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Unlikely hero

Posted: Sun 19 Aug 2012
Author: rovers.co.uk
Brice Wassi

Brice Wassi

Image by: rovers.co.uk

Academy claim an opening day victory in dramatic circumstances.

Brice Wassi scored a dramatic late goal as Rovers' Academy under 18 side got off to a winning start on Saturday.

The Rovers midfielder picked the perfect time to score his first ever goal for the club, coming off the bench to net in the 90th minute to clinch all three points as Rovers defeated Norwich City 1-0.

In truth it was a match that neither side deserved to win. In hot sticky conditions both teams worked hard but struggled to create meaningful chances.

Rovers started the better in the first half, Danny Laverty causing Norwich early problems with his runs and crosses from the flank but the home side couldn't capitalise on the second ball in the box.

Norwich came into the game more as the first half wore on but again chances were at a premium.

As temperatures rose in the second half the Canaries spurned a great chance to take the lead. A ball across his own area by Ryan Thompson was seized upon by the Norwich centre forward but he blazed over the bar when well placed.

That led to a spell of pressure from the visitors, but David Raya in goal kept them at bay with a series of fine saves.

The game appeared to be petering towards a goalless draw but two minutes from time Rovers sub' Luke Wall almost opened the scoring when put through on goal but the Norwich 'keeper got fingertips to his effort to touch it over the bar.

Wall had earlier scored two goals for the Under 16s so had that gone in it would have made a great story.

However there was a story to be written and it was the unlikely figure of holding midfielder Brice Wassi who was the hero. As Dean Rittenberg charged down the right in the final minute of the game, Wassi matched his run and when Rittenberg fired the ball low across the area he was there to side-foot home to secure the victory sparking jubilant scenes.

"I'm pretty sure by his reaction that it was Brice's first ever goal," said coach Terry McPhillips. "He didn't know what to do, it was brilliant.

"We started well enough with loads of balls into the box but couldn't make anything of them. Norwich, who were a big physical side, came back into it and David Raya has had to make a couple of good saves.

"The game was played in hot sticky conditions which meant it was a poor quality second half and to be fair I felt that Norwich deserved a draw.

"It is good to get the three points but it is fair to say we'll have to do better than that."

The under 18s are back in action this coming Saturday when they entertain Arsenal at Brockhall. Kick-off is at 11.00am.

ROVERS: Raya, Vicars, Butterwick, Thompson, Bauress, Brown, Boland, Harris (sub Wassi 75 mins), Laverty (sub Wall 85 mins), Preston, Humphreys (sub Rittenberg 65 mins).

Subs not used: Joel, Langford.