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PL2 Report: West Ham 1 Rovers 1

21 November 2016

Rovers' development squad claimed a useful point on their travels with a 1-1 draw against West Ham United on Monday evening.

The familiar face of loanee Martin Samuelsen fired the home side in front just six minutes into the Premier League 2 encounter at Dagenham, but Rovers levelled just before the half hour thanks to a second of the season for Lewis Hardcastle.

Both sides had chances to claim the three points in an entertaining encounter, a draw just about the right result.

It was a young squad that travelled south to take on the Hammers, as Damien Johnson's side included just Ryan Nyambe and Connor Mahoney with any first team experience.

In contrast, the Premier League outfit had a strike-force of Jonathan Calleri and Ashley FLetcher, whilst Martin Samuelsen turned out for his parent club at Under-23 level once more.

Rovers struggled early on with the hosts grabbing the lead just six minutes into the match. Calleri with a cross for Fletcher who played it back into the path of the Norwegian who found the back of the net.

It was a bright opening from the Hammers, but Rovers slowly started to assert themselves, opportunities for Mahoney, Lewis Mansell and Nyambe were all well blocked.

Rovers saw claims for a penalty waved away on 25 minutes when Mansell headed a Mahoney corner goalwards, the ball appeared to strike the hand of a defender, but the officials were unmoved.

However just a minute later the visitors were awarded a handball decision, this time just outside the area. Hardcastle took the resulting free-kick and expertly found the back of the net with keeper Sam Howes having no chance.

His counterpart Andy Fisher did well to claim a Calleri header, before Rovers captain Matty Platt saw a back post header flash just wide as the half drew to a close.

In contrast to the first, there were fewer goalmouth opportunities in the second half.  Samuelsen caught the eye with a couple of weaving runs, but the Rovers defence was alert to the danger.

Nyambe, fresh from his Championship debut at the weekend, then went close for Rovers, but he couldn't match his run with a finish as he fired well wide.

The two teams looked for the winner in the final stages, but neither goal was threatened as the match ended all square.

The Under-23s are back in action next Monday night when they host Newcastle United at the Lancs FA County Ground, Leyland, kick-off 7.00pm.

ROVERS: Fisher, Nyambe, Doyle, Travis, Platt, Magloire, Mahoney, Rankin-Costello, Mansell (sub Hendry 86 mins), Hardcastle, Thomson (sub Rittenberg 82 mins).

Subs not used: Makinson, Powell, Mols.

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