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Rovers u18s 3 Derby u18s 2

14 November 2015

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Rovers' Under-18s returned to winning ways with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Derby County on Saturday.

A brace from Joe Rankin-Costello and a close-range finish from Tre Pemberton saw Rovers get the better of the Rams at a rain-soaked Brockhall.

After a slow start in which the two sides cancelled each other out, it was the visitors who grabbed the opening goal at the midway point of the half when forward Emil Jakobsen latched onto an intricate pass to fire home.

Rovers responded well as Ramirez Howarth shot narrowly wide, and on 29 minutes they drew level.

Under-16 midfielder John Buckley sent a ball into the area and as the Derby keeper failed to hold the cross, Rankin-Costello forced it home.

Josh Askew saw an effort well saved, whilst Joe Grayson was just off target with a free-kick as the Rovers ended the opening half strongly.

And within a minute of the turnaround they would get their noses in front. Rankin-Costello advancing forward before curling the ball into the bottom corner to take his tally for the season to four.

Rovers looked to stretch their advantage as half-time sub Joel Steer saw a close-range header kept out, but it was Derby who levelled on 70 minutes when a free-kick was headed home by Alex Cover.

However Billy Barr's side again showed the desired response, Mason Fawns twice going close before Rovers grabbed the all-important winning goal 12 minutes from time.

It started from the back as goalkeeper Andy Fisher sent a long ball upfield, Rovers attacked strongly down the right through Steer, and his centre was converted from close-range by Pemberton.

The closing stages saw Derby press for an equaliser, but whilst there were a couple of nervy moments the young Rovers saw the match out intelligently to claim the points.

"It was an end to end match," said Under-18s coach Ian Jones. "We created quite a few chances, especially in the second half.

"With a little bit more care in the final third we could have won the match more comfortably, although we rode our luck at times in tough conditions.

"As individuals we defended well, but as a unit we could have done better. It was also good to give Under-16 player John Buckley a run in the side."

ROVERS: Fisher, Travis, Askew, Rankin-Costello, Magloire, Doyle, Pemberton, Buckley (sub Fawns  63 mins), Mansell (sub Steer 46 mins), Grayson, Howarth.

Subs not used: Ascroft (GK), Makinson, Pirretas.

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