‘Making his case’ ‘Put himself about’ - Bristol Rovers player ratings after Braga run-out

Bristol Rovers’ pre-season tour in Portugal finishes with a narrow defeat to Champions League bound Braga

Bristol Rovers performed well against elite opposition. (Image: Getty Images) Bristol Rovers performed well against elite opposition. (Image: Getty Images)
Bristol Rovers performed well against elite opposition. (Image: Getty Images)

Bristol Rovers’ Portuguese leg of their pre-season finished with a late 3-2 defeat to S.C. Braga at the Estadio Municipal de Lagos.

Ricardo Horta scored inside stoppage time for the side that are in the third round of qualifying in the UEFA Champions League and finished third last year. Aaron Collins opened the scoring after being assisted by Luke Thomas, but Andre Castro equalised with an unstoppable effort.

Jevani Brown resored the Gas’ lead with a fine strike of his own, matching Castro’s effort for quality but Rodrigo Macedo was gifted the chance of an equaliser after a mix-up between James Belshaw and Luca Hoole.

In the second period, Joey Barton’s side were under the cosh for most of the half, and defended their goal well up until the end when younger bodies were on. Horta was found in space by Rodrigo Gomes, and he stroked home from close range.

James Belshaw - 6

A string of good saves from Belly from various angles. He did come under pressure a few times though when the ball was played back to him, and was at fault for the second goal.

James Connolly - 6

Made a few good blocks with his body and held up some of the Braga players well. Defence weren’t on top form today though.

James Wilson - 6

Got exposed a bit by the Braga attackers with through balls, and conceded a few cheap fouls.

Luca Hoole - 6

A lot of Braga’s threat in the first-half came down the rght, and Hoole found it difficult at times. He and Belshaw were indecisive when it came to Braga’s second goal. Improved in the second-half.

Luke Thomas - 7

A bright spark for Rovers. Nice link up play with Finley, and put it on a plate for Collins.

Sam Finley (subbed off for Evans, 460 - 7

Brilliant pass from him to find Thomas for Aaron Collins’ goal. Put himself about well and pressed the Braga midfielders and defence well.

Grant Ward - 6

Caught in possession a few times or made a few sloppy passes.

Ryan Jones - 7

Making his case to be a part of the first-team. Quiet in the first-half, but in the second he coped well with a tough winger to play against.

Aaron Collins - 7

Surprisingly his first goal of pre-season. Took his goal well, and will want to score more goals like that in the season. Looked like the Azza of old trying to get into the game more.

Scott Sinclair - 7

Another respectable performance. He’s scored a fair few in pre-season and put in a good shift against probably the toughest opposition yet. Took on a more defensive role in the second, preparing him for if he has to go wing-back.

Jevani Brown - 7

Brilliant goal. Hit his effort with real power and his goalscoring record pre-season continues. His goal was the only real note of him in the first-half, but sometimes all you need is one chance.

Jed Ward (subbed on for James Belshaw, 46) - 6

Unfortunate to concede, having made made a number of good saves. Similar to Belshaw, when the ball came back to him he was a bit uneasy, but commanded his goal well.

Trialist (subbed on for James Connolly, 46) - 6

Got beat a few times by Braga’s attackers, losing his man.

Antony Evans (subbed on for Sam Finley, 46) - 6

Played as a deeper midfielder rather than his preferred advanced role, but made a good few challenges.

John Marquis (subbed on for Luke Thomas, 46) - 6

Didn’t really have the chance to make an impact in the final third as it was all Braga. Did well though with instructions to younger players.

Kofi Shaw - N/A

Looked good with the ball at his feet. He wasn’t afraid to dribble against a few opponents.

Jerry Lawrence - N/A

Will Larvin - N/A

Harvey Greenslade - N/A

Theo Lynden - N/A

Did well to block a cross from coming in. Braga’s goal did come from his side, though his teammates were supportive of him and fed him instructions.

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