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Forrester double downs Chelsea

11 February 2013

It was many happy returns for Anton Forrester he struck twice as Rovers' Under-21s defeated Chelsea 2-1 at Leigh Sports Village.

The centre forward celebrated his 19th birthday the perfect way as he scored two second half goals to give Gary Bowyer's side their first win of 2013.

After a goalless first half it was Marko Marin who opened the scoring for the visitors on 53 minutes, the German international cutting inside to fire low into the far corner.

But Rovers responded in the perfect manner, Robbie Cotton threading the ball through for Forrester to level on 68 minutes.

Five minutes later and the former Everton man was at it again, robbing Alex Davey in possession before lashing beyond Jamal Blackman emphatically.

Both sides had chances for further goals in the closing stages but it was Rovers who claimed all three points courtesy of their workmanlike display.

The game at Leigh Sports Village may have seen both sides featuring a host of players from last season's Youth Cup final, but it was Chelsea summer signing Marko Marin who had the first chance of the game  as his fifth minute free-kick bounced onto the roof of the net under the watchful eye of the returning Grzegorz Sandomierski in the Rovers goal.

it was the visitors who continued to pose the greater threat with plenty of possession and territorial advantage causing Gary Bowyer's side to work hard to quell the threat during the early exchanges.

Slowly but surely Rovers grew into the game, an 18th minute free-kick from Peter Wylie was headed back by Ryan Edwards but before Anton Forrester could take advantage in the six-yard box the linesman's flag was raised for offside.

Jamie Maclaren couldn't pick out Forrester in the area after beating two down the left before Alex Kiwomya exchanged passes with Jeremie Boga but he put his effort wide.

Rovers responded once more as Maclaren again did well to take the ball into the area, Anton Forrester took up the challenge but was denied at the near post by Jamal Blackman.

A Peter Wylie free kick then saw Blackman put his height to full use as he punched away but on the half-volley Darragh Lenihan fired wide.

The Rovers defence had restricted Chelsea opportunities but when the back line was breached Sandomierski was alert, racing off his line with an important tackle on George Saville who had broken through.

The shot of the first half came from the home side as Forrester again linked up well with Jamie Maclaren, the former Everton man teeing up the Australian youngster for a sublime left-footed lob that forced Blackman to tip over at full stretch. 

From the resulting corner Blackman was called into action once more as he claimed Ryan Edwards' header.

The visitors ended the half as they had started with a trio of chances. Sandomierski denied Boga before Lewis Baker fired wide across goal from Marin's through ball. The final opportunity came from the unlikely figure of left back Adam Nditi but as he hooked the ball goalwards, Sandomierski palmed over at full stretch.

After a first half full of chances, the first goal of the game came with the first attack of the second half.

It came courtesy of the most experienced man on the pitch as Marko Marin fired the visitors in front. The German international taking advantage of rare space in front of him to cut into the area from the left before curling a lovely right-footed shot beyond Sandomierski and into the corner of the goal.

Ten minutes later and Rovers should have been back on level terms when following a Will Beesley free-kick, Jamal Blackman flapped at the ball to present Jamie Maclaren with a clear sight of goal but the forward fired high over the bar.

The crossbar was then rattled at the other end as Lewis Baker saw his well-struck clip the wall before crashing against the woodwork and behind.

But in the space of five minutes the game was turned on it's head and it was birthday boy Anton Forrester doing the damage.

The 19-year-old forward, making only his second appearance for the Under-21s, latched onto a perfect through-ball from Robbie Cotton to lash Rovers onto level terms on 68 minutes.

Then five minutes later he took full advantage of hesitant play by Davey, robbing the defender before firing home on the angle leaving Blackman with no chance.

Chelsea looked for an immediate response and it took a fingertip save from Sandomierski to stop the scores being level once more as the Polish international dived to deny Jeremie Boga on 77 minutes.

Jamie Maclaren had the chance to put the game beyond Chelsea as the clock ticked into the first of four added minutes, but Blackman saved his low effort.

There were no further dramas as Rovers clinched their first three points in 2013.

ROVERS: Sandomierski, Wylie, Beesley, Lenihan (sub Fernandez 64 mins), Edwards (c), Daly, Payne (sub Laverty 88 mins), O’Sullivan, Forrester, Cotton, Maclaren (sub Hands 90 mins).

Subs not used: Urwin, Pero.

Goals: Forrester 68, 73 mins.

Booked: Cotton.

CHELSEA: Blackman, Musonda, Davey, Christensen, Nditi, Saville (sub Ake 46 mins), Kiwomya (sub Hunte 60 mins), Baker, Lalkovic, Boga, Marin (sub Mitchell 60 mins).

Subs not used: Beeney, Conroy.

Goals: Marin 54 mins,

Booked: None.

Attendance: 328

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