Rovers tackle double header
Rovers took part in something of a bonanza yesterday with two games in one afternoon.
The Rovers first and youth teams were essentially split into two to take part in friendlies against Accrington Stanley first, with Morecambe following shortly after.And with Rover23 away on holiday and Sasman a decent plane trip away we invited VBer StJimmy to have a crack at a match report for us.
Rovers named a first 11 that included several first team players with a trialist at right back, a youth player in Midfield and a Reserve in a central DM role.
Ribeiro. Hanley. Givet. Olsson
Andrews. Linganzi Knowles. MGP
The game started in typical friendly fashion in that both teams were very cautious in the early opening exchanges. Accrington almost took the lead after when Olsson who was playing at left back hit a weak back pass back to Robinson and Accrington Trialist Kurtis Guthrie fortunately hit a weak effort into Robinson's hands. This clearly rallied Rovers and started getting more into the game with some good pass and move football.
After 15 minutes, Rovers took the lead through Keith Andrews after a lovely build up and a 1-2 with Kalinic, Andrews showed great composure to finish calmly into the bottom corner.
Around the half hour mark, Junior pulled up and had to be taken off. He was replaced by Micah Evans who was impressive all game
The game entered into a quiet affair with most of the noise coming from the standing Rovers fans, with the occasional cheer from the 20 or so Accrington fans.
Rovers were well on top after the initial shaky period in the opening stages. And went into half time 1 goal to the good!
I must admit I missed the Accrington goal due to the long queues at the food kiosk! But it was a straightforward cross and heading into the corner.
Rovers took the lead around 10 minutes later with a goal from Niko Kalinic. A looping cross was sent over and caused confusion between the Stanley keeper and defender and Niko was there at the right place and right time as was evidenced last season against Everton and Man City
The game was labouring on at typical friendly pace. Rovers were introducing their youth team into proceedings such as Cotton, Henley and Kean. The youngsters were keen to make an impression and were clearly dominating the game without actually playing great. Grant Hanley almost made it 3-1 but Accrington held on to keep the score at a respectable 2-1.
Typical friendly with a good following from Rovers fans. A good workout for the team who didn't have it all their own way at times. I was impressed particularly with Micah Evans. He filled Juniors boots with ease and he'll be one to watch when he emerges from our youth team.
I have to go on the record that our trialist looked very nervous and lost the ball on numerous occasions but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt as it was the first time playing in the Rovers squad, so I'll give him chance to settle himself down. After all Salgado struggled initially and now he's one of the most consistent players Rovers have.
Man of the Match
Andrews; by far our best player in a game that was short on quality but Keith put in a decent game and looked good but not spectacular.
After an hour of waiting and discussing all things Rovers, a strong side emerged for the game against Morecambe.
Salgado Anderson Samba Gunning
The opening exchanges between the two sides were a stark contrast to the first game. Both teams hungry for the ball and Morecambe making more of an impression in front of their home fans. Rovers struggled to get a foothold into the game and it showed when Morecambe took the lead through Jevons who volleyed in a long ball into the box. Morecambe were clearly the more positive side going into half time.
However Rovers had their chances but ultimately the lack of composure meant we went into half time 1-0 down.
The second half started in the same vein as the lead up to half time but slowly one player was emerging and was looking very good on and off the ball; one Mauro Formica. He was slowly growing in confidence and seeing a lot more of the ball. He looked very good at keeping the ball and staying on his feet, dinking past players. Not in the same vein as Messi or Maradona I hasten to add.
Slowly but surely as the fans were in full voice, Rovers started to find their rythmn but couldnt find a way past a stubborn Morecambe defence. We made a break through with Nick Blackman bursting into the box and being blatantly hacked down. But no penalty. This seemed to galvanise Rovers and we were soon on level terms through that man Mauro Formica. A header down to his feet and he burst into the box and rifled home past the Morecambe keeper.
The game then just fizzled out with a few chances, none of which of note and the game duly ended 1 a piece. A fair reflection on both teams efforts.
A closely fought game than anticipated. Some good football played by both teams. A strong workout which exactly what is needed. Not the best of games but that's only to be expected in pre-season. The ball was moved about at ease at times. Whether Rovers can replicate that in the upcoming season remains to be seen. Myles Anderson looked pretty good I must say and was impressed with him.
Man of the Match
Formica, he was slow at the start of the game but as the game wore on he became more confident. Took his goal well. Long may it continue!