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Rovers Suffer Defeat in Opening Central League Fixture

Bristol Rovers 1-5 Cheltenham Town

5 September 2017

Rovers' development squad were defeated in their opening fixture of the Central League season, as an experienced Cheltenham side tasted victory at Lodge Road.

A first half goal by Dan Holman put the visitors ahead in an evenly matched first-half at Yate.

A flurry of second half goals saw Cheltenham's trialist striker extend Cheltenham's lead following a defensive mix up by Rovers, as Kenan Dunwald quickly responded with a calm and collected finish following a well-directed through ball from Cameron Hargreaves. 

Cheltenham quickly restored their two goal cushion just seconds later, with the trialist striker firing home a close-range effort that beat Jonkerman for pace, as the striker grabbed his second goal of the afternoon.

The visitors managed to add a fourth goal just fifteen minutes before the final whistle, as George Llyod was able to beat the offside trap to latch on to a chipped ball into the Rovers area, with the midfielder lifting a finish over the advancing Jonkerman. 

Dan Holman registered his second goal of the fixture inside the final ten minutes, as the striker leaped high to meet a corner from the right, directing a powerful header into the top corner.

Chris Hargreaves named a starting eleven that included the trio of youngsters that made their first team debuts at Wycombe Wanderers seven days ago, as Menayese, Russe and Hargreaves all started the fixture against Cheltenham. 

In the opening exchanges, chances on goal were few and far between, with both teams enjoying a fair share of possession inside their own half.

Rovers best chance of the first-half fell to Rhys Kavanagh, as the striker was found in the box by a well-directed cross from Jordan Williams. Kavanagh was able to connect with a first-time effort to direct the ball towards goal, but the shot was too close to Cheltenham 'keeper Rhys Lovett, who was able equal to his effort.

The deadlock was broken shortly after the thirty-minute mark, as a cushioned header in Rovers area from Aaron Downes fell to Dan Holman inside the area, with the striker making no mistake in sliding a finish past Thom Jonkerman to put Cheltenham ahead.

Following the half-time interval, Rovers carved an opportunity to bring the scores level, as Kunlin Otudeko lined up a shot from outside the area that curled just off-target, with Rhys Lovett seemingly beaten. 

The visitors grabbed the second goal of the game, as a mix up inside the Rovers area between Menayese and Williams gave Cheltenham's trialist striker an unchallenged shot at goal, as the forward directed a powerfully struck volley into the top corner of the net.

Kenan Dunwald pulled a goal back for Rovers instantly, timing a forward run to latch onto a pass from Cameron Hargreaves and was able to hold his nerve to place a finish past the advancing 'keeper.

Cheltenham's two goal cushion was restored moments later, as their trialist striker found time and space in the area to fire home his second goal in as many minutes.

The visitors added two late goals, as George Lloyd managed to break in behind the Rovers defence to score Cheltenham's fourth goal before a header from Dan Holman inside the final ten minutes completed the scoring.

Next up for the development squad is a fixture against Portsmouth on September 19th.

Rovers: Thom Jonkerman (GK), Jordan Williams, Michael Kelly, Luke Russe, Rollin Menayese, Ben Morgan, Cameron Ebbutt (60' Baghdadi), Cameron Hargreaves, Kenan Dunwald, Rhys Kavanagh, Kunlin Otudeko (64' Conor Jones).

Subs: Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis, Lewis Ison, Liam Armstrong.


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