Rovers' Under-21s booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Lancashire Senior Cup with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Preston North End at Brockhall this afternoon.
Eric Kinder's young charges maintained their unbeaten start to 2014-15 as Darragh Lenihan's first half strike settled the tie in Rovers' favour in what was an entertaining encounter in the Lancashire sunshine.
The vistors tested David Raya early on as Luke Pritchard stole through, before John O'Sullivan was just over the crossbar with a curling effort from the edge of the box.
It continued to be end-to-end as a Kyel Reid effort was just off target, then defender Paul Huntington headed just wide at the near post.
Good work from Bradley Bauress and Connor Mahoney saw the ball switched inside for O'Sullivan but he failed to find the target with a well struck shot on 22 minutes.
But it was his fellow Irishman Darragh Lenihan who would find the back of the net three minutes later. A short corner saw O'Sullivan centre for Lenihan and the defender slammed the ball into the corner of the net from 18-yards.
Rovers went close to doubling their advantage on the hour mark with a host of chances. A corner from the left saw Sam Lavelle's header kept out, Lenihan and Dean Rittenberg couldn't force the rebound home but as it came out Hyuga Tanner hit the ball sweetly only to see it to slam off the angle of post and bar.
Rovers' lively widemen then combined to fashion another chance, Connor Mahoney crossing for Modou Cham, but he couldn't get a clean connection on his header.
A minute later Mahoney tried his luck from outside the box, but his left-footed strike flashed just wide.
As the game entered the closing stages it was the visitors who were forcing the pace. Kyel Reid going close once more with a shot across the area.
In injury time the visitors won a corner from the right, goalkeeper and all went up for it, and it looked as though Preston had grabbed a late leveller as a header arrowed towards the back of the net but defender Jack Doyle saved the day and ensured cup progression by heading the ball off the line.
The reward for Eric Kinder's side as a quarter-final match against either Accrington Stanley or Manchester United.
The Under-21s are back in league action on Monday 15th September when they face Middlesbrough at the Riverside, before a return to Leigh Sports Village on Friday 19th September when Stoke City are the visitors.
ROVERS: Raya, Daly, Doyle, Tanner (sub Carson 68 mins), Lavelle, Lenihan, Mahoney (sub Joel 81 mins), Bauress (c), Rittenberg (sub Preston 88 mins), O'Sullivan, Cham.
Subs not used: Crump (GK), Paulo Jorge.
Goals: Lenihan 25 mins.
PRESTON: Stuckmann, Smith, Anderton, Fox, Huntington (c), Davies, Pritchard (sub Lunney 82 mins), Wicks (sub Robinson 67 mins), Hugill (sub Boyd 32 mins), Dsane, Reid.
Subs not used: Roscoe, Dalton (GK).