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Report: SV Ried 0 Rovers 1

9 July 2016

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Danny Graham was back on the scoresheet as Rovers ended their Austrian training camp with a hard-working 1-0 win over Bundesliga side SV Ried.

Following a week of intensive training in Obertraun, Rovers headed to Upper Austria for their first pre-season friendly of the summer.

Their opponents were well down the line in terms of their pre-season preparations, having already played five fixtures - winning four - but it was Owen Coyle's side who took the spoils thanks to Graham's second-half strike.

Two Rovers new boys played their part in the goal, as Jack Byrne found Anthony Stokes out left and the Ireland international drove forward, before squaring the ball to Graham to slot home.

Stokes came close to doubling Rovers' lead late on, but was denied by a fine reaction save.

Ahead of the game, Coyle named two of his five summer signings in his first starting line-up as Rovers manager.

Stephen Hendrie, who has joined on a season-long loan from West Ham, started at left-back, whilst Graham, who scored seven goals in 18 games on loan from Sunderland last season, led the line up front.

Ben Marshall operated in a number 10 role just behind Graham, with Elliott Bennett and Craig Conway providing support from the flanks.

Hope Akpan and Darragh Lenihan started in the centre of midfield, whilst Elliott Ward and Scott Wharton, who played the full 90 minutes, started in the centre of defence. 

Jason Lowe, who got the nod at right-back, captained the side in the absence of Grant Hanley, who wasn't risked after picking up a knee injury in training yesterday. Jason Steele started in goal.

In hot and humid conditions, Rovers saw plenty of the ball early on and created the game's first chance on nine minutes.

Conway's cross from the left was headed behind for a corner, which was cleared only as far as Marshall, whose 25-yard strike forced a fine save from SV Ried keeper Thomas Gebauer, who gathered at the second attempt.

Straight down the other end, Patrick Moschl cut in from the right and fired a left-foot shot from the edge of the area, which a diving Steele had to punch behind. The resulting corner was played short, before centre back Ozgur Ozdemir, who was wearing a face mask, headed over in the middle.

On 14 minutes, Bennett's free-kick from the right found Graham at the back post, but he headed over the bar.

Moments later, the lively Moschl tried his luck again from the edge of the area, but this time his right-foot shot failed to trouble the target.

There was a short break in play on the half-hour mark as the players took in some fluids in the sweltering heat and when the game got back underway, SV Ried striker Marvin Egho flashed a left-foot shot across the face of goal.

Ried threatened again on 41 minutes when Clemens Walch picked Akpan's pocket on halfway, before bursting into the box and firing a left-foot shot on the angle narrowly over the bar.

Rovers then had two chances in quick succession just before the break. Bennett won a corner on the right, which he took himself and Ward's downward header from close range bounced down and up over the bar.

Then, on the stroke of half-time, Marshall's long throw came out to Akpan, who took a touch before rifling a 25-yard volley inches wide of Gebauer's right-hand post.

Rovers made five changes at the interval, with David Raya replacing Steele in goal, Adam Henley coming on for Lowe, Liam Feeney on for Bennett and new boys Byrne and Stokes coming on for Marshall and Conway.

The hosts made a bright start to the second half, with Walch supplying a couple of dangerous crosses from the right, which Henley did well to deal with the first and Ward headed the second behind.

Rovers were content to contain their opponents and then opened the scoring just past the hour mark, with a really well-worked goal.

Byrne worked the ball out left to Stokes, who drove forward down the flank, before squaring the ball to strike partner Graham, who stroked home a superb first-time shot from the edge of the area.

On 72 minutes, Byrne again worked the ball out left, this time to Connor Mahoney, whose deep cross was volleyed into the arms of sub keeper Reuf Durakovic by Feeney at the far post.

Feeney then turned provider, as Rovers almost doubled their lead seven minutes from time. The returning Rover, signed recently from Bolton, delivered a superb cross from the right, Stokes glanced a first-time shot goalwards, but Durakovic pulled off a smart reaction save.

Rovers saw the game out with relative ease to ensure that they opened their pre-season schedule with a victory.

The squad will fly home tomorrow, before stepping up their fitness levels further at Brockhall next week, before taking part in a three-team tournament at Morecambe next weekend.

SV RIED: Gebauer (Durakovic 46), Marcos (Chessa 61), Ozdemir, Reifeltshammer, Antonitsch, Zulj (Ramadani 88), Prada (Brandstatter 88), Brandner (Frank 88), Moschl (Bergmann 76), Egho (Schubert 61), Walch (Walch 61).

ROVERS: Steele (Raya 46), Lowe (Henley 46), Ward (Hardcastle 67), Wharton, Hendrie (Doyle 77), Bennett (Feeney 46), Lenihan (Nyambe 89), Akpan (O'Sullivan 82), Conway (Stokes 46), Marshall (Byrne 46), Graham (Mahoney 63).
Subs: Fisher, Guthrie, Mansell.

Goal: Graham (62)

Attendance: 1,100

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