Yate Town 0 Bristol Rovers Development 0

TWELVE months ago, Yate Town manager Paul Britton was facing a summer struggle to get a team together after they were hit by departures.

The season that followed had a number of ups and downs as players came and went before, eventually Britton found the answer and formed a youthful squad, as per the club's stated aims, and there was stability within the Southern League Division One South and West outfit.

Yate survived the league trap door through their late revival at the end of the season, so, after the formula was found and the squad foundations laid, Saturday saw them get back to the business of football and the hope of a more prosperous campaign than the last.

After a fortnight of training, the Bluebells got their first taste of a match since the previous season when League Two neighbours Bristol Rovers brought a team of trialists and reserves to Lodge Road. A side who hardly knew each other's names, as Britton discover in 2016, playing a fully formed unit.

Still, the big crowd who kept the turnstiles rattling hard brought a welcome boost to the coffers of the semi-pro side and those opposition players wearing Rovers yellow jerseys gave a glimpse into the future of who may or may not make it into a senior player for manager Darrell Clarke in years to come.

In a previous life, Britton could have been coaching this Rovers unit, but now the boot was firmly on the other foot.

Within five minutes of kick-off, Ben Brooks had a great chance to get Yate on the board when he found himself in space on the Rovers penalty spot but his shot, heading to the was brilliantly parried away for a corner by keeper Alexis.

But Rovers had the lion's share of the first-half. Within 15 minutes, a dangerous free kick on the edge of the Yate area went high over the bar, as did another shot, before a point-blank shot from Carvell was expertly saved by home keeper Harvey Rivers.

The Yate keeper was left gasping on 21 minutes when a thunderous 25 yard strike from full-back Bhagdadi smashed against both the crossbar and post before bouncing clear.

Both sides rang changes at half-time, as is the thing with friendlies, and the Bluebells looked to cope a lot better with the new opposition personnel.

Rivers claimed one of the few shots on goal in the second period on 68 minutes as Yate's midfield and defence stood strong.

Yate had their best chance of the match when a corner, fired in from the left, saw Jack Ball poke over the bar from three yards out but, in fairness, the cross from the corner was jet-propelled.

Another half chance by George Box went wide as the match drew into the last ten minutes, while Joe Swift sent a free kick 25 yards out wide of the Rovers goal as Yate finished the livelier.

Results do not matter in friendlies in July.

Nevertheless, this was a great workout for the Bluebells against some good opposition with definitely a lot better feeling than in July 2016.