Rovers' winning return to The Mem!
The Gas saw out their pre-season campaign with a fine 2-0 victory over Stoke City!
The Rovers team that started the first game back at The Mem since that infamous day against Scunthorpe United in May included all four of our summer signings.
The first chance of the game fell to Stoke. A corner kick was cleared by new addition James Gibbons. The ball then fell to Aden Flint whose shot was blocked and then cleared by Trevor Clarke.
Rovers had appeals for a spot kick waved away by referee Chris Husband after a wicked Antony Evans free-kick evaded everyone and appeared to strike the arm of Morgan Fox.
Aaron Collins tried his luck at goal on the half-hour mark but wasn't able to keep his effort from 25-yards on target. Tom Sparrow's deceiving set-piece delivery very nearly caused Rovers problems at the back with Aden Flint sneaking in at the back post. The defender couldn't keep his stooping header on target much to the delight of the Gasheads behind Belshaw's goal.
Harry Anderson had a chance to open the scoring just before the half-time interval after capitalising on a slip by Phil Jagielka but saw his effort from a tight angle cleared for a corner kick. Rovers started the second half on the front foot. A driven ball across the box from Evans rebounded out to Gibbons who took a touch and looked to place an outside-footed strike at goal where Stoke 'keeper Joe Bursik was able to claim.
Tricky play in the box from new signing John Marquis won Rovers a penalty kick. Aaron Collins' spot kick was saved by Bursik. Rovers did take the lead only minutes later. Fantastic play from Anderson played Gibbons in behind the Stoke backline where he drove the ball across the six-yard area where Aden Flint was only able to turn the ball into his own net.
Rovers doubled their lead with 12 minutes left to play. A superb Harry Anderson assist set Harvey Saunders on his way and he made no mistake with his finish, slotting it cooly under Bursik and into the net for his fourth goal in our pre-season campaign.
Rovers begin their League One campaign in our next game against Forest Green Rovers on Saturday, 30th July (3pm KO).
ROVERS: Belshaw, Gibbons, Clarke, Hoole, Connolly, Evans, Rossiter, Westbrooke, Collins, Marquis, Anderson.
Subs: Jaakkola, Ward, Loft, Finley, Greenslade, Jones, Egan, Saunders, Lawrence.
STOKE: Bursik, Flint, Jagielka, Fox, Sparrow, Kilkenny, Clucas, Laurent, McCarron, Campbell, Wright-Phillips.
Subs: Fielding, Wilmot, Jones, Tymon, Griffiths, Baker, Brown.
Referee: S Hooper.