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Development Squad

AFC Darwen 0 Rovers u23s 5

Darwen no match for development squad

11 July 2017

Rovers' Under-23s kicked off their pre-season with a comfortable 5-0 victory over AFC Darwen on Tuesday night.

Trialist Joe Nuttall bagged a hat-trick, whilst Academy youngsters Ben Paton and Brad Lynch also got on the scoresheet at the Anchor Ground.

However the match ended on a sour note as Andy Jackson had to be helped off the pitch with what looked to be a serious injury for the young defender.

For the first match of the summer coach Damien Johnson took the opportunity to run the rule over a host of trialists with four in the starting eleven, and it took just five minutes for one of them to make his mark.

With their first meaningful foray forward in the match a fine through ball from Jack Evans picked out Nuttall and the striker ran in to cooly find the corner of the net.

Callum Wright fired over soon after for the Blues before Alex Ralph replied for the hosts, but it was straight into the arms of Charlie Albinson in the Rovers goal.

Another chance was spurned for Darwen before Rovers doubled their advantage on 24 minutes. As Rovers attacked down the left, the ball was slipped through to Nuttall once more and he made no mistake from close range.

Early in the second half the former Manchester City youngster grabbed his third of the night, but he had Connor Thomson to thank for the goal.

The Rovers wide-man ran from inside his own half, brushing off the attentions of the Darwen defence, before reaching the box and laying it on a plate for Nuttall to tuck home.

He almost had a fourth soon after from a Joe Rankin-Costello free-kick, but his effort was blocked in the six-yard box.

Darwen rarely threatened but the match was put firmly beyond them with two further goals in quick succession.

Excellent play from Paton saw the Academy midfielder win the ball back in the centre of the park, Thomson controlled well before returning it to the Canadian, who advanced before lifting it over the onrushing keeper and into the net.

Almost straight from the restart a fifth was added. Again fine wing play made the goal, this time from trialist Joe Wood as he raced past the home defence to tee up Lynch to lash into the corner.

But the night ended on a sour note due to a serious looking injury to defender Andy Jackson. The full back came off worse in a challenge and after length treatment had to be helped from the pitch.

Rovers almost ended the evening with a sixth goal in stoppage time, but Thomson was inches past the angle with an effort from the corner of the box.

The development squad are next in action on Wednesday 19th July when they travel to face Ramsbottom United.

ROVERS 0-30 MINS: Albinson, Jackson, Magloire (c), C. Doyle, Thompson, Rankin-Costello, Evans, Wood, Wright, Burns, Nuttall.

ROVERS 31-60 MINS: Albinson (sub Dillon 46 mins), Travis, Magloire (c), Platt, Thompson, C. Doyle, Paton, Thomson, Rankin-Costello, Lynch, Nuttall.

ROVERS 61-90 MINS: Dillon, Jackson (sub C. Doyle 78 mins), Travis, Platt (c), Evans, Paton, Wright, Thomson, Lynch, Burns, Wood.


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