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Rovers u21 2 Wolves u21 1

21 March 2016

A Scott Wharton header four minutes from time earned Rovers' Under-21s all three points against Wolves on Monday evening.

Damien Johnson's side had to come from behind to earn the victory after Daniel Armstrong had given the visitors the lead just before the half hour at Leigh Sports Village.

Luke Wall drew Rovers level on the stroke of half-time, but the match, which saw Jason Lowe and Danny Guthrie get further game time, seemed destined to be a draw until Wharton headed home an 86th minute corner to seal the win.

The opening exchanges saw the Rovers' physio in action more than the football as both Anton Forrester and Ryan Nyambe needed treatment early on. Defender Nyambe eventually needing to be subbed on nine minutes due to a shoulder injury with Joe Rankin-Costello on in his place.

That meant that Lowe, making his second comeback match, had to move to fill in at right back to cover for the injured defender.

After what had been a quiet opening in terms of goalmouth openings, just past the midway point of the half Rovers came close to breaking the deadlock.

A clipped ball into the box by Guthrie picked out Forrester, but whilst his shot across the box beat Aaron McCarey in the Wolves goal, his effort flashed the wrong side of the upright.

Rovers were to regret that missed chance as the visitors took the lead from the very next attack on 27 minutes.

A corner from the right by Bradley Reid picked out Armstrong at the near post and unmarked he headed home.

Rovers roared up the other end and were inches away from levelling. Connor Mahoney nodded down into the path of Lowe who drove into the area but his left-footed shot was deflected wide.

However on the stroke of half-time Rovers did manage to deservedly draw level when excellent hold up play from Forrester saw him feed Wall and the winger cooly slipped the ball under the advancing keeper and into the back of the net. His first goal for the development squad this term.

After a Lewis Hardcastle shot fizzed narrowly over, it was the visitors who posed more of a threat at the start of the second half.

Armstrong went close to getting his second with a hooked effort that cleared the bar, before Connor Hunte lashed high and wide after cutting in from the right.

But the best chance fell to fellow midfielder Ryan Rainey, but he shot harmlessly wide when well placed.

Lowe came close once more on 61 minutes with another left-footed strike, but McCarey did well to tip his effort behind.

It proved to be his last involvement as he was replaced by Willem Tomlinson in what was a planned substitution.

Hardcastle fired wide after Tomlinson saw two shots blocked, but four minutes from time Rovers were denied thanks to the acrobatics of the Wolves keeper.

A sweeping move forward saw Wall cross for substitute Lewis Mansell who headed powerfully, but the keeper somehow tipped his effort over the bar.

But from the resulting corner kick Rovers did grab the all-important third goal on the night.

Mahoney delivered from the right to where an unmarked Wharton had the easy task of heading into the back of the net for his second goal for the Under-21s this season.

The home side were able to comfortably see out the remaining minutes to secure the victory and to complete a double over their opponents this season.

ROVERS: Eastwood, Nyambe (sub Rankin-Costello 9 mins), Askew, Guthrie (sub Mansell 74 mins), Lavelle (c), Wharton, Mahoney, Lowe (sub Tomlinson 61 mins), Forrester, Hardcastle, Wall.

Subs not used: Platt, Fisher.

Goals: Wall 45+1 mins, Wharton 86 mins

Booked: None

WOLVES: McCarey, Odoffin (sub Simpson 87 mins), Deslandes, Rainey, Hayden, Leak, Armstrong (sub Randall 63 mins), Herc, Reid, Enobakhare, Hunte (sub Collins 72 mins).

Subs not used: Breslin,  Upton.

Goals: Armstrong 27 mins.

Booked: Rainey

Attendance: 259

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