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Development Squad

PL2 Report: Rovers 2 Brighton 0

30 January 2017

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Rovers' Under-23s leapfrogged Brighton in the Premier League 2 table after a 2-0 victory on Monday night.

It was a night to remember for 17-year-old striker Daniel Butterworth who created the first and scored a fine second at the Lancs FA.

There was little between the two sides until Rovers opened the scoring on 32 minutes. Butterworth with a pin-point cross that was finished at the back post by Lewis Mansell.

The game continued to be a close affair until a second goal arrived 15 minutes from time when Butterworth showed the Seagulls defence a clean pair of heels to cooly finish into the corner.

Rovers could have added to their tally in the closing stages as Matty Platt and Joe Rankin-Costello went close in what was a satisfying evening for Damien Johnson's side.

With both sides having first team matches this week it was two young teams that took to the field at Leyland with chances at a premium in the early exchanges.

The first opening of the match came on ten minutes when after Jack Doyle saw his initial free-kick blocked by the wall, Rankin-Costello crossed for Platt, but the Rovers captain, who scored two headed goals against Burnley last time out, couldn't keep his effort down.

The Seagulls countered with a pair of headed opportunities of their own, but neither James Tilley nor Henrik Bjordal troubled the Rovers goal.

But just past the half hour it was Rovers who grabbed the all-important opener with Butterworth playing a key role.

The young forward showed good awareness to drive passed his marker and into the area and as he delivered to the back post Mansell arrived to fire home.

But six minutes later Brighton very nearly got back on level terms when Andy Fisher in the Rovers goal was caught in possession by Tilley. The keeper's blushes spared by the referee's whistle after he deemed that the forward had committed a foul.

Like the first half, the second was light on goalmouth openings.

Seagulls defender George Cox showed a good turn of pace to cross from the left, but his centre was a yard ahead of the onrushing forward Harry Cardwell.

Rovers responded with well worked openings down the right, but as Connor Thomson and then Butterworth centred on each occasion the visitors were able to clear behind.

But with 15 minutes to go Rovers were able to celebrate the second goal that they had been threatening and what a goal it was.

Clever play with a one-two with Thomson and a quick turn of pace allowed Butterworth to race free of the Brighton back line and he fired confidently into the far corner of the goal for his 11th goal in all competitions this season.

Rovers pressed for more goals as Platt and Rankin-Costello went close in the closing stages, whilst at the back they defended stoutly to ensure a welcome clean sheet and a worthy three points.

"I thought overall it was a really good positive performance from the lads," assistant U23 coach David Dunn told Rovers PlayerHD.

"I thought we looked a threat all night and we played some really good stuff at times.

"We asked them to play differently with the formation, so in terms of their development it was good for them. So from that point of view it was really pleasing.

"We're delighted for Dan Butterworth, full credit to Billy Barr and Ian Jones for the work they have done at the Academy."

ROVERS: Fisher, Travis, Doyle, Tomlinson (sub Mols 71 mins), Magloire, Platt (c), Thomson, Hardcastle, Mansell, Butterworth, Rankin-Costello.

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

Goals: Mansell 32 mins, Butterworth 75 mins.

Booked: None.

BRIGHTON: Collings, Collar, Cox, Barclay (sub Forbes 46 mins), Dallison, White, Bjordal (sub Davies 64 mins), Hutchinson (c), Cardwell, Tilley, Starkey (sub Barnett 82 mins).

Subs not used: Vose (GK), Hall.

Goals: None

Booked: Cardwell 86 mins.

Attendance: 205

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