Alfie May scored as Rovers were held to 1-1 draw in pre-season friendly against National League Halifax Town.
Rovers started in sublime fashion and were in possession from kick-off for nearly a solid two minutes before Madger Gomes was fouled around 25 yards out by a frustrated Halifax defender. The resulting free-kick offered Rovers their first chance of the match with Ali Crawford’s free-kick flying just the wrong side of a post.
Halifax hit back winning several corners, the deliveries into the box always seemed to find a Shaymen head but the visitors could not steer their efforts on target.
The first big chance of the half fell to Halifax’s Jamie Allen who pounced on a loose ball and fired a low driven effort towards the back post. The shot went beyond an outstretched Ian Lawlor but connected with the woodwork.
The deadlock was broken just before the 20th minute. Rovers’ defenders put in tackle after tackle as the visitors advanced on the goal, but each loose ball bobbled to a man in orange - eventually falling to Niall Maher who picked the ball up just outside the box and finished calmly.
Feisty Halifax forwards continued to put pressure on, but Rovers’ backline were more than equal to it. A Halifax penalty claim was waived away which launched a swing in momentum.
Rovers began to build the pressure, sticking resolutely to their possession football without creating any chances of real note.
Rovers’ first opportunity came just after the half-hour match, Halliday’s effort from 30 yards out was pulled wide of the mark.
This was followed soon after by a second good chance, Halliday involved again this time with a wonderful cross to the back post which Alfie May headed wide. A second cross by Halliday was headed wide by Gomes which rounded off the action for the first half.
Rovers registered the first chances of the second half. Ben Whiteman’s effort from range was picked up by the keeper, Coppinger scooped the ball over after a Reece James cross found him at the back post, and Gomes blazed over from just inside the box.
The pressure told just before the hour mark, a strike from May was too powerful for ‘keeper Sam Johnson who – despite getting an arm to the effort – could only deflect it into the side netting.
Chances kept coming for Rovers, James saw one fly over and one wide. Kieran Sadlier’s left-footed found the keeper, but his right-footed effort was well blocked.
The keeper was in action again when Max Watters showed skill and composure to take the ball past the Halifax left back and give himself a shooting opportunity forcing a good save from Johnson.