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Stoke City u18s 1 Rovers u18s 5

21 September 2015

A whirlwind start from the Rovers Academy blew Stoke City away as they recorded an emphatic 5-1 win on Saturday.

A first half hat-trick from top scorer Lewis Mansell - his second treble this season - put the visitors in control, before Mason Fawns and Ramirez Howarth added further goals.

Stoke grabbed a goal in the second half but it proved to be mere consolation as Billy Barr's side stretched their unbeaten run to four matches.

The Under-18s have been fast starters this season but it was a sensational opening at Clayton Wood with four goals inside the first half hour.

Just three minutes in a cross from Mason Fawns picked out Joe Grayson but whilst he was unfortunate to see his header slam against the crossbar, Mansell was there to force home the rebound.

It was soon 2-0 as Mansell and Grayson combined through the middle, before the striker advanced to fire home his second.

By 24 minutes Rovers were celebrating a third, and a hat-trick for Mansell. Stefan Mols' defence-splitting pass played in Howarth but although his effort was kept out, Mansell was on hand once more.

With the home side unable to cope with Rovers' forward pressure a fourth goal soon arrived on the half hour, Fawns scoring a wonderful solo goal after racing through to wrong-foot the Stoke keeper.

4-0 at the break, Rovers stretched their advantage further moments into the second half with a deserved goal from Howarth.

Defender Matty Platt took advantage of the space down the right before picking out Howarth his cross and the forward took a touch before smashing the ball home.

Mansell could have added to the three goals to his name but was off target with a couple of headers. His performance was made all the more impressive considering the young forward had travelled and played for the Under-21s the day before in their away match at Fulham.

With 20 minutes to go the home side grabbed a consolation goal, Liam Smith finishing well after chasing a through-ball to beat Andy Fisher.

Rovers had further opportunities to stretch their lead in the closing stages, but it was a more than satisfactory afternoon in the Potteries.

"It was a terrific day's work from us," said U18s lead coach Billy Barr.

"The message to the lads at the end of the game was that we were not fantastic and there are areas to improve, but we are pleased to record our third away win on the bounce.

"A special mention to Lewis Mansell who had only got back from the Under-21s at 2am the day of the game, whilst we are delighted to see Remy Howarth on the scoresheet, he has deserved that with the way he has performed this season."

ROVERS: Fisher, Travis (sub Pirretas 80 mins), Askew, Rankin-Costello, Platt, Magloire, Fawns (sub Callaway 75 mins), Mols, Mansell (sub Steer 67 mins), Grayson, Howarth.

Subs not used: Boyling, Makinson.

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