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Stoke City u21s 1 Rovers u21s 0

26 January 2016

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Rovers' Under-21s slipped to a narrow 1-0 loss at the hands of Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.

An 11th minute strike from Potters' midfielder Oliver Shenton was the difference between the two sides at their Clayton Wood training ground.

With the first team involved at Charlton, Damien Johnson named a youthful side, whilst the home team were able to include the experienced Stephen Ireland in their squad.

After a quiet opening, the match sprang into life with what proved to be the only goal of the game just 11 minutes in.

As Rovers failed to clear their lines, Shenton picked the ball up outside the area before finding the top corner of the net with an unstoppable shot.

Keeper Andy Fisher then had to be alert to stop Stoke from doubling their advantage as he tipped a Liam Edwards header onto the post.

As the half wore on Rovers grew into the game, Anton Forrester and Sacha Petshi both going close. But Stoke keeper Daniel Gyollai wasn't tested as their strikes went wide.

The second half saw Fisher thwart Shenton when through, before Gyollai denied Forrester at the other end.

Rovers upped the ante in the closing stages, Sam Lavelle saw a header cleared off the line, before Connor Thomson saw a goal-bound shot blocked. Forester also going close with further chances.

Then a last minute corner saw Rovers press once more but David Carson couldn't capitalise as his effort flashed wide.

"They scored a wonder goal on ten minutes but after that we dominated the game," said coach Damien Johnson.

"But our final ball and our finishing let us down so that was disappointing.

"Aside from the first 15-20 minutes I was really pleased with the way we performed. We played most of the 2nd half in their half but we just couldn't finish."

STOKE: Gyollai, Banks, Taylor, Lecygne, Edwards, Teixeira, Molina, Waddington, Waring (sub Telford 46 mins), Ireland (sub El Ouriachi 60 mins), Shenton.

Subs not used: Isted (GK), Moseley, Renee-Pringle.

ROVERS: Fisher, Carson, Askew, Tomlinson, Lavelle (c), Wharton, Mahoney, Petshi, Forrester, Rankin-Costello (sub Cham 75 mins), Thomson.

Subs not used: Tanner, Crump (GK), Green, Rittenberg.

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