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Birmingham City 1 Rovers 0

20 July 2018

Tommy Rowe and James Coppinger got their first runouts of pre-season with 45 minutes each against Birmingham City.

Rowe started the game against a strong Blues side, with Coppinger replacing him for the second period.

Rovers suffered their first defeat of pre-season thanks to a late Che Adams strike at The Automated Technology Group Stadium, home of Solihull Moors, but more than held their own against the Championship side.

Manager Grant McCann made a host of changes following the victory over Frickley Athletic, with Tyler Garatt and Alex Kiwomya welcomed into the line-up alongside Rowe. 

The first real chance came for Blues inside 10 minutes when Jota crossed over the heads of the Rovers defence, but Mitchell Lund was on hand to make a clearance from Lucas Jutkietwicz’s attempt. 

Rovers had their first sight of goal on the 13-minute mark, after a strong run from Kiwoyma who slid the ball into the path of Alfie May, however his long distance strike was not enough to trouble Connal Trueman. 

Rovers then forced a great chance through good work in the midfield when Ben Khemis’s cross-field ball found the feet of captain Rowe who crossed first time and Morrison was forced to head it clear for a corner.

The resulting set piece saw Rowe’s header scooped up safely by Trueman in the Blues’ goal.

Rovers made just one change at half time, with J Coppinger taking to the field in the place of Rowe. 

The away side made the stronger of starts to the second half, putting Birmingham under early pressure, with Ben Khemis firing over from a corner. 

The home side then sparked into life, after Jota forced a corner from a blocked effort by Garratt. The resulting set piece was cleared into the path of Adams , whose goal was ruled out for offside.

Rovers then made their second change after 60 minutes, with McCann bringing on Louis Jones in place of Marosi for his first outing of pre-season in a pre-planned changed. Cody Prior then came off the bench to replace Ben Khemis.

With 16 minutes left on the clock Rovers then forced Trueman into a flying save after good work from Alex Kiwomya on the left hand side. 

The forward made room for himself 25 yards out and unleashed a right footed shot which saw Trueman dive strongly to his left, after almost being embarrassed. The ball then fell to Alfie May who fired over with the follow up under pressure.

With just ten minutes left on the clock Rovers’ sub keeper Jones was forced into a fantastic diving save from Jutkiewicz, after great work from the Blues in the Rovers box. 

City’s Trueman then kept his side level after a stunning stop following a strike from distance by Rovers’ Coppinger, which looked destined to nestle in the top right corner. 

Birmingham then broke the deadlock, snatching a goal at the death with just five minutes left on the clock, after Adams fired home from close range beating Jones in the Rovers goal. 

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