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PL2 Report: Norwich City 1 Rovers 3

19 December 2016

Connor Mahoney struck a second half brace as Rovers' Under-23s returned to winning ways with a deserved 3-1 victory over Norwich City on Monday afternoon.

Joe Rankin-Costello, who played an influential role as Rovers defeated Arsenal in the FA Youth Cup on Friday night, opened the scoring for the visitors on 13 minutes.

Yet despite dominating the first half Rovers couldn't hold onto their lead as the Canaries drew level moments into the second when Carlton Morris converted a dubious penalty.

But Rovers picked themselves up from that disappointment to end the match strongly as Mahoney fired home from the penalty spot himself, before tapping in a third in added time to clinch the points.

Rovers were strong starters at the Colney Training Centre, taking a deserved lead on 13 minutes.

After good pressure had lead to a corner kick, Mahoney sent the ball in and as Scott Wharton glanced on Rankin-Costello, who had earlier seen an effort saved, nodded home at the back post.

They may have been up against a strong Norwich outfit that featured the likes of Matt Jarvis and Michael Turner, but Rovers continued to force the pace. But as has often been the case this season, they weren't able to turn their dominance into clear-cut chances.

At the other end Rovers were rarely troubled in the first half, Andy Fisher without a save to make.

But despite offering little as an attacking threat in the first half, the Canaries were handed the chance to get back on level terms early in the second with a very generous penalty decision.

Following a run up to the edge of the box Morris was fouled by Wharton, but with the momentum taking the attacker into the area, after deliberation, the referee pointed to the spot much to surprise of the Rovers ranks.

Having picked himself up the Norwich man made no mistake from 12-yards to draw them level.

Boosted by the equaliser, the home side went in search of a second goal, Morris almost getting on the scoresheet once more with a shot that rattled the crossbar.

However at the other end the lively Mahoney also struck the woodwork as they went agonisingly close to regaining the lead.

After his initial shot had rattled the post, it then rebounded off Ben Killip in the Norwich goal and off the post a second time before rolling behind for a corner.

Goals have been hard to come by for the development squad this season, but thankfully in the closing stages they added a further two to put the game beyond the hosts.

Six minutes from time Mahoney was tripped as he raced into the area, and he converted the resultant penalty kick to put Rovers back in front.

Determined not to let the lead slip a second time, Rovers went in search of more goals and a third duly arrived in added time.

Substitute Willem Tomlinson played a fine through ball that Mahoney raced onto before rounding the keeper and cooly slotting home to complete the victory.

ROVERS: Fisher, Nyambe, Doyle, Travis, Platt, Wharton, Mahoney, Rankin-Costello, Mansell (sub Butterworth 80 mins), Hardcastle (sub Tomlinson 67 mins), Thomson.

Subs not used: Magloire, Ascroft (GK), Mols.

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