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Rovers u18s 1 West Brom u18s 2

10 October 2015

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Rovers' Under-18s suffered only their second defeat of the season on Saturday as they went down 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion.

The young Rovers have begun the campaign brightly but they couldn't maintain their excellent run of results on a frustrating afternoon at Brockhall.

Rovers started the stronger of the two sides with Joe Grayson seeing an early free-kick tipped over, before they took the lead on 13 minutes.

Neat play down the left from Josh Askew saw the ball played inside to Grayson and his cross was expertly glanced home by Stefan Mols for his first of the season.

However Rovers couldn't build on their advantage and Albion drew level at the midway point of the half albeit in contentious circumstances.

Keeper Andy Fisher was adjudged to have claimed a back-pass from Matty Platt and the visitors took full advantage from the resulting free-kick in the penalty area. The kick was taken short to Rahis Nabi and he fired home underneath the Rovers wall.

Rovers went close to regaining the lead on 26 minutes when from a Mason Fawns corner Platt struck the post, the ball then rebounded to fellow central defender Tyler Magloire but his shot was blocked on the line.

Albion also had opportunities to take the lead as the half ended all square.

The home side started the second half poorly and found themselves behind five minutes after the turnaround.

Excellent work from attacker Jonathan Leko saw him skip past two challenges in the penalty area before firing home from close-range.

Top scorer Lewis Mansell saw a goal-bound shot deflect wide as they looked for a response, but in what was becoming an increasingly niggly affair, the stop-start nature of the match suited the visitors as Rovers struggled to get their forward play going.

Indeed the Baggies could have netted further as Tyler Roberts was denied by a goal-line clearance from Magloire.

The home side's frustrations got the better of them in the closing stages with a host of yellow cards, including a second for Mansell in the final moments resulting in Rovers ending the match with ten men in a disappointing defeat.

"We had a game plan to impose ourselves on West Brom and from minute one we didn't do that," said U18s coach Billy Barr.

"There were opportunities to do what we had worked on but for some reason today wasn't the day that the players tried to do it. It ended up being a very frustrating afternoon for everybody.

"You've got to do the work to win games and credit to them for the majority of the season they have gone and put the work in that has got the results, but today that performance appeared from somewhere and I'll be disappointing if it comes back.

"Football is full of ups and downs, you don't win every game. But it is the way you lose games and the reaction of losing them in that manner that we'll be looking at this week.

"So there are going to be places up for grabs, which is the nature of the game."

ROVERS: Fisher, Travis, Askew, Rankin-Costello, Platt, Magloire, Fawns (sub Pemberton 65 mins), Mols, Mansell, Grayson (sub Pirretas 64 mins), Howarth (sub Steer 80 mins).

Subs not used: Ascroft, C. Doyle.

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