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Rovers u21s 0 Reading u21s 1

29 September 2014

Rovers Under-21s suffered their second defeat of the season after slipping to a 1-0 home loss to Reading.

Dominic Samuel's close-range strike in first half injury-time was the difference between the two sides on a disappointing evening at Ewood Park.

The home side saw plenty of the ball, but against a well-marshalled Royals side chances were at a premium. Connor Mahoney going close in the first half with a shot over the bar, whilst Bradley Bauress was denied in the final moments by Daniel Lincoln in the Reading goal.

The visitors could have added to their lead in the second half as substitute Andrija Novakovich skimmed the bar whilst the lively Samuel saw a near-post shot saved.

Over 400 fans turned out to see a young Rovers side that included senior defender Tommy Spurr making his long-awaited return to action after missing the start of the season with a groin injury.

However it was Reading who were the first to threaten, a flicked header from striker Dominic Samuel from a Liam Kelly free-kick forcing Ryan Crump into an early save.

Bradley Bauress fired over for the home side before Modou Cham stung the gloves of Royals keeper Daniel Lincoln, the rebound just arriving too quickly for Dean Rittenberg to fully react as he fired over.

Just past the half hour Connor Mahoney was a whisker away from giving Rovers the lead. Cutting in from the right he hit a sweet left-foot strike that just cleared the crossbar.

Connor Mahoney on the attack

The game appeared to be drifting towards a goalless half-time until the visitors struck with almost the last kick of the opening 45.

As a Nana Owusu free-kick went under the wall, the ball took a deflection to catch Rovers keeper Ryan Crump out, spilling from his grasp to allow Samuel to poke home.

Tommy Spurr came through 45 minutes on his return from injury, he was replaced at the break by Jack Doyle.

Eric Kinder's side started the second half with more urgency but they were unable to get the equaliser their play merited.

Two chances in the space of five minutes saw Dean Rittenberg shoot goalwards, but neither effort troubled the Reading keeper.

Instead it was the visitors who posed more of a threat. On 68 minutes they were the width of the woodwork away from doubling their advantage as substitute Andrija Novakovich skimmed the crossbar with a shot from just inside the area.

Moments later Crump was forced to make a fine near-post save after the lively Samuel broke through.

No way through for Modou Cham

Rovers almost grabbed an unlikely equaliser two minutes from time as Rittenberg pulled the ball back for Bradley Bauress, but the midfielder's first-time shot was well saved at the near post.

The visitors saw out the remaining minutes with ease to inflict a second league defeat of the season on Rovers.

Under-21s boss Eric Kinder was disappointed with the performance as they were unable to produce the sort of displays shown already this season.

"I've said all along that with it being a young side we would have down days as well as up days," said Kinder.

"They wanted to do well because the club had let the fans in for free tonight, whether it got to them or not I don't know. They wanted to show everyone how well we had started the season but it didn't happen for us.

"Overall we were second best, we were disappointing. I was happier with our second half performance but we didn't really threaten their goal."

ROVERS: Crump, Daly, Spurr (sub Doyle 46 mins), Tanner, Lavelle, Lenihan, Mahoney (sub Preston 63 mins), Bauress (c), Rittenberg, Carson, Cham (sub Wall 82 mins).

Subs not used: Williams, Joel.

Goals: None.

Booked: Carson.

READING: Lincoln, Dickie, Griffin, Shaughnessy, Hyam, Keown, Owusu, Samuel, Cardwell (sub Novakovich 63 mins), Kelly, Fosu (sub Watson 83 mins).

Subs not used: McLennan, Legg, Lawal.

Goals: Samuels 45+1 mins.

Booked: None.

Attendance: 445

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