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Rovers u18s 2 Man City u18s 3

8 May 2017

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Ben Paton
Ben Paton

Rovers Under-18s pushed title-chasing Manchester City all the way but it wasn't enough as they slipped to a narrow 3-2 loss at Brockhall.

Two goals in the last five minutes saw the visitors come from 2-1 down to clinch the points despite a spirited display from Billy Barr's side.

City opened the scoring after just 12 minutes through Taylor Richards, but Rovers quickly levelled thanks to Stefan Mols.

Ben Paton then gave the home side the lead in the second half, but late goals from Tom Dele-Bashiru and another from Richards saw them claim the victory.

It was an open start to the match at Brockhall with both sides on the front foot.

But it was high-flying City who grabbed the opener when Richards swept home from the edge of the box after collecting a cross from the left.

However the Rovers response was quick and impressive, equalising just six minutes later.

Good work by Brad Lynch saw him beat his marker one-on-one and he squared the ball for Mols to score his second goal in a week from close-range.

The game continued to be an end-to-end affair with Rovers' goalkeeper Matty Campbell making a couple of key saves, yet on 66 minutes he'd play a part in Rovers taking the lead.

It was from his goalkick that the ball was flicked on from halfway by Andy Jackson. He found Callum Wright who hit a glorious pass forward, and Paton arrived to finish well into the bottom corner.

But Rovers didn't build on their position, allowing City gain the upper hand as the home side retreated further towards their own goal.

And it would prove costly as the visitors built up a head of steam in the closing stages.

Substitute Dele-Bashiru equalised on 85, before a second from Richards a minute from time saw the Citizens grab the victory.

"Man City have players who can hurt you, and the way they celebrated the winning goal came as a bit of a shock," said U18s coach Billy Barr.

"It told you they'd been in a really good game. Jason Wilcox had kind words for our team afterwards.

"If we are being really critical at times we didn't take care of the ball enough, we know we can be better than that.

"We found ourselves 2-1 up but just defended deeply and lost our away a little bit."

ROVERS: Campbell, Jackson, Thompson, Evans, C. Doyle, Blackburn, Wright, Buckley, Lynch (sub Khoury 76 mins), Mols (sub Wilson 49 mins), Paton.

Subs not used: Winterbottom, Chan.

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