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PL2 Report: Rovers 2 West Brom 2

Frustration for Rovers, but they extend their unbeaten run to nine games

27 November 2017

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Rovers Under-23s twice came from behind to secure a share of the PL2 spoils against West Brom and extend their unbeaten run to nine games.

The Baggies opened the scoring against the run of play on 37 minutes when Nick Clayton-Phillips fired home with the visitors' only effort at goal in the first half.

Rovers equalised soon after the restart when Kyle Howkins put Willem Tomlinson's cross through his own net, before the Baggies regained the lead when Zac Brown fired home from the edge of the area.

Lewis Hardcastle equalised from the penalty spot 10 minutes from time, after Tomlinson's header hit a hand in the box, and despite peppering the West Brom goal in added time, Rovers just couldn't find the winner which would have seen them move to the top of the Division 2 table.

Ahead of trhe game, Damien Johnson named two changes to the side who beat Aston Villa 3-0 last time out, with Sam Hart and Dan Butterworth coming in for Jack Evans and the injured Joe Rankin-Costello.

The game took time to get going, but Lewis Mansell should have done better at the near post when he side-footed wide from close range after an excellent Lewis Travis cross from the right 15 minutes into the clash.

Butterworth was next to try his luck five minutes later, but saw stopper Alex Palmer equal to his 20-yard strike.

Rovers were starting to show their class going forward and Tomlinson blasted over the bar midway through the half.

The midfielder went closer still just before the half-hour mark, drilling a swerving effort inches past the post.

However, against the run of play, the visitors took the lead when substitute Clayton-Phillips fired past Rovers goalkeeper Andy Fisher and into the bottom left-hand corner.

Rovers looked for a quick response, with Callum Wright forcing Palmer into a smart stop with a shot from range.

The hosts came flying out of the traps after the break and in the opening seconds of the second half, Hardcastle played in Wright, who saw Palmer in his way once again.

However, soon after, Rovers got the goal their display deserved when Howkins turned a dangerous Tomlinson cross into his own net.

The visitors went close on the hour mark when Tahvon Campbell turned well, but saw his curling effort go agonisingly past the post.

But just a minute later, the Baggies did regain the lead. After Scott Wharton could only half-clear a ball, Brown drove home via a deflection from the edge of the box.

However, Rovers refused to lie down and they were awarded a penalty 10 minutes from time when Tomlinson saw his header hit a hand.

Having seen three of his team-mates miss from the same spot already this season, Hardcastle took the honours and he duly sent Palmer the wrong way to level things up.

Rovers applied plenty of pressure on the West Brom goal in the closing stages, as Wright saw a shot go just wide, Butterworth was denied by Palmer's legs when one-on-one and Tomlinson struck the base of the post with the last kick of the game, as the hosts just couldn't find the late winner required to move to the summit of the table.

ROVERSFisher, C. Doyle (Thomson 73), Hart, Tomlinson, Platt, Wharton (c), Travis, Hardcastle, Mansell, Butterworth, Wright.
Subs not used: Dillon, Grayson, Paton, Vale.

Goals: Howkins OG (48), Hardcastle (80 pen)

WEST BROM: Palmer, Howkins, Melbourne, Brown, Hunt, Jameson (c), Ferguson, Azaz (Soleman 82), Campbell, Morton, Tulloch (Clayton-Phillips 27).
Subs not used: House, Wilding, Pierce.

Goals: Clayton-Phillips (37), Brown (62)

Attendance: 221

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