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Development Squad

PL2 Report: Rovers 0 Swansea City 1

6 January 2017

Rovers' Under-23s went down to narrow 1-0 loss at home to Swansea City on Friday afternoon.

Botti Biabi's first half header proved to be the difference between the two sides in a close-run contest at Brockhall.

Rovers were always in the game against the runaway league leaders but they were unable to breach a strong Swansea back line to gain a share of the points.

In drizzly conditions at the Academy it was Rovers who were first to go close to breaking the deadlock after just ten minutes.

Joe Rankin-Costello latched onto a pass to fire goalwards but his effort was saved, the midfielder then shot wide on the follow-up.

Rovers continued to press and probe with the lively Stefan Mols firing narrowly over after a free-kick was cleared to the edge of the area, however despite the early promise it was the visitors who grabbed the opening goal on 27 minutes somewhat against the run of play.

As the visitors worked the ball down the left Daniel James sent the ball into the penalty box to where Biabi nodded home from close range.

Joe Grayson saw a free-kick held for Rovers before Biabi went close to getting his and Swansea's second when he raced through on goal. However as his poked effort went past the onrushing Andy Fisher in the Rovers goal, it also crept wide of target.
Opportunities were few and far between in a slow start to the second half, Damien Johnson throwing on Academy prospects Daniel Butterworth and Tre Pemberton to try and get back on level terms.

Rankin-Costello forced Swans keeper Gregor Zabret into a fine full-length save with a 20-yard strike from the corner of the box, before Mols fired over from a corner kick.

At the other end Fisher made a smart stop to keep out a low strike from Daniel James and then showed great reactions to deny both Biabi and sub Owain Jones on the follow-up as play finally opened up.

But the chance of the match came three minutes from time when Scott Wharton headed down a Lewis Hardcastle corner, but from close range Butterworth fired wide.

"We are a little bit disappointed with the result," said U23s boss Damien Johnson. "And the performance wasn't at the standard that the lads had set themselves.

"We haven't played since before Christmas and it looked that way, though to be fair I don't think they were great with the ball either. They just had that bit of quality in one moment and we didn't, that was the difference.

"We are usually a lot better than that, there were moments in the final third when we wanted that quality in the delivery or the finish and it just wasn't there today."

ROVERS: Fisher, Magloire, Doyle, Grayson (sub Butterworth 59 mins), Platt, Wharton (c), Thomson (sub Pemberton 69 mins), Mols (sub Rittenberg 81 mins), Mansell, Hardcastle, Rankin-Costello.

Subs not used: C. Doyle, Powell (GK).

Goals: None.

Booked: Magloire.

SWANSEA: Zabret, Reid, Lewis, Blair, Davies (c), Rodon, James, Holland, Biabi, Maric, Samuel (sub Jones 64 mins).

Subs not used: Bray, Thomas (GK), Garrick, Plezier.

Goals: Biabi 27 mins

Booked: Blair.


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