Liverpool Under-21s 1 Rovers Under-21s 1
Dickson Etuhu and Josh King each came through 45 minutes on their return from injury as Rovers Under-21s were held to a 1-1 draw at Liverpool.
It was a game in which the Blue and Whites should have taken all three points, with a commanding first half display in which Rovers struck the woodwork no less than three times and missed several other excellent chances.
Just six minutes in and superb play down the left by Josh King saw the ball played to the edge of the box to where Devarn Green struck, but his effort bounced off the top of the crossbar.
16-year-old Hyuga Tanner, making his third start for the Under-21s, was next to try his luck. Linking up well with Dean Rittenberg, the midfielder let fly but Yusuf Mersin in the Liverpool goal saved well. The resulting Tanner corner picked out Ryan Edwards but the defender couldn't get his header on target.
Rovers continued to force the pace and after latching onto an Etuhu long ball, King tried an audacious chip from an impossible angle. However, whilst the ball beat the keeper, the ball bounced off the foot of the post and away.
Green was soon back in the action, capitalising on a defensive slip to race through but Mersin saved well once more before a Will Beesley free-kick was headed goalwards by Darragh Lenihan only to be tipped onto the far post.
In the ensuing scramble striker Dean Rittenberg was brought to ground by Vilyan Bijev and Rovers were awarded a penalty.
Rittenberg himself stepped up, and although the Liverpool stopper dived the right way, the youngster's effort crept home.
There was still time for Rovers to miss another excellent chance as the half drew to a close as another Tanner corner caused problems for Liverpool, but again Edwards was wayward with his header.
With King and Etuhu replaced at the break as planned it was a much more even second half and the home side levelled just six minutes after the restart.
Full back Brad Smith made great use of the space down the left to fire over a cross into the area and the unfortunate Ryan Edwards could only watch on in horror as the ball deflected of his outstretched boot and into the back of the net past the helpless David Raya.
After such a dominating first half, it was so disappointing to concede such an unfortunate goal.
Tim Payne went close on the hour mark with a shot that deflected over, whilst Liverpool defender Ryan McLaughlin forced Raya into a fine save with a shot across the area.
Rovers' best chance of the second half fell to Will Beesley, but inexplicably, with the goal at his mercy, he fired wide from 12 yards.
The home side thought they had snatched all three points with a minute left on the clock, but as Jordan Rossitter bundled the ball home at the back post, the flag was raised for offside.
It was a welcome point on their travels for Rovers, but the display really merited all three.
ROVERS: Raya, Fernandez, Beesley, Tanner (sub Cotton 77 mins), Edwards, Lenihan, Green, Etuhu (sub Bauress 46 mins), Rittenberg, Payne, King (sub Tumwa 46 mins).
Subs not used: Urwin, Paulo Jorge.