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Report: Rovers 1 Bury 0

16 July 2016

Danny Graham scored the winner for the second pre-season game running, as Rovers defeated Bury 1-0.

The summer signing from Sunderland, who scored the only goal of the game against Austrian Bundesliga side SV Ried last weekend, repeated the feat with a header from a Connor Mahoney corner on seven minutes.

John O'Sullivan came close to doubling Rovers' lead on 21 minutes, but his initial header hit the base of the post and he blazed the rebound horribly over the bar.

Rovers were then denied by the woodwork for a second time on 50 minutes when Mahoney played in Graham, but his left-foot strike came crashing back against the post.

Rovers were rarely threatened at the other end, as they saw the game out comfortably to kick-off the three-team tournament with a deserved win.

In the absence of Grant Hanley, who is still nursing a knee injury, and Shane Duffy, who doesn't report back for pre-season training until Monday following his involvement at Euro 2016, Academy defender Tyler Magloire was handed his first run out for the senior side. 

The 17-year-old scholar, who featured 23 times for the Under-18s last season, including twice in the FA Youth Cup run to the semi-final stage, started in the centre of defence alongside the experienced Elliott Ward.

Jason Steele started in goal, with Jason Lowe at right-back and Jack Doyle at left-back. Hope Akpan and Danny Guthrie formed the midfield duo, with Elliott Bennett and Mahoney on the flanks.

O'Sullivan provided support for Graham up front.

Trialist Faissal El Bakhtaoui, who fired Dunfermline to the Scottish League One title last season with 30 goals in 41 games, started on the bench, but came on for a lively late cameo.

In the Lancashire sunshine, Bury made a bright start, with Leon Clarke testing Steele with a left-foot shot from the edge of the area on four minutes.

However, it was Rovers who made the early breakthrough just three minutes later. Bennett delivered an inswinging free-kick from the left, which was met by Ward in the middle, but his towering header was superbly tipped over the bar by Ben Williams.

But from the resultant Mahoney corner, the ball popped up to Graham, who headed across goal and the ball found the far corner.

Magloire made an excellent block to deny Clarke moments later, before Rovers really ought to have doubled their lead just past the 20-minute mark.

Graham won a corner over on the left, which Bennett took. Graham headed the ball back across goal to O'Sullivan, whose initial header hit the post and he blazed the rebound over bar.

On 23 minutes, a snap-shot from Hallam Hope from the edge of the area whislted just past Steele's right-hand post, before Rovers immediately threatened again straight down the other end.

A well-worked move saw Guthrie play in O'Sullivan down the right, he centred from the byline for Akpan, but he couldn't make a clean connection in the centre.

Seconds later, Rovers piled on the pressure again and with Bury unable to clear the lines, the ball came out to Guthrie, who volleyed inches wide of the target from the edge of the box.

The half-time interval came at a bad time for Rovers, who were well on top, and the second period took time to kick into life.

On 39 minutes, Mahoney delivered an inviting cross from the left, but it was just too far in front of Graham, who couldn't connect at full stretch.

El Bakhtaoui was introduced on 48 minutes, replacing O'Sullivan, but it was Graham who almost grabbed his second moments later.

Mahoney latched onto a long goal kick before slipping in Graham to his left, but his left-foot strike rattled the up-right, with Williams well beaten.

Straight down the other end, Nicky Clark's shot deflected just over and from the resultant corner, an over-head kick was straight at Steele.

On 56 minutes, Lowe swung over a cross from the right, El Bakhtaoui got up well, but his header sailed over the bar.

The French forward showed neat footwork on a couple of occasions as Rovers looked to add more goals, but they were forced to settle for just one.

Next up is Morecambe at 2.30pm.

ROVERS: Steele, Lowe, Ward, Magloire, Doyle, Bennett, Akpan, Guthrie, Mahoney, O'Sullivan (El Bakhtaoui 48), Graham.

BURY: Williams, Jones, Maher, Demetriou, Leigh, Etuhu, Mellis, Danns, Hope, Clark, Clarke.

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