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Rovers u18s 1 Fulham u18s 2

14 March 2016

Rovers' Under-18s slipped to their first defeat in four outings as they went down 2-1 at home to Fulham on Saturday.

A goal in each half from the visitors put them in control, but whilst Alex Curran pulled a goal back late on it proved to be mere consolation.

It was the Cottagers who started the stronger at Brockhall, the movement from the Fulham frontline causing early problems.

Rovers grew into the game as the half wore on, and should have taken the lead after 20 minutes. A quick throw from Mason Fawns saw Lewis Mansell in on goal, but the Academy top scorer spurned his chance.

But Fulham were to take full advantage of that missed opportunity by grabbing the opening goal on the half hour. 

A clever through-ball dissected the Rovers defence and Elijah Adebayo converted from close-range. 

Despite ending the first half looking the stronger of the two sides, the young Rovers were disappointing in the second half with Fulham in the ascendency.

Only a fantastic penalty save from Andy Fisher prevented the visitors from doubling their advantage just past the hour mark. After Matty Platt was adjudged to have fouled his man, Mikolaj Kwietniewski took the spot-kick, but Fisher dived to his right to push the ball aside.

However Rovers didn't heed that warning with Fulham grabbing their second on 72. A free-kick from the right wasn't dealt with and Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson arrived to score from close-range.

It took that second Fulham goal for Rovers to finally respond but it wasn't until the 90th minute that they got their reward of a goal.

Joe Grayson clipped a free-kick in from 20-yards, but whilst the ball struck the post, Curran was on hand to find the back of the net on the rebound.

Then Rovers almost snatched an unlikely point in the dying seconds of the match when Grayson hit a free-kick from inside his own half. The low ball caught everyone out in the area as it bounced against the foot of the post, but they were unable to force it home.

"We were really disappointed with the performance from the lads," said U18s assistant coach Ian Jones.

"We stopped doing what we've been doing well all season and struggled with the physicality that Fulham offered and we didn't defend well enough as a team."

ROVERS: Fisher, Makinson, Platt, Magloire, Williams, Tomlinson (sub Mols 67 mins), Grayson, Rankin-Costello, Pemberton, Mansell, Fawns (sub Curran 77 mins).

Subs not used: Ascroft (GK), Doyle, Pirretas.

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