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Rovers u18s 2 Stoke u18s 3

16 February 2016

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It was a disappointing afternoon for the Under-18s as they sliped to 3-2 home loss to Stoke City.

A goal at either end of the first half, and a third midway through the second put the Potters fully in control, and although Rovers rallied with two late goals, they were merely consolation.

At a chilly Brockhall Rovers' youngsters got off to the worst possible start when they went a goal behind after just five minutes. 

Slick passing saw the visitors advance into the Rovers area before Thibaud Verlinden found the back of the net.

Rovers looked to hit back quickly with Matthew Makinson nodding wide, before Joel Steer was narrowly over following a through ball from Joe Grayson.

But it was at the other end of the pitch where play was firmly centred. Billy Barr's side struggled to get out of their own area as Stoke looked to double their advantage.

And after Stefan Mols had headed off the line and Andy Fisher touched a shot onto the crossbar, the visitors grabbed the second goal their play deserved on 40 minutes. Hakim Abdallah out-muscling Charley Doyle before firing home.

Mitch Allen in the Stoke goal denied Steer at the start of the second half, but by 57 minutes a third goal for the Potters was scored.

Again Abdallah got the better of Doyle and this time he squared for Theo Brierley to make it 3-0.

Rovers made changes in the closing stages and two subs combined to pull a goal back on 89 minutes as John Buckley's centre was swept home by Alex Curran.

Then in added time Lewis Travis found Makinson in the area, and the defender scored with a fine left-footed finish.

But it was all too little too late as the referee blew for full time moments later.

"We were second best from start to finish," said Barr. "Too many of our players were below par today.

"We may have scored two late goals but it can't mask what was a very disappointing display.

"We have to perform better in our final league game this Friday against Wolves."

ROVERS: Fisher, Makinson, Williams, Travis, Doyle, Magloire, Fawns (sub Buckley 71 mins), Grayson (sub Robinson 60 mins), Steer (sub Curran 60 mins), Mols, Howarth.

Subs not used: Ascroft, Jones.

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