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Report: Stanley 0 Rovers 2

11 July 2015

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An injury to Jordan Rhodes overshadowed a Rovers victory over Accrington Stanley in their opening pre-season friendly of the summer.

The Rovers striker went down innocuously just past the midway point of the first half with what appeared to be an ankle injury, and after lengthy treatment was eventually stretchered off.

That took the gloss off what was an encouraging first outing of the summer. A lively opening saw Rovers lead courtesy of a strike from Dean Furman after excellent work from Ryan Nyambe.

The second half was a closer contest, with David Raya saving an Anthony Barry penalty after a poor back-pass from Craig Conway just past the hour mark.

But nine minutes from time Conway redeemed himself with the second goal for Rovers, firing into the top corner of the goal from 20-yards to seal the win.

The first half saw boss Gary Bowyer hand trialists Giles Coke, Dean Furman and Liam Nolan an outing, whilst there was a welcome return to action for Shane Duffy in the centre of defence.

However it was the home side who had the first opportunity of the first half with the woodwork rattled after just four minutes.

Stanley striker Josh Windass cut inside to let fly from the edge of the box with keeper Jason Steele getting the faintest of connections to tip it onto the post.

Rovers responded well to that early scare to take control of proceedings. Darragh Lenihan heading over a Connor Mahoney corner, before the Blue and Whites struck on 12 minutes.

Ryan Nyambe, making his first outing for the first team, was the architect. The young full back got down the right and to the byline before pulling the ball back for Furman to blast home emphatically.

Stanley stopper Jason Mooney had to be alert to push aside a goalbound Ben Marshall free-kick, before he claimed a downward header from defender Duffy.

Rovers continued to force the pace, but on 28 minutes they were dealt a blow when Rhodes went down on the edge of the box after attempting to block a clearance. The striker appeared to catch his studs in the turf and went down holding his ankle.

After a spell of treatment Rhodes was eventually stretchered off, to applause - yet concern - from the travelling support.

Rhodes' replacement John O'Sullivan took up the attacking mantle, immediately getting in the thick of the action with a fine control and shot that flashed over.

Furman saw claims for a penalty waved away when he appeared to be pulled down in the box, before Marshall curled an effort just over after yet more good work from O'Sullivan.

Rovers made ten changes at the start of the second half, with just O'Sullivan keeping his place from the first half team.

Grant Hanley, Matt Kilgallon and Anton Forrester returned from injury, whilst another trialist, Frenchman Sacha Petshi given his bow.

With Stanley also changing their team, the second half lacked the intensity of the first half and it wasn't until the 65th minute that either goal was threatened.

The chance fell to Chris Brown who beat the offside trap to race through on goal, but his effort was tame and straight into the keepers' arms.

Within sixty seconds the home side had a chance to get back on level terms from the penalty spot.

A poor back pass from Craig Conway caught David Raya out at the back. The Spaniard did well to stop the ball on the line but as Adam Morgan stole in he tripped the Stanley striker for a clear-cut spot-kick.

Anthony Barry stepped up for Stanley but Raya guessed the right way, superbly diving to his right to keep the ball out, Kilgallon completing the clearance.

Trialist Petshi was encouraged to shoot as space opened up for the midfielder, but his piledriver of a shot was well handled by Etheridge.

Nine minutes from time Rovers finally grabbed the second goal their play deserved. Craig Conway drifting inside to let fly from the corner of the box, the Scotsman's shot finding the top corner of the net.

But for a fantastic save from Raya in the final seconds Stanley would have pulled a goal back. Adam Morgan fired goalwards at the back post but the young keeper made a brilliant point-blank save to ensure a win and a clean sheet on their first pre-season outing.

The first team squad will now jet off to Portugal for a week of warm weather training, before they return to the UK to face Rochdale on Tuesday 21st July.

STANLEY 1ST HALF: Mooney, Winnard, Pearson, Wright, Davies, Crooks, McConville, McCartan, Windass, Kee, Carver.

STANLEY 2ND HALF: Etheridge, Conneely, Morgan, Mingoia, Cummins, Goulding, Bruna, Gornell, Barry, Buxton, St. Juste.

Goals: None

Booked: None

ROVERS 1ST HALF: Steele, Nyambe, Spurr, Coke, Lenihan, Duffy, Nolan, Furman, Rhodes (c) (sub O'Sullivan 31 mins), Marshall, Mahoney.

ROVERS 2ND HALF: Raya, Thomson, Hanley (c), Kilgallon, Olsson, Williamson, Petshi, O'Sullivan, Conway, Forrester, Brown.

Goals: Furman 12 mins, Conway 81 mins.

Booked: None

Attendance: 1497 (816 Rovers fans)

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