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Sunderland u18s 2 Rovers u18s 1

26 January 2016

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Rovers Under-18s suffered their first defeat in eight outings after a last-gasp Sunderland comeback on Tuesday afternoon.

A young Rovers side took the lead thanks to Joe Grayson's free-kick on the half hour, but two goals in the final three minutes of the match saw the Black Cats snatch victory.

In wet and windy conditions at the Academy of Light Rovers struggled to adjust to the conditions early on but slowly grew into the game.

And on 30 minutes they grabbed the lead as Grayson sent a 35-yard free-kick in from the right which eluded the Sunderland keeper and found the back of the net.

Rovers pressed to double their advantage as the first half drew to a close, Mason Fawns was just off target with a header from a Ben Williams cross, before Joel Steer spurned a great chance right on half-time.

The second half saw the vastly more experienced hosts take the game to Rovers, but despite the blue and whites side featuring ten Academy first-year scholars, they more than held their own with some excellent defending.

At the other end Rovers again went close to making it two when a ball from Tyler Magloire saw Fanws beat his marker, but the effort bounced back off the post.

But despite their spirited performance it was a defensive error that allowed the home side back into the game with just three minutes remaining.

A speculative long ball forward caught defender Charley Doyle and keeper Ben Ascroft in two minds and Luke Molyneux nipped in to fire into the empty net.

It got worse for Rovers as they then conceded with almost the last kick of the game. An inswinging free-kick from the left was flicked on by Molyneux and the touch took it past the unfortunate Ascroft and into the bottom corner of the net.

"The result was real kick in the teeth," said U18s assistant coach Ian Jones.

"With the team that we had out the lads did brilliantly against a much older and more experienced side, so we are devastated for them.

"But the bigger picture is that the young lads at the Academy will gain immensely from this."

The Under-18s are back in action this Monday night when they travel to face Aston Villa at Villa Park in the 5th round of the FA Youth Cup.

ROVERS: Ascroft, Makinson, C. Doyle, Magloire, Williams, Travis, Mols, Grayson, Pemberton (sub Curran 88 mins), Steer, Fawns (sub Lynch 90 mins).

Subs not used: Robinson.

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