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Rovers u18s 1 West Ham u18s 1

27 April 2016

Rovers' Under-18s were left to rue a host of missed chances as they had to settle for a point with West Ham at Brockhall on Wednesday.

The young Rovers started strongly, peppering the West Ham goal with efforts, but they found themselves behind after Dan Kemp gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot on 36 minutes.

Lewis Mansell levelled soon afterwards, but neither side was able to trouble the goal in the second half as the match ended all square.

Rovers were quickly into their stride at Brockhall, taking the game to their opponents from the off.

On 11 minutes Rovers were denied on three occasions in quick succession. After Stefan Mols had been forced wide when in on goal, his cross picked out Mansell but his header was blocked, the ball then fell to Joe Grayson who fired goalwards only for West Ham keeper Sam Howes to tip over the bar.

Unbowed the home side came back once more, Tre Pemberton seeing an effort blocked on the line, but Alex Curran on the follow-up was just wide. Then Mols saw a shot blocked inside the six-yard box after excellent work from Ramirez Howarth.

Despite the pressure from the home side, West Ham almost caught the Rovers out on the break on 26 minutes. Andy Fisher saving well at the feet of Sam Ford after the Hammers' forward had stole in on goal.

Fisher wouldn't be so fortunate ten minutes later when Kemp raced into the box, the Rovers keeper upending the West Ham attacker for a clear penalty.

Kemp took the resulting spot-kick and made no mistake with a shot into the bottom corner, just beating Fisher who dived the right way.

Thankfully for Billy Barr's side they got back on level terms almost straight away. On 43 minutes Mols played a forward ball to Curran and he fed Mansell who took a touch before firing home.

The second half was a much more even affair, but Rovers were still carrying the greater threat. Mols glancing a header just wide from Ben Williams' fine centre on the hour mark.

Grayson then saw a well-taken free-kick kept out before Mason Fawns fizzed an effort over the bar.

However the Rovers substitute was called into action at the other end with Fawns heading off the line to keep out a Tunji Akinola header with just a minute remaining.

Rovers could have snatched all three points with the last move of the match, but Howarth snatched at his opportunity and fired over the bar.

"We are more than happy with the way the lads played," said Under-18s coach Billy Barr.

"We created a lot of chances in the first half and in general the football that we played was really good.

"We are giving more first years a taste of football at this level, the lads are developing daily, you can really see that with the way they are performing."

ROVERS: Fisher, Travis, C. Doyle, Magloire, Williams, Grayson, Mols, Curran (sub Fawns 76 mins), Pemberton (sub Steer 80 mins), Mansell, Howarth.

Subs not used: Ascroft, Makinson.

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