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West Ham u18s 1 Rovers u18s 2

28 March 2017

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Rovers' Under-18s claimed their first three points of the end of season play-off stage with a 2-1 win over West Ham United on Saturday.

Brad Lynch put the Blues in front after just two minutes, but although Jahmal Hector-Ingram levelled for the hosts early in the second half, Callum Wright hit a superb goal to ensure victory.
Despite a difficult journey to Romford, Rovers were quick out of the blocks, taking the lead inside 90 seconds.
A blocked pass in the centre of midfield saw Wright lay a great ball through to Lynch, his first touch saw him get the better of his marker before the forward found the back of the net in fine style.
But Rovers couldn't build on their bright start. Wasteful in possession, they allowed the Hammers in thanks to a ball over the top, with Hector-Ingram felled in the box by Charley Doyle.
The West Ham forward stepped up to take the spot-kick, but keeper Ben Ascroft made a great save diving to his right.
At the other end the home side were indebted to a great save to deny Lewis Thompson. The wing-back raced into the box to collect a Lynch pass to let fly, but the Hammers keeper tipped the ball onto the crossbar and over.
We were sloppy in possession, but I'm pleased for the lads to get the win after the long journey the day before.
Billy Barr
Another chance came and went as the half drew to a close, Tre Pemberton with a left-footed shot that was saved.
Rovers started the second half well but it was the hosts who found the back of the net on 55 minutes when a through-ball from Conor Coventry picked out Hector-Ingram and the striker fired home.
With their tails up following the equaliser, West Ham threatened to take the lead. Only superb last ditch tackles from Doyle and Jack Buckley preventing them from getting in on goal.
But instead it was Billy Barr's youngsters who grabbed the decisive goal on 68 minutes.
As Doyle intercepted a pass on the edge of his own box, he spread play to Wright. The midfielder rode one challenge, and with the referee allowing play-on, he advanced to the edge of the opposition half before lashing home his third of the campaign in emphatic fashion.
In an open end to the match both sides could have added to the goal tally, but when the Hammers were reduced to ten men as Ben Johnson saw red for two bookable offenses, Rovers were able to see out the match to clinch the victory.
"It was a hard-fought win," said Barr. "Both sets of coaches would probably say it was far too open at times.
"We were sloppy in possession, but I'm pleased for the lads to get the win after the long journey the day before.
"We were also able to bring on two Under-16s, so that was pleasing, we hope to bring more through before now and the end of the season.
"We now go onto Reading this weekend (kick-off 2pm), knowing it will be another difficult match."
ROVERS: Ascroft, Jackson, Thompson, C. Doyle, Blackburn (sub Barnes 75 mins), Carter, Pemberton, Paton (sub Chan 74 mins), Lynch, Buckley, Wright. 
Subs not used: Campbell.

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