Report | Bristol Rovers 0 Swansea City 3

23rd July
First team
Borja Baston

Swansea City made it five wins from five during pre-season as late goals from substitutes Borja Baston and Joel Asoro sealed victory at the Memorial Stadium.

Jay Fulton – who scored a hat-trick at Yeovil last week – opened the scoring with a fantastic goal, curling home when given space some distance outside the Bristol Rovers’ box.

That made it four goals in two pre-season starts for the Scot as he presses his claim for a starting spot against Hull in the Championship opener.

But the biggest cheer of the night from the travelling support was saved for Borja, who scored his first goal in a Swansea shirt since October 2016 as he converted from an Oli McBurnie cross late on, before Asoro nodded in his first goal for the club in first-team action.

While Swansea did not quite have the same crispness as shown in some of their recent outing - understandably given the hot and humid conditions - they highlighted their fitness by finishing the contest strongly, totally dominating the second period.

And the Swans also recorded their first clean sheet of their pre-season campaign.

Cooper had made two changes from the side that started at Exeter at the weekend as Wayne Routledge andFulton came in for Barrie McKay and George Byers.

The Swans had the first chance of the night as neat footwork from Bersant Celina teed up McBurnie for a chance the striker fired straight at Gas keeper Jordi van Stappershoef.

Jay Fulton

Rovers also offered a threat of their own with Tom Nichols winning a couple of flick-ons in dangerous areas.

But it was the visitors who took the lead as Fulton fired home his fourth goal of pre-season with another stunning effort from distance to follow up his efforts at Yeovil a week previous.

The Scot was given room 25 yards out, and he punished the hosts with a wonderful curling strike into the top corner.

Swansea continued to look dangerous but it was Erwin Mulder who was the next keeper into action, the Dutchman tipping over a well-struck free-kick from Liam Sercombe which was threatening to dip in under the bar.

The visitors responded with Routledge teasing a couple of defenders before rolling a nicely-weighted ball into Celina, only for the Kosovo international to sky his effort over the bar.

It was proving an entertaining affair, and Mike van der Hoorn had to be alert to deny Gavin Reilly as Sercombe whipped in an excellent low cross just on the half-hour mark.

But Cooper’s side should really have doubled their lead when an awful defensive pass allowed Nathan Dyer to break forward.

Mike van der Hoorn

The winger had Celina unmarked in support, but he went himself and his shot was easily parried by van Stappershoef and the lead remained at just the one goal at the interval.

Cooper made no changes at the break for the first time during pre-season and nearly saw his side extend their lead inside 90 seconds of the restart.

Celina and Routledge combined nicely down the left, but the former saw his shot across the face of goal just miss the target.

Dyer was the next Swan to be disappointed as his left-footed effort from Routledge’s cross was blocked by a diving Abu Ogogo, before McBurnie headed over from a deep Matt Grimes corner.

All the chances were coming at the one end of the ground, with Kyle Naughton volleying into the grateful arms of van Stappershoef after nice work by Celina.

The full-back was soon withdrawn as one of four changes made just past the hour mark. Fulton, Jake Bidwell and Routledge also departed the fray as Connor Roberts, George Byers, Declan John and Barrie McKay came on.

Steve Cooper

The game was by now being played almost exclusively in the Rovers half but still the second goal would not come as Roberts’ excellent delivery zipped just beyond the outstretched boot of McBurnie.

Borja and Joel were brought on for the final 15 minutes in place of Celina and Dyer respectively, and the they settled the contest.

McBurnie’s lovely through ball picked out Borja and allowed the striker to loft over the keeper, while Asoro guided home McKay’s flighted cross.

Swansea City: Erwin Mulder; Kyle Naughton (Connor Roberts 63), Mike van der Hoorn, Joe Rodon, Jake Bidwell (Declan John 63), Jay Fulton (George Byers 63), Matt Grimes; Nathan Dyer (Joel Asoro 76), Bersant Celina (Borja Baston 76), Wayne Routledge (captain) (Barrie McKay 63); Oli McBurnie.

 Subs not used: Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Cian Harries.

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