Development squad in 1-1 draw at Yate

August 11, 2018

In naming his starting XI for the pre-season encounter, Chris Hargreaves opted to name a strong starting eleven.

Alfie Kilgour was positioned at the heart of defence alongside Ben Morgan, while James Sprue, Mo Baghdadi and Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist were tasked with occupying the attacking threat for the Development Squad.

In the opening stages, Rovers looked to impose themselves in the game early. Theo Widdrington’s pinpoint pass towards Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist looked set to allow the forward an opportunity one-on-one with the Yate ‘keeper, but the flag was quickly raised for offside to put an end to the move inside the opening ten minutes.

An adventurous run forward by Alfie Clarke allowed the left-back to break deep into the Yate half during the opening exchanges, as a driven cross from the defender narrowly missed James Spruce inside the six-yard area – with the striker at full-stretch to stroke the cross home.

Rovers kept asking questions of the Yate back line and after a spell of pressure, a bouncing ball inside the home sides area fell to the feet of Mo Baghdadi, who dragged a first-time effort wide of goal.

With Rovers looking comfortable in possession, Chris Hargreaves’ side took every opportunity to play the ball through midfield to launch quick breaks into the final third. James Spruce took advantage of such a phase of play, with the striker allowed space to pick out a chipped pass through to meet the run of Cameron Hargreaves. The midfielder took a touch to cushion the pass onto his right foot and fired a powerful shot towards goal that was pushed wide by Yate ‘keeper Thomas at the near post.

As the half-time break approached, Theo Widdrington stood over a set-piece in a dangerous position, just twenty yards out from goal. The midfielder managed to get the lift on the shot required to beat the Yate wall, but couldn’t get his set-piece to generate the required dip to see the effort test the goalkeeper, as the attempt drifted over the crossbar.

The second half began on a lively note, as a fierce tackle on Alfie Clarke led to both sets of players demonstrating opposing views on the tackle. The defender was unhurt in the incident and play quickly resumed.

It wasn’t long before another challenge enraged the Rovers bench, as Cameron Hargreaves was tripped when bursting through on goal. Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist was tasked with the resulting set-piece, but the midfielder’s effort nestled straight into the Yate wall.

Leigh-Gilchrist was involved again soon after, as a fantastic turn by midfielder saw him dance past one challenge on the edge of the area and unleash a low-shot towards goal that was pushed away from danger, which was quickly followed by a long-range attempt from Cameron Hargreaves that flew narrowly wide of the target.

In the closing stages, with an influx of substitutions from both sides, the game struggled to offer chances on goal, that was until the closing five minutes.

Rovers took the lead late on as Luke Russe’s cross from the right was converted by Connor Jones on the volley, in what was a fine finish from twelve yards from the youngster.

Just as Rovers looked to have secured the win, the hosts pulled back level in the final minute of the match. A break down the right saw a dangerous cross being drilled across the face of the Rovers goal, as James Ollis was on hand to tap home at the far-post to ensure the game ended with a level scoreline.

Rovers: Trialist, Alfie Clarke, Ben Morgan (65′ Josh Bailey), Alfie Kilgour (65′ Lewis Ison), Trialist, Cameron Hargreaves, Luke Russe, Theo Widdrington, Mo Baghdadi (65′ Ebbutt), Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist, James Spruce (45′ Trialist).

Substitutes: Alexis Andre-Jr, Lewis Ison, Cameron Ebbutt, Connor Jones, Trialist, Josh Bailey.

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