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Rovers u18s 1 Newcastle Utd u18s 1

21 February 2017

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It was a game of two halves at Brockhall on Tuesday afternoon as Rovers' Under-18s ended their regular league programme with a 1-1 draw.

In soaking conditions Billy Barr's side started brightly with Tre Pemberton firing Rovers in front, but despite creating a host of first half chances they couldn't make the most of their opportunities to stretch their advantage.

And it would come back to bite them in the second half as a goalkeeping error from Ben Ascroft allowed Lewis McNall to equalise to ensure the points were shared.

Rovers went into the match full of confidence, Barr keeping faith with the side that had defeated Manchester United at the weekend. The only change being Joel Steer replacing the injured Callum Hendry. The U18s coach resisting the temptation to include a host of second year players at their disposal.

And that continuity looked to have paid off as the young starlets started brightly, Pemberton with an early shot well-saved, Callum Wright narrowly over on the follow-up.

Rovers continued to force the pace and grabbed the opening goal on 24 minutes. Good play by Ben Paton on the right saw him put the ball on a plate for Pemberton and he steered it  into the back of the net from 20-yards.

Lewis Thompson nearly added a second when his well-struck effort was saved low down, before Pemberton struck a post just before the break.

Wright and Pemberton wasted early chances in the second half but as the match wore on it was the Magpies who started to gain more of a foothold in the game.

But it was still somewhat against the run of when Newcastle drew level, a low shot from McNall looked to be easily claimed by Ascroft, but the ball slipped from his grasp and into the back of the net.

That prompted a triple change as Alex Curran, Brad Lynch and Lewis Khoury were all introduced. Khoury immediately looking lively as he took on the Toon defence before finding Curran but the forward's shot was saved.

Rovers continued to huff and puff in an attempt to end the league season with a win. Lynch headed a Pemberton cross just wide, whilst at the other end substitute Kelland Watts saw a shot deflect just wide as the match ended all-square.

ROVERS: Ascroft, Jackson, Thompson, Evans, Jones, Carter, Pemberton, Buckley, Steer (sub Lynch 69 mins), Wright (sub Curran 69 mins), Paton (sub Khoury 69 mins).

Subs not used: Campbell, Blackburn.

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