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Rovers V Hartford. 09.09.18

(Mark Arneil 09/09/2018)
Here we go again sports fans. The opening day clash between two teams looking for a great performance to start their respective seasons.
Rovers were quickly on the front foot with Statham and Evans winning balls in midfield.
Negus was soon in the game down the right and saw his shot from a tight angle hit the outside of the post. Soon after Wedgbury switched the play from left to right and Negus flashed in a cross shot which was inches away from Riley’s boot.
Hartford were always looking for the ball over the top, but Johnston and Hopkins were solid at centre back, covering each other like they'd played as a partnership for years.
Rovers were still searching for that elusive opener with both Riley and Reardon both having shots saved.
Again, Hartford played the ball over the top, but Sharpe was quickly of his line to clear the danger.
Both Rovers full backs were looking to get forward, Arneil with his dangerous left foot was feeding the front players and Braisby with his power was linking up down the right, along with those huge throw ins causing problems for the Hartford defence.
Hartford suffered a blow when the keepers head collided with the post and was unable to continue.
Statham and Reardon made way for Moreno and Edwards.
With the half drawing to a close Wedgbury saw a shot saved and Edwards thought he'd scored but for a brilliant point blank save denied him.
With the last kick of the half Riley lobbed the over the keeper but some good defending saw the ball cleared off the line. HT 0-0.

Half time saw two Rovers changes with new boy Freddie Evans replace Sharpe between the sticks and Arneil make way for Walton at the back.
Within the 1st minute of the restart Rovers got the goal they deserved when Negus slipped the ball through to Riley and it wasn't a surprise to see the net bulge. 0-1.
Rovers weren't giving Hartford a minute on the ball with the quartet of Moreno, J Evans, Riley and Edwards hustling for the ball and forcing mistakes.
Wedgbury finally found the chance to stretch his legs down the left and the pullback found Moreno on the edge of the area whose effort was well saved. Rovers were starting to turn the screw, but we're still prone to the ball over the top but Braisby, Johnston, Hopkins and Walton were dealing with it comfortably.
Another Rovers change saw another new arrival, Simpson replacing a faultless Hopkins. Rovers were soon back on the attack, Riley saw a shot blocked and the impressive Edwards hit the post before being replaced by Reardon and Statham was back on for Moreno.
Statham was showing great feet and composure in midfield playing simple but effective passes.
At last the yellow onslaught paid off when Negus found Riley who found the bottom corner 0-2.
Soon it was 3 when the outstanding Braisby launched a free kick to Riley who made space on the edge of the area and put the game to bed with a drilled finish across the keeper, 0-3.
F Evans was called into his first action for Rovers with a good save down to his left post
Rovers energy and strength was beginning to shine, and Wedgbury left his man for dead crossed for an unmarked Negus to make it 0-4.
The brilliant duo of Braisby and Riley departed the action for Hopkins and Arneil.
Another fine save from F Evans kept the clean sheet intact.
Time for one last Rovers attack with a Negus cross to Reardon who's shot was well saved, the rebound fell to J Evans, but another good stop kept it out.
Despite the small pitch and long grass, it was a pleasure to see Rovers continue to play their passing football through the whole team.
Next up is a mid-week fixture against the league favourites.

Hartford 0 - 4 Rovers

Roy of the Rovers – Ben Braisby