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Club News

Lads lose at Arsenal

14 December 2012

Rovers' Under-18's ended the first half to this season's campaign with a 5-0 loss away to Arsenal on Friday.

It was a scoreline that didn't quite tell the whole story in wet and windy conditions at London Colney as a young Rovers side gave a good account of themselves against a strong Gunners outfit.

Coach Terry McPhillips started with just five players from Tuesday night's FA Youth Cup tie. Under-16 players Jack Doyle and Liam Langford starting for the first time, whilst there was also a first outing for summer signing Yerary Torres after the Spaniard had missed the first half of the season with a knee injury.

After a slow start it was Rovers who fashioned the first chance on 17 minutes, Dean Rittenberg turning well in the area only to see his shot saved.

Moments later the Rovers attacker was in the thick of the action once more but his effort was saved well from close-range by Josh Vicars.

However the home side responded to that twin scare by opening the scoring on the half hour, Austin Lipman playing in Tarum Dawkins to fire home.

The Gunners found the woodwork five minutes later before a shot was cleared off the line as the pressure was increased.

On 44 minutes it told as Arsenal added a second. Chuba Akpom feeding Alex Iwobi whose deflected shot gave Rovers' 'keeper David Raya no chance.

Rovers regrouped at the start of the second half and with the wind at their backs went close to pulling a goal back moments after the restart, Modou Cham with a vicious volley from distance that was tipped over the bar.

Substitute Luke Wall was the next Rovers player to test the Arsenal back line, a brave block thwarting the young forward, before Modou Cham struck the crossbar direct from a corner kick.

But just as it looked like Rovers were starting to get their way back into the game, Arsenal struck on 72 minutes. Full back Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill on the overlap before cutting inside and scoring from a tight angle.

Eight minutes later and a fourth was added through Hector Bellerin, before a fifth and final goal was notched in the 90th minute from Arinse Uade from a corner kick.

"We were unlucky," said coach Terry McPhillips. "We gave it a right good go, we were a very young side and made a few mistakes, a scoreline like 5-3 might have been a fairer result. It was an open end-to-end game, we just didn't have that quality that they did.

"Full credit to our lads, I thought we played some good stuff in harsh, cold, wet and windy conditions. It was also good to see Yeray play, I thought he did well.

"Despite the scoreline there are loads of positives to take out of this one, we had young lads having a go against some top quality players with European experience."

ROVERS: Raya, Anderson, Doyle, Butterwick, Langford, Torres (sub Bauress 62 mins), Rittenberg, Harris, Wassi (c), Preston (sub Wall 62 mins), Cham (sub Joel 78 mins).

Sub not used: Scott.

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