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Middlesbrough u18s 1 Rovers u18s 2

24 January 2017

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Rovers' Under-18s battled back well to defeat Middlesbrough 2-1 on Tuesday afternoon.

Billy Barr's side fell behind early at Rockliffe Park, but they managed to turn the match around in the second half thanks to a leveller from substitute Joel Steer before top scorer Daniel Butterworth clinched the victory on 90 minutes with his 10th goal of the season.

Rovers went into the match boosted by Saturday's 3-0 home win over West Bromwich Albion, but they found themselves behind after just ten minutes.

A corner was sent over into the Rovers penalty area and Anthony Renton headed home unmarked from eight yards out.

Both sides had further opportunities in what was a tight first 45, but it was Boro who went in at the break in front.

Rovers came out with renewed purpose in the second half, going close through Butterworth just 30 seconds after the restart.

And as the half wore on the Rovers steadily imposed themselves, playing much better football than they showed in the first before finally getting their reward with 20 minutes remaining.

A Joe Grayson corner was cleared as far as John Buckley just outside the box, he fired goalwards and as the keeper spilled his shot, Steer was on hand to take advantage on the rebound.

Rovers kept the pressure up and a second goal duly arrived just as the clock reached 90 minutes.

In a near carbon-copy from Saturday's final goal against Wolves, Stefan Mols advanced from the middle of the park before playing in Butterworth and he steered the ball left-footed into the opposite corner of the goal.

There were booking for both sides in what was a feisty ending on Teesside, Middlesbrough midfielder Ben Liddle seeing red for dissent just before the final whistle. 

"We weren't great in the first half, we had a lot of possession without being very good with the ball," said Barr.

"We said to them at half-time that they hadn't played as well as they had in recent weeks, but to be fair to the lads they've come out and dominated the second half and should have had more than two goals.

"We kept going and we got what we deserved in the end, we just made hard work of it."

The win over Middlesbrough sees Rovers remain fourth in the U18 Premier League North table. A point behind Manchester United and six ahead of Everton.

The Under-18s are away to Wolverhampton Wanderers this Saturday.

ROVERS: Ascroft, Wright, Thompson, Buckley, C. Doyle, Magloire, Pemberton (sub Curran 65 mins), Mols, Butterworth, Hendry (sub Steer 65 mins), Grayson (sub Paton 81 mins).

Subs not used: Carter, Campbell.

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