Rovers travelled to Coleshill for their opening match of the 2019-20 League campaign with a much-changed playing squad and looking to gain some early points from a side that took all six points from us last season. Gary Jones was named captain and he, Victor Osubu, Sam Gibson and Connor Vincent were the ‘survivors’ along with the return of Dan Gould between the sticks.
Understandably, it took this Rovers side a number of early minutes to settle and Dan Gould was in action immediately saving low down from Luke Keen the lively Coleshill centre forward. However, the Rovers nerves seemed to be settled early when a quickly taken Sam Gibson free-kick found Victor Osubu in space and he fired Rovers ahead after just 11 minutes. This setback seemed to spur the home side into action and Gould was then busy saving and blocking a series of goal-bound efforts from all three Coleshill forwards who were demonstrating pace and an eye for goal. Jamal Mckenzie-Lowe, particularly effective in the air, combined well with Osubu for Rovers and a couple of half chances went unconverted. Then, in the 31st minute Rovers centre-half John Sonuga gave the ball away on the edge of his own box and, from the resultant goalmouth scramble, Coleshill’s right winger Liam Colesworth smashed home an equaliser. Confidence seemed to drain from the Rovers side and almost single-handedly Dan Gould produced a raft of saves to keep the scores level only to see another defensive error allow Colesworth to add a second goal for Coleshill right on the half-time whistle.
Harry Beckley made his Rovers debut at right back replacing Taishan Griffith at the start of the second half but, with their tails up, Coleshill made the stronger start after the break. The Rovers defence were all at sea and finding it impossible to contain Luke Keen particularly who, within five minutes of the restart, had three direct scoring opportunities which he failed to take mainly down to some further good work from Dan Gould. Rovers might have went further behind when Coleshill’s defender Matthew Jackson hit the bar following a corner. However this Rovers side buckled down and fought their way back into the match with Osubu prominent and creating chances and Connor Vincent asserting himself up front with a shot onto the bar after 83 minutes but, with time running out, up popped Osubu once more with an attempted left wing cross which was clearly blocked by a Coleshill defender’s arm and the referee pointed unerringly to the spot. Up stepped Connor Vincent to send the keeper the wrong way and level the match and capture a point in the end for Rovers.
Not the most convincing of performances first game up but surely the Rovers support will see an improving trend as the players gel together with more game action and as the season progresses.
Games now coming thick and fast as Rovers are back in action with a home match against Bedworth United on Tuesday evening with a 7.45PM KO.
Rovers Team: Gould, Griffith (Beckley 46), Jones (C), Gibson, Sonuga, Olaniran, Osubu, Didik, Mckenzie-Lowe (Williams Jr 64), Tshikuna (Lukulay 77),Vincent.
Rovers MOM: Dan Gould