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PL2 Report: Rovers 1 Stoke City 1

12 December 2016

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Rovers and Stoke City shared the points in an entertaining Premier League 2 encounter at the Lancs FA, Leyland on Monday evening.

The home side started strongly with Connor Mahoney giving Rovers the lead with a clever lob after just 8 minutes.

But despite dominating the opening half, they were unable to add to their goal tally and were made to pay when the Potters equalised on 70 minutes through a Ryan Sweeney header.

Both sides had chances to win the match in the closing stages, but Andy Fisher for Rovers and Harry Isted for Stoke both made fine saves to ensure the match ended all-square.

In rainy conditions Damien Johnson's side were quick out of the traps at the County ground, taking the lead after just eight minutes.

Rovers had already threatened when a stretching Joe Rankin-Costello couldn't direct a centre on target, but sixty seconds later they were celebrating the opening goal.

Chasing a Lewis Travis ball into the penalty area, Mahoney and Stoke keeper Harry Isted arrived at the same time, and as the two collided it was the Rovers winger who was up on his feet the quicker, showing great anticipation to turn and lob the defender on the line for his second of the season.

That sparked a spell of play from Rovers from which they should have increased their lead further. 

This time Mahoney was the provider with a ball across the six-yard box but Lewis Mansell somehow didn't connect with the goal at his mercy.

Another chance soon followed as Mahoney sent a free-kick into the area, Matty Platt rose high but his header was claimed by the Potters keeper. 

In what was a largely one-sided first half, it wasn't until the 38th minute that Stoke threatened the Rovers goal. As captain Eddy Lecygne took the ball into the opposition half, he spread it to the left to Cameron McJannett whose centre was nodded down by Tyrese Campbell to Olly Shenton, but on the half-volley he fired wide.

Another opportunity followed for the visitors, but Danny Jarvis's strike from distance was straight into the arms of Andy Fisher.

The first half was played at a tremendous pace, and the start of the second was no different as the Rovers went in search of further goals straight from the restart.

A whipped cross from the right by Mahoney just evaded Mansell, Connor Thomson followed up with a curled effort but it's route to goal was blocked.

But whilst Rovers had it all their own way in the opening 45, it wouldn't be the same in the second half. The Potters capitalising on a home error as Jake Dunwoody teed up Tyrese Campbell but from 20-yards the young striker fired low but wide.

Rovers countered with more opportunities as Thomson and Mansell both saw efforts blocked, before a storming run from Lewis Hardcastle saw it open up for the midfielder, but his shot flashed narrowly wide.

Stoke countered once more with Hakim Abdullah seeing a fierce shot deflect over the crossbar, whilst Mansell saw a header chalked off for offside.

On 69 minutes a deep cross from halfway reached Campbell in the penalty area, but his shot deflected up and over Fisher, landing on the roof of the net.

The resulting corner would see the visitors grab the equaliser. Danny Jarvis with the delivery from the left to the six-yard box where Sweeney stole in to head home.

Stoke then threatened to take the lead as McJannett struck low but wide, before only a fingertip save from Andy Fisher prevented substitute Jordan Greenidge from scoring. The Rovers keeper diving full-length to his left to turn the effort aside.

However as goos as that save was, it was topped by his opposite number as Rovers threatened to grab all three points in added time.

As Mahoney sent over a corner from the right, Mansell powered his header goalwards, only to see Isted show unbelievable reactions to claw the ball away on the line to ensure the game ended all square.

ROVERS: Fisher, Travis, Doyle, Mols, Platt, Wharton (c), Mahoney, Hardcastle, Mansell, Rankin-Costello (sub Butterworth 81 mins), Thomson.

Subs not used: Magloire, Ascroft, Pemberton, Rittenberg.

Goals: Mahoney 8 mins.

Booked: Travis 43 mins, Platt 90+3 mins.

STOKE CITY: Istid, Jarvis, Da Silva (sub Cherdieu 50 mins), Lecygne (c), Edwards, Sweeney, Abdallah, Dunwoody, Campbell (sub Greenidge 79 mins), Shenton, McJannett.

Subs not used: Waddington, Gyollai, Sorenson.

Goals: Sweeney 70 mins.

Booked: None.

Attendance: 187

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