Development Squad held at Cheltenham

Jan 30, 2019 | Development squad, News

Rovers enjoyed the best chances of the first half but failed to convert the opportunities into goals. Harry Warwick had the best chance just prior to the break, as the striker saw his effort glanced onto the crossbar by Lovett in the Cheltenham goal.

In contrast to the first half, the Development Squad had to show patience and persevere with Cheltenham hosting the majority of possession during the second half but limited the chances on goal for the hosts.

Sam Slocombe produced a fine stop to deny Matt Bower inside the final quarter of the game, as Rovers perhaps should have been awarded a penalty, when Cameron Hargreaves was tripped inside the Cheltenham box.

In stoppage time, Ben Morgan glanced a late opportunity for winning goal over the crossbar, after the defender did well to get on the end of a James Spruce corner.

Listed in the starting XI for the fixture was a blend of experienced first-team players and some members of the U18’s squad as well, to compliment the core of Development Squad players involved.

The headline inclusion came in the shape of Stuart Sinclair, who captained the Rovers outfit on his continued return from a spell of the sidelines through injury.

Rollin Menayese paired with Ben Morgan at the heart of the Rovers back four, as there were chances for both Harry Warwick and Rhys Kavanagh to impress, with the duo tasked with leading the front line for Rovers.

Rovers enjoyed a bright start, as a neat turn of direction from Rhys Kavanagh opened up a chance to stretch the Cheltenham defence. The striker looked up to asses the options and drifted a threatening cross that narrowly bounced wide at the far post.

Chances kept presenting themselves for Rovers, as Rollin Menayese broke free to meet a corner and saw his header deflected clear on the goalline.

Rhys Kavanagh looked lively throughout and forced Cheltenham ‘keeper Lovett into action to turn his forcefully struck shot around the post. Shortly after, a series of quick exchanges between Kavanagh and Warwick forced an opportunity for the latter. Youngster Warwick did well to dribble the ball around the goalkeeper but struggling with his balance and the tight angle, the striker stroked his effort into the side netting.

On the break, Rovers looked a constant threat with the creativity and pace of Lucas Tomlinson and Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist.

It was counter-attack that set up Rovers’ next opportunity, as Harry Warwick snatched possession in the middle of the park and rolled a pass into the path of Cameron Hargreaves. The midfielder carried the ball to the edge of the box, but being forced wider by the backtracking Cheltenham defence managed to cut a square pass towards Rhys Kavanagh in the middle. The pass reached the striker, but he couldn’t adjust his feet in time to mount a shot on goal.

The best chance of the first half came five minutes before the interval. Harry Warwick showed good strength to muscle his way onto the ball and a quick burst of pace set him on a break towards goal. As the striker arrived inside the Cheltenham area, he drew in goalkeeper before planting a side-footed effort that Lovett in Cheltenham goal was able to touch onto the crossbar, in what was fine stop.

Chances weren’t so easy to come by after the break. Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist flashed a volley wide of the mark, in what was rare opportunity inside the opening stages of the final forty-five minutes.

The hosts came into the contest more as the second half progressed, but resolute defending from Menayese and Morgan thwarted and serious challenges on the Rovers goal, as Sam Slocombe remained untested between the sticks.

As the game entered the final twenty minutes, Rovers had a strong appeal for a penalty dismissed as Cameron Hargreaves appeared to be tripped on the turn inside the Cheltenham box. Rollin Menayese went close again from a corner, as the defender saw his effort clambered clear on the goalline.

At the other end, Cheltenham crafted a chance of their own, as Matt Bower broke free and managed to poke an effort towards goal that was stopped by a fine save from Sam Slocombe.

There was a late chance for Rovers to snatch a  winner, as James Spruce guided a corner into the congested penalty area, with the delivery glanced over the target from a forceful header by Ben Morgan.

Rovers: Sam Slocombe, Scott Isherwood, Rollin Menayese, Ben Morgan, Alfie Clarke, Lucas Tomlinson, Stuart Sinclair (C) (64′ Tom Mehew), Cameron Hargreaves (82′ Connor Jones), Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist (87′ James Spruce, Harry Warwick (65′ Deon Moore), Rhys Kavanagh.

Subs: Alexis Andre-Jr.