Weston-super-Mare 1 Bristol Rovers 3
PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 July 2016 | UPDATED: 10:26 14 July 2016
Newly-promoted Bristol Rovers made a visit to the Woodspring stadium last night (Wednesday) and ran out 3-1 winners in what was a competitive pre-season friendly.
Weston 1 (Richards 39)
Bristol Rovers 3 (Gaffney 9, Easter 18, Lucas 49)
Rovers will play in League One next season after gaining promotion last year.
Weston’s National League campaign was not quite as enviable as they finished the National League South in a respectable 16th place.
This was Weston’s second pre-season friendly in three days, after they beat Western League Premier Division side Bitton 4-0 on Monday night.
But this was a different challenge entirely and Rovers sealed victory comfortably.
However, it was a good run-out for the Seagulls as the new season fast approaches.
Weston started well and forced an early corner after some strong passing between Jake Mawford and Tristan Plummer.
Mawford’s pace was causing all sorts of problems and he ran free from the Rovers defence and forced visiting keeper, Steve Mildenhall, into a great save after just two minutes.
Byron Moore then tested Weston keeper Luke Purnell, who made a diving save just three minutes later.
But it was the visitors who struck first after nine minutes. Striker Rory Gaffney’s bullet header was a trademark poacher’s goal and set Rovers on their way.
After they took the lead the Gas started to take control of the game and every attack looked dangerous.
Ten minutes later, the pressure showed and the hosts gifted Rovers a second goal. Clayton Fortune slid in clumsily on Byron Moore in the box.
Experienced forward Jermaine Easter made no mistake with the penalty and coolly slotted home.
But Weston were playing well and worked exceptionally hard out of possession. The Seagulls were given their just rewards six minutes before the break.
Mildenhall came out of his box early and former Bristol Rovers forward Eliot Richards took full advantage after some good build-up play, which made the tie poised at 2-1 at the break.
Richards is currently on trial at the club but Northmore told the Mercury while he fits the bill for the Seagulls, he does still have a desire to play football full-time.
After all that good work, Weston’s lack of concentration resulted in an early second half goal from Jay Lucas to put the match out of reach.
The former Weston player broke free and made no mistake with his finish as part of a new-look Rovers side, which made ten changes at the break.
But the Seagulls didn’t let it deter them and still moved well with the ball – just without that killer finish.
Weston manager Ryan Northmore told the Mercury playing against a better side is really important in pre-season matches.
He said: “Monday was a good workout and was about doing good work with the ball, and tonight was about playing without the ball.
“The first half was good and the second half was very one-sided. But it is really important to play these sides.
“It was great to have such a big crowd and we want as many people to come as possible. But we have to give them a reason to come.
“We now have an extremely tough test against Barnsley but all the players want to play.
“They are already looking at wanting to make their way into the starting 11.
“They seem to have gelled on the social side and they are now starting to work well together on the football side.”
Weston will host Barnsley in their next pre-season friendly on Saturday, kick off is at 3pm.
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