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A great way to end the year

8 December 2015

Damien Johnson was delighted to see the development squad sign off 2015 with another victory as they defeated Newcastle United 2-1 at Leigh Sports Village.

It was the Under-21's fifth win in their last seven league outings, as they ended the year fifth in the Barclays U21 Premier League Division 2.

"It is really pleasing," said the coach. "The guys have been on a good run and performances have been good, so it nice to finish it off with a win in the last game before Christmas.

"It was tough as they had some experienced players, some who had signed for a lot of money, and we were very young. The lads stood up to the test and we are really pleased with their efforts."

Rovers opened the scoring in the first half when Lewis Mansell capitalised on a poorly hit back-pass to put the home side in front, before their advantage was doubled when Callum Williams headed into the back of his own net.

Newcastle reduced the deficit in the closing stages through Callum Roberts, but Rovers saw the game out to claim the points.

"We set about how we wanted to play and we knew we would get opportunities if we pressed correctly and fair play to the lads they followed the instructions and they got their rewards by pressing and took the goal really well," added Johnson.

"The second goal probably came against the run of play, we expected them to come at us in the second half and we were looking for ourselves to be cuter and cleverer on the ball, so that was the disappointing thing.

"But it was nice to get the second goal to give us that cushion and in the end we needed it.

"It is nice to win, but the performances have been good and that is the main thing, it is a young team with first and second year scholars, and that is how the club wants to do it.

"It is a really positive thing and games like tonight can only serve to help their development."

The Under-21s return to action in the new year when they face Arsenal on Tuesday January 5th.

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