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Filan: A good night's work

9 September 2015

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John Filan was delighted to see the development squad progress in the Lancashire Senior Cup after knocking out Barrow in the first round.

In a goal-laden encounter at the Furness Building Society Stadium, the match had to be settled by penalties after the game ended 3-3.

Both sides then scored their first four spot-kicks, but after trialist goalkeeper Luke Simpson saved Barrow's Niall Cowperthwaite's effort, John O'Sullivan kept a cool head to win the tie for Rovers.

"I thought both sides went about it in the right way," said the Under-21s coach.

"Barrow are a club and a team on the way up when them being promoted to the National League so it was a good test for our young lads, a good learning curve for the players.

"It showed a couple of things that we've got need to learn in competitive men's football so that was great from that point of view.

"Then we had John O'Sullivan and Sacha Petshi with us as well, good senior players that did it right so overall it was a good night's work."

Rovers started brightly but found themselves behind on 13 minutes after Barrow striker Andy Cook fired home, but Filan's side responded well thanks to long-range strikes from O'Sullivan and Connor Mahoney.

Danny Livesey levelled for the hosts before the break, but Mahoney put Rovers back in front with an excellent solo goal early in the second half. However it would finish all-square as Dan Pilkington's centre crept home.

That meant the tie would need to be settled by a penalty shootout, with Filan delighted that Dean Rittenberg, David Carson, Sam Lavelle, Connor Thomson and then O'Sullivan made no mistake from 12-yards.

"The main thing is to approach it with a clear mind, decide what you are going to do and to just go and do it," added Filan.

"All five took great penalties and young Luke (Simpson) has pulled out a save and nicked it for us.

"But I think the main thing is it's another good experience against a decent side and club that plays in a competitive league. We can take some things to learn from it.

"We are happy to win the game, okay it was on pens, but it gets us another game that our lads can play in and learn from."

The Under-21s are back in action next Monday night when they take on West Ham United at Ewood Park.

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