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Central League Cup Report: Bristol Rovers 0-2 AFC Bournemouth

29 January 2020

The young Rovers side contested well against a their experienced counterparts, as Kyle Taylor’s second half goal and a late strike from Alex Dobre was the difference in the Central League Cup encounter.

Rovers assembled a constant run of chances and competed well throughout the fixture, in what was a useful exercise for the youthful Gas side.

Sam Matthews was named on the teamsheet, as the winger continued his return from injury by gaining valuable match time and completed the full ninety minutes in the encounter against his former side.

Luke Russe played in the left-back role and took the armband for the fixture, with youngsters Tom Mehew, Luc Noble and Luca Hoole completing the Rovers back four

Rovers settled into the game well and were the first side to register a chance, as Sam Matthews was played in down the right. The winger was able to cut inside the penalty area and created a shooting opportunity, with his firm effort held by Dennis in the Bournemouth goal.

The youthful Rovers backline limited any clear cut chances for the visitors during the first half, who came closest to troubling Alexis Andre-Jr when Tyler Cordner headed wide from a corner.

Rovers held a threat on the break and enjoyed most of the success down the right-hand side. Right-back Luca Hoole took advantage to push forward down the wing on the 20-minute mark and dug out a low effort that bounced narrowly wide of the target, as the young Rovers side continued to look organised and disciplined.

Alexis-Andre Jr enjoyed a relatively quiet half in the Rovers goal and was called upon to make a routine stop from a Jordon Ibe set-piece that lacked power and looked to be creeping wide of the target.

Harry Warwick enjoyed the support of the energetic Sam Matthews and Zain Walker and almost opened the scoring on the half-hour mark with a well-struck effort from a tight angle that flashed across goal, after being played into a pocket of space in behind the opponent's defence.

After the interval, Rovers continued to look organised behind the ball and a threat going forward.

Harry Warwick managed to sculpt a useful through ball that had Zain Walker chasing Cordner as the last man back for the visitors. The winger looked to have won the ball cleanly in fifty-fifty challenge, before being halted for a foul on the Bournemouth defender.

The visitors managed to grab the game’s first goal twenty minutes after the restart. It took a well-constructed move to break through the resolute Rovers defence, as Jordon Ibe and Alex Dobre exchanged a series of short and sharp passes that allowed Kyle Taylor to break unmarked into the box, where he was able to steer home a close-range finish.

The goal sparked urgency in the Rovers attack, with two chances coming in quick succession for the Gas.

The first fell to Sam Matthews, who managed to steer a low effort on target from the edge of the penalty area that Dennis was equal to. The next chance looked more threatening, as Harry Warwick held the ball up inside the Bournemouth area and was patient in waiting for an opening, before lifting a well-struck shot narrowly over the crossbar.

The opportunities kept presenting themselves for Rovers, as Zain Walker’s twisting run forward saw the opponents back off the tricky winger, who shaped an effort wide after progressing forward from deep.

In the closing stages, Kieran Phillips looked to have set substitute Ollie Hulbert through on goal with a sharp change in direction and an intelligent pass, only for the linesman’s flag to halt the move.

AFC Bournemouth managed to add the security of a second goal as Alex Dobre ran in behind and kept his composure to knock the ball around Alexis Andre-Jr and force home a finish into the empty Rovers net.

Rovers: Alexis Andre-Jr, Luke Russe ©, Tom Mehew, Luc Noble, Luca Hoole Trialist (75’ Joe Budd), Zain Walker, Lewis Clutton, Harry Warwick, (80’ Ollie Hulbert), Sam Matthews, Kieran Phillips.

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