Bristol Rovers 2-0 Stoke City: Who stood out, what happened & Aden Flint’s reception

Bristol Rovers put in an encouraging display against higher league opposition. (Image: Jordan Jones)Bristol Rovers put in an encouraging display against higher league opposition. (Image: Jordan Jones)
Bristol Rovers put in an encouraging display against higher league opposition. (Image: Jordan Jones) | Jordan Jones
Joey Barton’s men conclude their pre-season schedule with a 2-0 win over Stoke City at the Memorial Stadium in a solid showing

Bristol Rovers concluded their pre-season schedule with a 2-0 win gainst Championship opposition Stoke City at the Memorial Stadium.

An own-goal from former Bristol City defender Aden Flint and a strike from substitute Harvey Saunders gave the Gas the win, in spite of Aaron Collins’ penalty miss.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Gas will play an intrasquad friendly match in front of 2,000 fans on Saturday as part of an open day but as games against opposition go, this was the final match.

What happened

Alfie Kilgour, Josh Grant, Nick Anderton and club captain Paul Coutts were all absent with the latter perhaps not included given he’ll miss the first two league games of the campaign.

There was no Mem return for Connor Taylor who wasn’t included in the 18-man squad that made the trip to the West Country, despite being involved in their last three matches.

Instead, Aden Flint would take centre stage given his links to Bristol City with the Thatcher’s Terrace keen to tell him their opinion of him.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Stoke started on the front foot but could not muster up any clear-cut chances, instead D’margio Wright-Phillips was putting in some dangerous crosses.

On the half hour mark, Aaron Collins had the best opportunity for the hosts but his laced shot flew over the bar.

Tyrese Campbell was well picked out by Joe Bursik and the striker was able to force a save out of James Belshaw at his near post.

Thoroughly on top, Flint missed the chance to break the deadlock as Tom Sparrow’s freekick beat everyone but the diving header went wide.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

To close out the first period, Harry Anderson picked up the ball and exchanged a few passes with James Gibbons before Morgan Fox got in the way to deflect his shot away from goal.

Stoke took control in the early stages of the second-half and substitute Lewis Baker went near as his shot skidded past the post.

Rovers got given a golden chance to take the lead when Bursik fouled Marquis in the box after an undercut back pass from Flint. after losing possession of the ball. Collins took the ball but in a stuttered run-up, gave away his tactic to the goalkeeper.

They would take the lead moments later however and were gifted it like their penalty as Gibbons’ low cross took a touch off of Flint to trickle through.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There were a few nervy moments when Stoke pushed for an equaliser with some risky passes in the centre of the park but players were keen to retain possession, working hard.

Wright-Phillips, who had a decent first-half for the opposition came off but not before a brief chat with Barton, who will have played with his dad Shaun at Manchester City.

The result was put beyond doubt as Rovers scored in a brilliant breakaway move. From a Stoke corner-kick, they were able to clear and Anderson, playing on with a foul played in Saunders to poke the ball past Bursik with a composed finish.

A cherry was almost put on top of a fine performance as academy product Jerry Lawrence saw his strike let just fly of the target.

Who stood out

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Luca Hoole: Tried as a right sided centre-back in a back four rather than as a full-back or wing-back, Hoole put in a good account of himself as he tries to adapt to a newer role. May not be the most imposing defender but wasn’t afraid to put himself in the mix for crosses and header them away. A notable moment is when he made a well-timed slide to stop Jacob Brown from getting on the end of a Josh Tymon cross.

James Gibbons: A solid performance from one of the summer signings. Gibbons was keen to get forward and was working well with Anderson down his flank. From Tuesday evening’s showing he fits the mould of what Barton looks for in a wing-back. As he clock wound down, Gibbons mde

Harry Anderson: There were a few good runs from Anderson who looks set for a season on the flank after being deployed as a make-shift wing-back at times. Built up a good partnership with Gibbons and got an assist for Saunders goal.

Who has work to do

Ryan Loft: Came on to replace Marquis as it could be between those two to lead the line but he didn’t do too much when he entered the pitch and he didn’t get into any scoring opportunities.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Aaron Collins: Last season’s top scorer started the half brightly and tried to link up with Marquis in his newer position as a left-sided attacker, but it faltered out for him. He missed his chance to get on the score sheet with a poorly taken penalty.

Anthony Evans: He was here, there and everywhere but Evans couldn’t get his footing on the game. Evans is meant to be what Rovers are trying to build around but he wasn’t able to stamp his authority on the game and instead found himself conceding possession as well as cheap fouls.

Starting XI’s

Bristol Rovers (4-1-4-1): James Belshaw (Jed Ward), James Gibbons, Luca Hoole, Trevor Clarke (Sam Heal), Anthony Evans (Harvey Greenslade), Jordan Rossiter (Sam Finley), Zain Westbrooke (Jerry Lawrence), Harry Anderson (Ryan Jones), Aaron Collins (Harvey Saunders), John Marquis (Ryan Loft)

Stoke City: Joe Bursik, Aden Flint, Phil Jagielka (Ben Wilmot), Morgan Fox, Thomas Sparrow, Gavin Kilkenny, Sam Clucas, Josh Laurent (Lewis Baker), Liam McCarron (Josh Tymon), Tyrese Campbell (Jacob Brown), D’Margio Wright-Phillips.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.