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Rovers u18s 2 Sunderland u18s 1

6 February 2017

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Rovers' Under-18s stretched their unbeaten league run to four games with a last-gasp victory over Sunderland on Saturday.

Sharp-shooter Daniel Butterworth opened the scoring for Rovers early on, but the Black Cats levelled moments into the second half.

Despite Rovers being reduced to ten men when defender Charley Doyle was sent off on 78, a moment of magic from Butterworth saw them secure the points in injury-time.

Rovers started brightly at Brockhall, taking the lead after just 12 minutes.

Excellent pressing from forward Callum Hendry saw him block a Sunderland ball out from the back and it fell to Butterworth who cooly slotted home with a one-touch finish.

But Rovers failed to build on their early promise as the Black Cats gained the upper hand. And they would have gotten back on level terms by half-time if it wasn't for a series of fine saves from goalkeeper Matty Campbell.

The start of the second half saw Sunderland continue their dominance and they deservedly drew level on 51 minutes.

After Rovers gave the ball away cheaply in midfield Chris Allen crossed for Lee Connelly who arrived between the two centre-halves to finish.

Billy Barr's side had to withstand more pressure from the visitors and their task was made all the more difficult when Rovers were reduced to ten men with 12 minutes to go when Charly Doyle saw red for a challenge.

But despite that disappointment it was Rovers who almost got back in front when makeshift full back Stefan Mols raced down the right, but his ball across the area agonisingly failed to find a blue and white shirt in the six-yard box.

However moments later Rovers would clinch the points through an outstanding piece of individualism from Butterworth.

Collecting a throw from Mols the young striker beat five players before finishing in fine style with a left-footed shot from just inside the area, taking Butterworth's goal tally to 13 this season.

"Once again we have someone sent off and we go on and win the game," said Barr. "We never know when we are beaten.

"On the day Sunderland were good, I felt they were better than us, but for us, it gives us a chance to finish the season off on a high and play in that top four, but we know there is still work to be done."

ROVERS: Campbell, Jackson, Thompson, Wright (sub Evans 58 mins), C. Doyle, Carter, Pemberton (sub Curran 57 mins), Mols, Butterworth, Hendry (sub Simms 78 mins), Grayson.

Subs not used: Buckley, Paton.

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