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Report: Bristol Rovers 1 Blues 2

Blues made it two wins in two with victory over Bristol Rovers.

BCFC

Blues maintained their unbeaten pre-season sequence with a fully merited victory at the Memorial Ground. 

Goals by Kristian Pedersen and Lukas Jutkiewicz in either half proved enough for Pep Clotet's side against their League One hosts. 

Once more, Blues showed an enthusiastic willingness to play a new style of football in a 3-4-1-2 formation. 

In the second-half in particular, Rovers found it very difficult to contain Blues who moved the ball a lot quicker than in the previous period and constructed some delightful one-touch moves. 

The result was Blues' second win in as many days following on from the 6-1 thumping of Swindon Town at the Trillion Trophy Training Centre. 

Only Odin Bailey started against Rovers from the team that took on the Robins.

Blues fell behind in the fifth minute - the first time that has happened in pre-season - when Rovers capitalised on a loose pass from a throw-in. 

Rovers broke down the right and a pass by Ollie Clarke found Kyle Bennett on the left of the area and he finished firmly low past Lee Camp. 

However, Blues were quick to strike back, at a twelfth minute corner. 

The flag-kick from Kerim Mrabti was sent towards the back of the area, where it was met firmly by the head of Gary Gardner towards the target. 

Pedersen flicked it at goal and although the ball seemed to be over the line when Anssi Jaakkola batted it out, it didn't matter as Pedersen then lashed the rebound into the roof of the net when on the floor. 

Rovers proved to be game opponents though and Camp was forced into a smart low save when Clarke got free inside the area.

Blues, who had their wide players pushing on high and at will, were often dangerous down the left via Steve Seddon. And from one of his crosses on the run that was headed back by Maxime Colin, Bailey had two bites at it and saw his effort just clear the bar as the 'keeper scrambled out to close him down.

Just before the interval, from a corner, Garder headed away from in front of goal after Rollin Menayese tried to hurry a half-chance in, in what proved to be the last moment of any alarm for Blues.

Half-Time: Bristol Rovers 1 Blues 1

After the break, Blues came out and showed real intent and purpose and made it a very tough period for Rovers.

In the 48th minute, from a throw in high on the left, Blues worked the ball to Bailey who sent over a flat, raking cross, and Jutkiewicz pulled away expertly in-between defenders to power a header beyond the goalkeeper into the corner.

From then on, Blues really began to express themselves and find a rhythm that was not always there in the first-half. 

Jutkiewicz was denied by Jaakkola when he fired in a right-footer at the near-post, and then after a clever back-heel from Mrabti that helped open up space, Gardner let fly with a shot on the full that only just flashed past the crossbar.

Blues brought on Jude Bellingham for Bailey in the 56th minute, and the precocious teenager assumed the number ten role. 

And Bellingham certainly made his mark, by adding to the attacking threat that Blues carried in the second-half. 

There was one delightful pirouette turn that had the 1,1153 travelling fans enthused and then a mazy dribble into the area that resulted in a penalty claim when he appeared to suffer contact from a defender. 

Towards the end, Blues might have added to the scoreline and put a truer reflection on the dominance of the performance. 

Mrabti eluded a defender on the right and steered the ball past the 'keeper and although Alfie Kilgour managed to scuff it away from the line, Jutkiewicz had a subsequent chance but his fly-hack was somehow kept out from goal.

Camp had little to do after the break as Blues, right across the pitch from front to back, showcased another encouraging display in these warm-ups. 

Full Time: Bristol Rovers 1 Blues 2 

Bristol Rovers: Jaakola, Little, Upson, Sercombe, Clarke, Smith, Leahy, Davies, Bennett, Menayese, Rodman

Goals: Bennett 5

Blues: Camp, Pedersen, Colin, Dean, Seddon (Lakin 88), Davis, Gary Gardner, Mrabti, Bailey (Bellingham 56), Jutkiewicz
Subs (not used): Trueman, Gordon, Campbell, Andrews, Boyd-Munce

Goals: Pedersen 12, Jutkiewicz 48

Attendance: 2,450 (1,153 Blues fans)

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