Pre-Season Report | Cardiff City vs. Bristol Rovers
In their fourth pre-season fixture ahead of the 2023/24 campaign, Cardiff City hosted League One side Bristol Rovers in a behind closed doors friendly.
The afternoon was split into two separate 60-minute matches, with both sides putting out two different XI's for each game.
In the first game, Cardiff City and Bristol Rovers drew 1-1.
Scott Sinclair have Bristol Rovers the lead in the first half, but Callum Robinson capitalised on a Rovers mistake in the second half to secure a draw.
The Bluebirds’ first chance fell to Kion Etete after Callum Robinson made a good burst into the box, but a Bristol Rovers defender blocked his effort.
Early on, the Gas looked dangerous down the wing, with their goal coming from an attack beginning out wide.
Some slick passing on the edge of the box eventually lead to Sam Finley playing through Luke Thomas. He showed composure to square a pass to Scott Sinclair, who tapped in from close range.
Erol Bulut’s side worked their way back into the game and had a handful of chances towards the end of the first 30 minutes.
Perry Ng fashioned out some space in the box and tried to curl an effort into the bottom corner, but Luca Hoole put in a strong block before clearing the danger.
On the stroke of half time, captain Joe Ralls found space on the edge of the box, but his shot took a deflection and whistled over the crossbar, as the Bluebirds went into the break behind.
City started the second half brightly. Ralls linked up well with Kieron Evans before the skipper sent a dangerous low cross into the box, but no one in a blue shirt was there to meet it.
Midway through the second half, City had their best chance. Ng carried the ball deep into the opposition half before laying it off to Sheyi Ojo to cross into the box. The winger found the head of Etete, who was a couple of yards away from goal, but he could only guide his header over the bar.
Thankfully, the hosts made another chance and equalised soon after. Rovers gave the ball away in a good position for City, allowing Robinson to run at the defence and curl the ball into the bottom corner.
Late on, goalkeeper James Belshaw lost possession of the ball on the edge of the box to Robinson, but the Irish international couldn’t get a clean connection on his shot, allowing George Friend to clear off the line.
City controlled the game for the vast majority of the second half, but couldn’t find a winner, as the game ended level.
FINAL SCORE OF GAME ONE: CARDIFF CITY 1-1 BRISTOL ROVERS
Cardiff City: Allsop, Ng, McGuinness, Simpson, Bagan, Rinomhota, Ralls, Ojo, Robinson, Evans, Etete.
Bristol Rovers: Belshaw, Hoole, Wilson, Friend, Connolly, Finley, Ward, Thomas, Sinclair, Brown, Collins.
In the second game, the Bluebirds maintained their unbeaten pre-season with a 1-0 win over Rovers.
It didn’t take long for the Bluebirds to break the deadlock. A pinpoint cross-field ball found its way to Callum O’Dowda, who took on his man before firing a low cross into the box to Ollie Tanner, who slid the ball underneath the keeper.
The lead was almost doubled ten minutes later. Another O’Dowda cross made its way this time to Iké Ugbo. Once the new signing got the ball out of his feet, he forced Gas keeper Jed Ward into making an important save.
City controlled the first half with Rovers unable to really test the home side’s backline, which included new signing Dimitrios Goutas, and the Bluebirds headed into the break with a one goal lead.
Erol Bulut elected to make four changes at the break. New additions Goutas and Ugbo, along with Jamilu Collins and O’Dowda, made way for Eli King, Max Watters, Vontae Camplbell, and Isaak Davies.
After failing to have a meaningful effort on goal in the first half, Rovers started the second far livelier. A cross found John Marquis at the far post, but the striker missed from close range.
A few minutes later, Marquis had another opportunity with a quickfire shot, but Jak Alnwick clawed his effort well away from goal.
After the brief stint of attacking play by the Pirates at the beginning of the second half, the remainder saw neither side fashioning out a clear chance to score, as City worked to maintain their established lead. The best chance fell to Max Watters, but his shot was blocked well.
FINAL SCORE OF GAME TWO: CARDIFF CITY 1-0 BRISTOL ROVERS
Cardiff City: Alnwick, Romeo, Goutas (King 31’), Benjamin (T. Davies 45’), Collins (Campbell 31’), Adams, Wintle, Tanner, R. Colwill (J. Colwill 45’), O’Dowda (I. Davies 31’), Ugbo (Watters 31’).
Bristol Rovers: Ward, Larvin, White, Lyden (Lawrence 31’), Bridgman, Trialist (Shaw 39’), Loft, Marquis, Greenslade, McCormick, Evans.