Hill hat-trick sees Development Squad beaten at Weston
July 18, 2018
It was a difficult night for Rovers, who were playing their second game in four days against the highest level of opposition they’d so far faced in their preperations for the new campaign.
Weston’s Gethyn Hill was the host’s star man, netting a hat-trick, two within the first 15 minutes and what has to be said, an excellent chip in the second half.
Rovers did manage to find a goal of their own, with substitute Trialist 4 alert to knock in a dropped ball from the Weston keeper after a fellow Trialist had tested him from distance.
Chris Hargreaves fielded a more familiar looking side than at Saturday’s win, with just two trialists named in the starting XI, however was still missing a number of regulars through injury.
Alexis Andre-Jr replaced Liam Armstrong in goal, Josh Bailey returned to the centre of the defence after playing for the first team on the weekend and Zain Walker earned a start after scoring the winner off the bench at Yate Town.
Cameron Ebbutt and Cameron Allen also earned starts up front, with a number of trialists dropping to the bench.
The game didn’t get off to the best of starts for Rovers, as they fell behind after just three minutes with Weston’s Hill finishing from close range off of a low driven cross from the right.
Hargeaves Snr.’s men were struggling to get a foothold in proceedings and fell further behind on 12 minutes, with Hill doubling his and Weston’s tally after cutting inside on his right foot off the left and rifling the ball beyond Andre.
Rovers got their closest sight of goal so far about five minutes later, as a short Hargreaves corner found its way to Allen on the edge of the box, but the striker’s low finish was just wide.
The visitors were picking up a few free-kicks in the opposition’s half and had a couple of half-sighters at goal, first with Ben Morgan forcing a save with a header at the back post, and then Allen doing the same with a low driven free-kick from roughly 25-yards.
With half an hour played, keeper Andre went from a moment of madness to a moment of maginificence.
Just seconds after almost fluffing a one-two with Morgan and allowing a Weston man a freebie on goal, he produced an outstanding save low to his left as an opposing man looked certain to find the net about 10-yards out.
As we approached the break Rovers were seeing more of the ball in advanced positions, however Weston were still asking questions at the other end as Hill looked to latch onto a long ball and volley home his hat-trick; but his shot wasn’t clean and Andre was quick down to his near post.
The interval saw five changes to the line-up, with Ebbutt, Allen, Walker and the two trialists making way for Connor Jones, Theo Widdrington and three trialists.
Rovers began the second half with some decent early pressure, led by the three half time trialist additions, with trialist 5 digging out a decent effort from the edge of the box that fell wide of the target.
However with little over a third of the game remaining, Hill got his hat-trick and Weston went three up, with the striker scoring an admittedly brilliant chip from the edge of the area, into the top corner beyond the reach of Andre.
10 minutes later though and Rovers had one back, with Trialist 4 knocking in a rebound from close range after the keeper had failed to keep hold of Trialist 3’s low cross.
Moments before that Morgan could’ve and should’ve been on the scoresheet, finding himself five yards out with more or less an open goal from Trialist 3’s free kick delivery but the defender couldn’t get anything on the ball.
As we entered the final five minutes, the game lost a level of its intensity, although Weston did produce one flowing move down the right side that saw them almost add a fourth but for a quick thinking Andre to rush out and smother the chance and ensure the game finished 3-1.
Rovers XI: Alexis Andre (GK), Trialist 1 (Connor Jones, 45), Ben Morgan, Josh Bailey, Jamie Bremner, Luke Russe, Cameron Hargreaves, Trialist 2 (Theo Widdrington, 45), Zain Walker (Trialist 5, 45), Cameron Ebbutt (Trialist 4, 45), Cameron Allen (Trialist 3, 45).
Unused Subs: Graeme Anderson (GK), Osian Dillon.