Rovers continued their pre-season preparations with a second victory over non-league opposition as they defeated Blue Square Conference Barrow AFC in an early afternoon match at Holker Street. Goals from Lewis Guy and Rob Clark made the difference as Rovers rounded off a week in the Lakes with an encouraging performance which featured two different line-ups either side of the break.
Rovers began the game well with Waide Fairhusrt and Dean Shiels having chances in the opening quarter of an hour, the latter coming the closer as his lobbed shot hit the top of the crossbar. Barrow showed some promise of their own, but the most they were able to force was a succession of corners from which they failed to test Neil Sullivan until midway through the half. The Scottish keeper denying Simon Spender and Jason Walker with a couple of good saves.
At the other end Rovers were getting closer themselves as Lewis Guy tested the home keeper and Martin Woods had a shot cleared off the line. Eventually Rovers broke the lead after half an hour as Paul Heffernan flicked the ball on and Guy found space to find the net.
In control for the rest of the first half Rovers went onto double their lead just a minute into the second period. Rob Clark, one of nine introductions at the interval, received the ball from James Hayter and finished well from twenty-five yards. Hayter himself went onto have Rovers better chances of the half having an effort from the edge of the box saved and heading against the post from a Gareth Roberts cross. Martin Woods would also go close with a chipped effort on goal, but could only find the top of the net as the match began to peter out.
Late in the game Rovers made a couple of notable substitutions as Sean O’Driscoll threw on two members of the coaching staff. Richard O’Kelly and Lee Butler making late outfield cameos perhaps as means of a warm-up to this evening’s Masters Tournament at Sheffield Arena.
1st half team (4-3-2-1): Neil Sullivan; James Chambers, Matt Mills, Jos Van Nieuwstadt, Gareth Roberts; Dean Shiels, Brian Stock, Martin Woods; Waide Fairhurst, Lewis Guy; Paul Heffernan
2nd half team (4-4-1-1): Ben Smith; Jos Van Nieuwstadt (Richard O’Kelly), Sam Hird, Adam Lockwood, Gareth Roberts; Charles Fisher, Mark Wilson, John Spicer, Rob Clark; Martin Woods (Lee Butler); James Hayter