Rovers slipped to their first defeat of pre-season on their first ever visit to York City's LNER Community Stadium.
Rovers boss Grant McCann gave his starting XI an hour of match minutes as pre-season preparations stepped up further. And it was in the immediate aftermath of the wholesale changes on 60 minutes that the winning goal came for the hosts.
A header from Maz Kouhyar was enough to secure the victory for York, who also saw Thierry Latty-Fairweather sent off for persistent fouling.
A highly-energetic start to the game ensured both sides had little time on the ball in the early stages.
Rovers fashioned the first opportunity when James Maxwell intercepted a clearance from York keeper David Stockdale and quickly fed the ball into Kyle Hurst, who cut inside and fired a low effort narrowly wide from 25 yards.
York looked to move the ball forward quickly to release their pacy forwards and it took a superbly timed sliding challenge from Jamie Sterry to prevent Finlay Barnes from racing clear into the box.
Rovers were close to going ahead on 14 minutes. Richard Wood nodded down a free kick from Ben Close, with Joseph Olowu drawing a fine save from Stockdale on the volley.
It was the hosts who produced the more threatening attacking play for much of the first half however as they burst forward from the middle of the park.
Ian Lawlor batted away a low drive from Cedric Main as he burst into the area, before pushing away an angled strike from Latty-Fairweather from the subsequent corner.
Tommy Rowe was close to turning in a header from Olowu but the offside flag was raised.
The hosts’ off the ball work was excellent, making it incredibly difficult for Rovers to find their way through.
But they were very close to taking the lead six minutes from the break when Wood darted to meet a Hurst free kick, only to plant his header inches wide.
Rovers were much the stronger side in the early stages of the second half and had a true grip on the game.
Deji Sotona smashed a free kick over the bar from 20 yards after being hacked down when threatening to race beyond his marker. Hurst then fired wide with drive across goal.
Grant McCann sent on an entirely new XI on the hour mark, as was pre-planned heading into the game as part of the structure of pre-season.
And amidst the upheaval of the changes, Rovers conceded the opening goal with Kouhyar rising at the back post to head home a Michael Duckworth corner on 62 minutes.
Seven minutes later, the hosts were down to ten men with left back Latty-Fairweather sent off for a second bookable offence for persistent fouling.
York almost doubled their lead moments later however when Duckworth smashed a 25 yard free kick off the upright.
Chances for Rovers to equalise were negligible with the best falling to Tyler Roberts who fired over the bar after being played into the box by Luke Molyneux.
And Kouhyar almost extended the hosts’ lead after getting in behind the Rovers defence, only to fire over the bar.
Rovers 1st 60 minutes: Lawlor, Sterry, Olowu, Wood, Maxwell, Broadbent, Close, Rowe, Sotona, Ironside, Hurst.
Rovers last 30 minutes: Bottomley, Degruchy, Faulkner, Long, Allen, Biggins, Bailey, Molyneux, Roberts, Miller, Taylor.
Subs not used: Watson, Flint, H Wood, Kuleya, Goodman.