12.07.22 Match Report - Bath v Rovers

A balmy night in Bath was the backdrop for Bristol Rovers, as they travelled to their neighbours for a pre-season friendly.

With another squad facing Chippenham at the same time, James Gibbons was the only ‘new’ face in the starting line-up, after his summer move from Port Vale.

After an early corner for the visitors, both sides struggled to get the ball under control for long spells. Aaron Collins fired off the first shot of the game, which was goal-bound but blocked by a Bath defender. The hosts went straight up the other end and, when Belshaw couldn’t claim a cross, Cody Cooke headed over an unguarded net, when he perhaps should have put his side ahead after 11 minutes.

They were made to pay for their profligacy a minute later as Ryan Loft put the Gas one goal up. Collins got in behind the Bath defence out on the left and cut the ball back, where Loft was on hand to fire confidently home.


Bath almost found an instant response when The Romans’ Raynes made a sweet connection on a volley from fully thirty yards that whistled inches over Belshaw’s bar.

They were level after half an hour though, as Fletcher slid home an inviting cross from the impressive left-winger Frear. Five minutes later, Bath were ahead; Fletcher firing home from the edge of the box for his second of the evening. The Gas had a flurry of late chances to equalise but all were blocked and the team from the Conference South went in 2-1 up at the interval.

The second half saw an unchanged line-up, but there was a change to the set-up, as full-backs Hoole and Gibbons switched flanks and Evans pushed further forward.

Bath went further ahead in the 51st minute as Cooke scored from the spot, sending Belshaw the wrong way after he himself was fouled by Kilgour.

Rovers were in need of some inspiration; wearing the kit they were relegated in two seasons ago was perhaps a curse.

Gibbons and Hoole switched sides again. In the 75th minute, it was almost 4-1 to Bath as substitute Smith’s shot was deflected past a stranded Belshaw but, thankfully, wide of the post.

Cooke had a glorious chance to score in the 80th minute, but Belshaw was able to clutch his close-range header.

Evans registered a shot on target for the Gas as home legs began to tire, but Wright safely gathered the ball.

Loft had a late chance to double his tally but misdirected his header.

There was just time for a bit of late drama as Loft was fouled, resulting in a scuffle between both sets of players. Order was soon restored, for Evans to fire the resulting free-kick wide of the target.

Next up in the pre-season schedule for Rovers is Swansea City in a behind-closed-doors fixture on Saturday afternoon, with a 1pm kick-off.

BATH: Wright, Raynes, Greenslade, Dyer, Parselie, Fletcher, Spokes, Cooke, Frear, Lines, Hayfield.

ROVERS: Belshaw, Hoole, Gibbons, Kilgour, Connolly, Finley, Evans, Collins, Loft, Grant, Anderson.

Referee: S Ouchene

Attendance: 1,908.

Read Time: 3 mins