Rovers Under-18s kicked off the new Premier League North season with a well deserved 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough at Brockhall.
Goals midway through each half from Ben Paton and substitute Brad Lynch ensured a successful start for Billy Barr’s side.
The hosts took the game to Middlesbrough from the off, dominating for long spells, and they got their rewards on 25 minutes.
A ball forward was knocked back to Callum Wright, who found Paton and the young Canadian – who twice netted for the Under-23s in pre-season in their victories over Darwen and Ramsbottom – fired a sweet left-foot strike past the Boro keeper from 25 yards out.
Rovers continued to create chances, but failed to find the killer instinct at times in the final third.
Just past the hour mark, Lynch came on for Dan Butterworth and the change had the desired effect, as, on 73 minutes, Rovers doubled their lead.
Jack Vale drove at the Boro defence, before playing a clever reverse pass through to Lynch, who rounded the keeper and finished on his left foot.
Barr said: “It was a really good performance. We started well and continued.
“It’s not been a perfect pre-season, because we’ve had quite a few injuries and we even had to cancel a game due to the amount of injuries.
“So we went into the game thinking we might come up short, but the performance was really good and really pleasing, and that’s the standard set now to take us forward.
“All in all, it was a really good performance and now we have to take that to Liverpool on Saturday and see where we go from there.”
ROVERS: Winterbottom, Jackson, Jones, Wright, Evans, Buckley, Paton, Donnelly-Blackburn, Wilson (Chan 81), Vale (Dolan 78), Butterworth (Lynch 62).
Subs not used: Eastham, Barnes.
Goals: Paton (25), Lynch (73)
Meanwhile, Rovers have been drawn in Group B along with Chelsea, Newcastle and Brighton in the Under-18 Premier League Cup.