Rossington Main 0 Doncaster Rovers 4: Former Manchester United youngster fires in Rovers' opening friendly

A first half hat trick from trialist Aidan Barlow was the highlight as Doncaster Rovers kicked off their pre-season programme with a 4-0 win over Rossington Main.

Saturday, 10th July 2021, 6:04 pm
Aiden Barlow celebrates his opening goal with Tommy Rowe. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX

Fellow trialist Aramide Oteh netted from the spot in the second half to cap a controlled if unspectacular performance in the maiden friendly

It was the first time Rovers supporters could watch their team in person for 16 months, with the occasion at Oxford Street predictably well-attended.

A total of 23 players were used by boss Richie Wellens across the two halves, including eight trialists.

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New signings Ben Close, Ro-Shaun Williams, Kyle Knoyle, Tommy Rowe and Matt Smith all featured in the first half XI.

Jordy Hiwula - who signed on the morning of the game - was not involved but trained on the pitch with Rovers fitness coach Rob Lee prior to the game.

Wellens fielded his strongest side in the first half, minus skipper Tom Anderson who was withdrawn before kick-off.

Rovers worked the ball well in the opening period, with Smith and Knoyle showing an excellent early understanding to consistently get in behind the hosts.

Clear cut chances were few and far between until the later stages of the period when Barlow sprung into life.

Omar Bogle pulled a low ball back from the byline for Barlow to finish well from 12 yards on 35 minutes.

The hosts had their best chance of the game moments later when Jason Stokes went one-on-one with Louis Jones and drew a decent save from the Rovers keeper.

Former Manchester United youngster Barlow netted again on 40 minutes, pouncing quickly to make sure the ball crossed the line after a shot from Ben Close squirmed under the Rossington keeper.

And the lead was extended two minutes from the break when Barlow exchanged passes with Bogle and finished well.

It was all change at the break for the outfield with only goalkeeper Jones retaining his place.

Rovers dominated the ball but lacked the penetration they had shown in the first half.

They did extend their lead on 66 minutes when former Queens Park Rangers striker Oteh was clipped by the Rossington goalkeeper and scored from the spot.

Charlie Seaman and AJ Greaves both went close to extending the advantage for Rovers in the late stages.

ROVERS: First half: Jones; Knoyle, Blythe, Williams, Rowe; Smith, Bostock, Close; Barlow, Bogle, Gardner.

Second half: Jones (Bottomley 64); Seaman, Akinola, John, Flanagan; Greaves, Bailey, Colkett; Thomas (Hasani 56), Oteh, Horton.

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