ALL eyes were on new signing Rob Jones in last night’s pre-season friendly against Hull City at the Keepmoat Stadium and the 6ft 5ins defender was hard to miss.
Signed earlier in the day from Sheffield Wednesday, the former Owls’ skipper lined up at centre-back alongside another former Wednesday favourite, Tommy Spurr.
Jones wasted little time in winning over the home fans with a solid defensive display, impressing with his organisation.
With James O’Connor failing a fitness test on the thigh injury which kept him out of Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Wednesday, triallist Paul Quinn had another chance to impress manager Dean Saunders.
Hull were the first to threaten, Sone Aluki winning his side a third minute corner after his 20 yarder took a deflection.
Martin Woods, starting for the first time in recent games, had a 20-yard shot blocked by a defender in close proximity after some neat build-up play.
Hull took the lead after nine minutes when an angled shot by Cameron Stewart was turned into his own goal by Jones.
Rovers striker Chris Brown was a denied a shot on goal from the edge of the area by a superb ball-winning tackle from behind by centre-back Liam Cooper.
The Tigers missed out on a chance to double their lead on 11 minutes when Tom Cainey’s spot kick failed to cross the line after hitting the underside of the crossbar after young defender James Husband had brought down Aluko just inside the box.
Robbie Blake, getting better with every game, initiated a 60 yard move which ended with Husband just clearing the bar with an angled shot on 26 minutes.
That proved to be Blake’s final contribution - he was replaced by David Syers after taking a knock.
The former Bradford City man again looked the part and got through a lot of work in an impressive midfield.
Jones won a deserved round of applause on 32 minutes after using his experience to block an angled shot by Cainey.
Rovers boss Dean Saunders brought on James Coppinger, Paul Keegan and triallist Karl Hawley at the start of the second half for Cotterill, Stock and Brown respectively.
Woods saved well from Andy Dawson at the expense of a 52nd minute corner.
Rovers drew level four minutes later with a superb 25- yard shot by Martin Woods.
The City keeper did well to deny Rovers a second goal with a finger-tip save.
Despite dropping back to right-back, as he had done in the second half at Rotherham after Quinn had gone off, Keegan still impressed with his distribution.
Rovers took the lead in the 73rd minute.
Amos could only parry a good effort by Hawley, put through by Kyle Bennett, and fellow triallist Amori Morgan-Smith was on to put the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-1. Amos was injured in the incident and was stretchered off.
Man-of-the-match Bennett’s pace won him an 82nd minute penalty - Bradley bringing him down in the box - which Woods converted in style.
Rovers: G Woods, Quinn, Spurr, Jones, Husband, Stock M Woods, Cotterill, Blake, Bennett, Brown. Subs: Syers (28), Keegan (46), Coppinger (46), Hawley (46), Morgan-Smith (63).
Hull City: Amos, Dudgeon, Dawson, McKenna, Bruce, Cooper, Stewart, Cainey, Proschwitz, Fotheringham, Aluko. Subs Simpson (63), McLean (64), Townsend (70), Jakupovic (76), Devitt (80), Callen (86).
Goals: Woods (56, 83 pen) and Morgan-Smith (73) for Rovers; Jones (og 9) for Hull.