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Development Squad

Rovers U23s 3 Cardiff City U23s 3

Nuttall scores twice and misses a pen as Rovers share six goals with Cardiff

9 October 2017

Joe Nuttall CameraSport

Joe Nuttall scored twice and missed a penalty, as Rovers and Cardiff City played out an entertaining 3-3 draw in their opening Premier League Cup group game.

Rovers led on three separate occasions and had countless opportunities to make the points safe, but a hat-trick from Cardiff's Callum Paterson - including a stoppage-time equaliser - ensured it was honurs even at Leyland.

Nuttall opened the scoring with his 10th goal of the campaign inside the opening minute, before Paterson headed home the equaliser against the run of play.

Daniel Butterworth restored Rovers' lead with a superb individual effort three minutes after the break, before Paterson again fired the visitors level soon after.

Nuttall, who also missed three good chances in the first half, had an even better opportunity on 71 minutes, but he saw his penalty superbly saved by Cardiff keeper Lee Camp.

The 20-year-old hot-shot thought he had won it for Rovers three minutes from time when he side-footed home his second of the game, but Paterson popped up in the 91st minute to head home his hat-trick and secure a share of the spoils.

Ahead of the game, Damien Johnson welcomed back captain Lewis Hardcastle from suspension, as well as Willem Tomlinson and Jack Doyle from injury, whilst Butterworth was handed his first start of the season.

And the 18-year-old, who signed his first professional contract with the club on Thursday, was immediately involved as Rovers made a blistering start and opened the scoring with less than 45 seconds on the clock.

Butterworth's shot from the edge of the area was parried by the experienced Camp and Nuttall was on hand to tap home his 10th goal of the campaign in all competitions.

Moments later, Butterworth saw another shot deflect behind off a defender and from the resulting corner, Matty Platt headed just over the bar.

Rovers ought to have doubled their lead on six minutes. Breaking quickly, three-on-one, Stefan Mols played in Butterworth to his left, he could have centred for the unmarked Nuttall, but he opted to go for goal himself and Camp made a comfortable save.

The hosts' good work was undone just past the quarter-hour mark, as Cardiff equalised against the run of play with their first meaningful attack.

Following a foul to the right side of the area, the free-kick was delivered to the back post, where Paterson rose highest to head home.

The visitors came close to going in front on the half-hour mark when Ogo Obi danced past a couple of Rovers players in the box, before looking to pick out the bottom corner, but Andy Fisher made a superb save low to his left.

Five minutes later and Rovers ought to have regained the lead after some stunning one-touch football.

Mols played the ball into the feet of Joe Rankin-Costello, whose first-time lay-off sent Nuttall clean through on goal, but he dragged his shot just wide of the target.

On 38 minutes, Rankin-Costello's crisp cross-shot from an acute angle was parried behind by Camp and from the subsequent Hardcastle corners, Nuttall and Charley Doyle were both denied.

Rovers carved open another excellent opportunity three minutes before the break. Lewis Travis' ball forward was touched around the corner by Butterworth to Nuttall, who again had a clear sight of goal, but this time his shot was well saved by Camp.

Cardiff failed to clear their lines from the resulting corner, which eventually fell for Nuttall, who smashed a left-foot shot inches wide of the far post.

Just like they did in the first half, Rovers grabbed another goal right at the start of the second.

Butterworth picked up possession close to the halfway line, before racing all the way into the area and stabbing a shot just inside the far corner.

Rovers' lead didn't last long however, as Cardiff equalised on 56 minutes. Cameron Coxe floated over an inviting cross to the back post, where Paterson connected at full stretch to score his second of the game.

The visitors threatened again just past the hour mark, as Jack Calver was played in on goal, but Fisher made another smart save with his legs.

On 71 minutes, Rovers were gifted a golden opportunity to regain the lead when Mols was brought down by Rhys Abbruzzese in the box, but Nuttall's spot-kick was tipped onto the post by Camp and he was unable to convert the rebound.

As both sides pressed for a winner, Rovers thought they had got it three minutes from time. After a well-worked move down the right, Travis cut the ball back to the unmarked Nuttall, who stroked home his second of the game from 12 yards out.

The striker was denied his hat-trick on 89 minutes, as he cut in from the right, before seeing a shot from the edge of the area saved by Camp and Cardiff snatched an equaliser in the first minute of added time.

A long and hopeful ball into the Rovers box picked out Paterson and the towering full-back sent a looping header over Fisher and into the far top corner of the net.

It was a dramatic end to what had been an absorbing contest.

Rovers now have back-to-back PL2 fixtures on the road, before they return to Premier League Cup action next month with a game against Watford, who defeated Southampton 2-1 in their opening group game.

ROVERS: Fisher, Travis, C. Doyle, Platt, J. Doyle (Evans 57), Mols, Hardcastle, Tomlinson (Wright 66), Rankin-Costello, Butterworth (Mansell 75), Nuttall.
Subs not used: Dillon, Thomson.

Goals: Nuttall (1, 87), Butterworth (48)
Booked: Platt

CARDIFF CITY: Camp, Paterson, Abbruzzese, Veale, Duffus, Young, Coxe (Parish 65), Evans, Obi, Waite, Calver.
Subs not used: Byrne, Smith, Proctor.

Goals: Paterson (17, 56, 90+1)

Attendance: 238


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