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AFC Fylde 5 Rovers u21s 1

4 August 2015

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The Under-21s ended their pre-season programme in disappointing fashion going down 5-1 away at AFC Fylde.

Damien Johnson's side started brightly enough with Anton Forrester putting them in front, however the Coasters rallied to score five goals to condemn the Rovers to defeat.

Forward Anton Forrester caused the home side trouble early on and fired home the opening goal on 16 minutes, the striker finishing well after breaking into the box.

However Fylde were always a threat and drew level just before the half hour thanks to Josh Wilson's fine strike.

But whilst the first half was an end-to-end affair, Rovers simply didn't compete in a one-sided second half in which the home side took full control.

Just past the hour mark Dion Charles fired Fylde in front, and they built on that lead with impressive finishes from Danny Rowe and Joe Whittington.

A fifth goal summed up the night for the visitors as a defensive mix-up allowed Rowe to roll home his second goal to wrap up a comfortable win for the National League North side.

Rovers featured trialist goalkeeper Max Simonazzi in their starting line-up and the Italian was called into action after just ten minutes.

A high ball into the box saw the keeper under pressure, but as the Fylde attacker poked goalwards, Simonazzi claimed the lose ball on the ground.

Despite the early threat from the home side it was Rovers who took the lead from their first meaningful foray forward on 16 minutes.

As they attacked down the left the ball broke for Anton Forrester in the area and the striker made no mistake, beating former Rovers Academy graduate Matt Urwin with a shot into the corner.

Soon after Jordan Preston played in his strike partner Forrester, but the forward took too long to get his shot away, and although play was eventually worked to David Carson, the midfielder fired well over the bar.

Despite that pressure it was the home side who got back on level terms after 27 minutes. Josh Wilson leaving the trialist keeper no chance with a thumping strike from the edge of the box.

Rovers were then forced into making an early change with full-back Mark Edgar sustaining an ankle injury, Devarn Green came on as his replacement with Jack Doyle moving back into defence.

Boosted by their equaliser, the Coasters continued to force the pace, a spectacular volley from Danny Lloyd flashed wide, before fellow winger Corry Bent slammed a shot against the foot of the post.

At the other end Connor Mahoney only found the stands after good work from Forrester, but it should have been the home side leading at the break but Joey Mullan somehow fired wide when sent through on goal.

Rovers kept faith with their eleven at the start of the second half, whilst Fylde made eight changes at the break.

Eager to impress, it was the home side who grabbed the lead on 65 minutes. Dion Charles showed good footwork to race into the area, and after cutting in from the right he let fly to find the opposite corner of the goal.

A third soon arrived on 76 minutes when a lovely touch and turn saw Danny Rowe cooly slot home. Before the fine strikes continued with a fourth for Fylde, Joe Whittington firing a first-time shot from distance that gave the Rovers keeper no chance.

The final act of the match at Kellamergh Park was for the Coasters to score a fifth. A mix-up at the back between Sam Lavelle and Simonazzi meant an easy second of the night for Rowe and a heavy defeat for Rovers.

"To say we are disappointed is an understatement," said Under-21s coach Damien Johnson.

"I didn't think there was much in it in the first half, but in the second we just made basic errors defending and on the ball, it just wasn't good enough.

"We lacked that competitiveness and that intensity, that was the disappointing thing tonight. It might have been a pre-season friendly but we still wanted to put in the right performance and get the result.

"So we have a lot to work on in training this week leading up to Monday's league game against Derby."

ROVERS: Simonazzi, Thomson, Lavelle, Wharton, Edgar (sub Green 28 mins), Mahoney (sub Cham 77 mins), Grayson, Carson, Doyle (c), Forrester (sub Joel 60 mins), Preston.

Subs not used: Crump, Wall, Rittenberg.

Attendance: 321

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