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PRE-SEASON | Scunthorpe United 2 Rovers 3

15 August 2020

Rovers started their pre-season programme with a 3-2 victory over Scunthorpe United at the Sands Venue Stadium.

Second half goals by Ben Whiteman, Brad Halliday and Tom Anderson cancelled out efforts from Scunthorpe’s Abobaker Eisa and Charlie Barks.

Both sides opted to name two different starting XIs for each half with minutes and game time the priority after such a long break from football.

Rovers got off to a good start when Reece James’ cross from the left almost floated in at the far post within three minutes of kick-off. And Jon Taylor’s pace – which caused the Scunthorpe defence no end of problems through the first half - saw him win corners and get crosses into dangerous areas. The best of these early crosses fell to James Coppinger who wasn’t able to get the power he needed with his header to trouble the Scunthorpe goalkeeper.

Academy prospect Liam Ravenhill had a half-chance about mid-way through the first 45 when some really excellent build-up play by the visitors eventually fell to him at the edge of the box. The ball wouldn’t sit up for him and he was only able to scuff the effort into the keeper’s arms.

Scunthorpe had the best of the first half and Louis Jones made several good stops from Kevin van Veen’s efforts. Around the half-hour mark, the ball appeared to have crept over Jones’ goal line when the dutchman headed on target from George Hornshaw’s cross, but the effort was ruled offside.

Rovers’ best chance came five minutes from half-time when Ravenhill won his side a free kick about five yards outside the Scunthorpe penalty box. Taylor, Coppinger and Jason Lokilo all stood over it, but it was the no.26 who took the shot, flashing his effort narrowly wide.

Scunthorpe probably should have taken the lead right on half-time but the striker – who had the whole goal to aim at – headed it straight at Jones.

Rovers got off to the perfect start in the second 45. Within two minutes of the restart, the ball was played out to Halliday on the overlap who was left in acres of space and drilled the ball just inside the far post.

Scunthorpe almost got one back ten minutes later, but Danny Amos was there to clear former-Rovers Alfie Beestin’s effort off the line and John McAtee’s follow-up strike from the edge of the box was well blocked by Whiteman.

At the other end, Trialist 5 tried his luck with a low strike from distance but the Scunthorpe keeper made the stop. Rovers followed this up with a series of good corners with Trialist 2 going closest when he forced a good save by the Iron keeper at his near post.

Trialist 2 had another chance when Amos’ cross was cleared to him outside the box – but he sent this effort wide and Trialist 4 pulled his chance off target when he was given space to drive at the home team’s defence.

Rovers were probably on top when Scunthorpe got their breakthrough. A ball from the right found Abobaker Eisa in the box. A good touch bought him a bit of space which he used to play the ball beyond Jones.

But any joy the home side might have felt was short-lived as Rovers re-took the lead two minutes later through Whiteman. The skipper picked the ball up in space outside the box and was able to pick his spot and guide the ball into the back of the net.

Scunthorpe equalised again when Charlie Bark’s bullet header from a corner left Jones with no chance but – once again – Rovers hit back quickly. The visitors almost retook the lead when Whiteman’s freekick collided with the post and rolled agonisingly across the face of goal but Tom Anderson made no mistake when he side footed the ball home from a corner kick to ensure Rovers would take home the win.

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