Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bristol Rovers 1-2 Coventry

Rovers lost their final pre-season game by 2-1 at home to Coventry City this afternoon after a brace from Cody McDonald sandwiched a Matt Harrold header. Despite a weak first half performance the Gas upped the ante in the second period and looked a lot better and played some good football. There were chances for us to grab an equaliser but it wasn't to be as a combination of good goalkeeping from Chris Dunn and wayward finishing restricted our goalscoring capability.

Rovers starting line-up consisted of trialists Iain Turner, who got the nod to play which surely signals that he is likely to be our new number 1 next season, and Fabian Broghammer, who has yet to be confirmed as a Gas player. The team in full was; Turner, Smith, Virgo, Paterson, L. Brown, Lund, Clucas, Norburn, Broghammer, Clarkson, Harrold.

We didn't start particularly brightly and although Coventry were also a little sluggish it was the Sky Blues who began to take control of the game. They thought they had taken the lead through Richard Woods but the defender was adjudged to have fouled makeshift centre half Jim Paterson in the process so a free-kick was awarded. Lund and Harrold then attempted to give Rovers the lead but it didn't take long for Coventry to get back down the other end and score themselves. A cross from the left-hand side was delivered and McDonald was on hand to head home completely unmarked by a Rovers defender.

At this point it would have been fair to assume they would apply further pressure but a corner from Broghammer was about to change the game somewhat. The German whipped in a fine ball and Harrold met it with his head for the equaliser 5 minutes before half-time. Both sides went in to the break thinking they could come back out in the second half and take the game to the opposition and unfortunately it was our visitors who had thought correctly. Tricky McDonald cut inside on the left and despite a weak effort he wrong-footed Turner and the ball rolled in to the back of the net in front of the travelling fans.

Joe Anyinsah performed well as a sub
Substitutions then began to take over the game and it was one of ours that offered the greatest encouragement to Mark McGhee. Joe Anyinsah, who was publicly known to be a player who would have been allowed to leave over the summer, showed great pace, skill and crossing ability to create a number of chances. He's worked his way back in to McGhee's thinking and will have done his chances of appearing against Ipswich no harm at all. It was one of his fine runs down the right hand side that created an opportunity for Wayne Brown but his fellow substitute's effort was well saved by Dunn. Rovers then engineered another chance when Seanan Clucas' cross was met with an overhead kick by David Clarkson and despite showing great technique his effort sailed over the bar. Anyinsah then had a header that didn't trouble Dunn before the game petered out, handing Coventry their victory.

Whilst McGhee and supporters may have been concerned by certain elements of Rovers' play, their second half showing will have offered great encouragement to all who watched. We now head in to the opening week of the new season with excitement and optimism - hopefully not misplaced. It is hoped some new signings can be made before Ipswich on Tuesday but if that is not possible then the target will be to land them prior to our league opener against Oxford. If you've not already voted on Life's a Gas new poll please do so, many Gasheads clearly still think we can have a successful season despite our injuries and incomplete squad.

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