Elliott went close to putting his side back on level terms but his effort drifted just wide of the upright.
Both sides made substitutions at the break, but the on Rovers side, the only recognisable ones were Cameron Hargreaves and Luke Russe.
The first meaningful attempt of the second half came from Mangotsfield’s Jake Elliott, who fired high and wide of the target,
Rovers first chance of the half fell to Hargreaves but his low shot carried little power and was comfortably saved by Phillips.
Mangotsfield’s central defender then ventured forward and hit a powerful shot over the bar as the game became a little more disjointed as further substitutions were made by both sides.
As players tired, things became a little bit scrappy but the home side did go close with seven minutes remaining when Liam Monelle hit a shot just wide of goal.
Rovers did fashion a couple of late opportunities, both thwarted by a packed home defence.
The game proved to be a good work out for both sides, though the questions that Rovers fans will be; asking is did any of the triallists impress sufficiently to impress the management team and will any of them be given another opportunity to impress?
Rovers: Max Smith, Harry Goode, Ben Morgan, Rollin Menayese, Michael Kelly, Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist, Sam Phillips, Connor Jones, James Carvell, Cameron Ebbutt, Lewis Ellington
Substitutes: Luke O’Reilly, Toby Rennie, Alex Stephenson, Tom Rose, Brandon Scott, Luke Russe, Cameron Hargreaves, Dylan Corkery, Dylan McGlade (All Used)
Mangotsfield United 1 0 Lloyd (32)
Bristol Rovers- Leigh-Gilchrist (23), Ellington (26)