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Development Squad

Rovers 2 Wigan Athletic 2

Damien Johnson's side win on penalties in Lancashire Senior Cup

4 September 2017

Joe Rankin-Costello scored twice as Rovers booked their place in second round of the Lancashire FA Senior Cup with a penalty shoot-out victory over a strong Wigan Athletic side.

The 18-year-old opened the scoring on 34 minutes, tapping in the rebound after Joe Nuttall's shot struck the post, and he doubled Rovers' advantage 12 minutes after the restart, heading home Lewis Travis' cross.

Wigan pulled a goal back on 74 minutes when Noel Hunt converted David Perkins' deep cross and the Republic of Ireland international sent the game to penalties with a 91st-minute equaliser.

Will Grigg and Ryan Colclough both missed their penalties for the visitors, before Travis scored the decisive spot-kick to send Rovers through to round two.

The victory maintained the development squad's outstanding start to the season, which has seen them win their opening three Premier League 2 games.

Rovers made three changes to the side that started the last PL2 outing at Southampton, as Jack Doyle and Stefan Mols returned to the team, whilst goalkeeper Charlie Albinson made his debut in Rovers colours.

The visitors named an experienced side, with virtually their entire starting line-up made up of first team players.

But it was the boys in blue-and-white who confidently stroked the ball about in the wet conditions early on and had the game's first chance on 10 minutes.

A poor clearance fell to the feet of Rankin-Costello, but he side-footed wide from 25 yards out with the goal gaping.

Wigan first threatened the Rovers goal on 20 minutes, from a free-kick on the edge of the area, but Gary Roberts' effort deflected off the top of the wall and went over.

Colclough then drove a cross-shot wide of the far post from the right side of the area, before Rovers enjoyed a good spell of possession around the half-hour mark, with Travis delivering some dangerous balls into the box, which came to nothing.

However, the breakthrough did arrive shortly after and again it came from a move down the Rovers right.

Mols did well to break free, before cutting the ball back for Nuttall in the centre. His improvised effort struck the base of the post and Rankin-Costello was on hand to tap home the rebound.

Rovers threatened again on 38 minutes, as Joe Grayson's free-kick from 30 yards out was spilled by Jordan Perrin, but no-one gambled on the follow-up.

The half ended with Rankin-Costello combining well with Nuttall, before firing a shot straight at Perrin from outside the area.

The visitors started the second half strongly, creating a decent opening on 51 minutes. Roberts cushioned the ball into the path of Hunt, who delivered a cross from the right for Colclough, who headed over the bar at the near post.

But Rovers grabbed the all-important second goal on 57 minutes. Mols fed Travis on the overlap and his pin-point cross was headed home by Rankin-Costello in the centre for his second of the night.

Wigan had a chance to pull one back on the hour mark, as Grigg capitalised on an error and found himself clean through on goal, but he ballooned his effort high over the bar.

Ten minutes later and Max Power unleashed a stunning strike from 30 yards out, which whistled just over the woodwork.

A goal was coming and it arrived on 74 minutes. Perkins delivered a cross to the back post and Hunt slid in to score on the volley.

Nuttall saw a shot deflect behind for a corner, before Wigan had a chance to equalise on 81 minutes.

Colclough got the better of Travis down the left, his cross was just too high for Grigg and Roberts side-footed wide on the volley.

As the clocked ticked towards the 90-minute mark, Wigan started to pile on the pressure, with Grigg firing a shot on the turn inches past the far post.

On 89 minutes, Willem Tomlinson looked to make the result safe, as he tried his luck from 25 yards out, but his low shot fizzed just the wrong side of the post.

Four minutes of added time went up on the clock and at the end of the first minute the visitors grabbed the equaliser.

Wigan worked the ball into space on the right and Hunt drilled a low shot across Albinson and into the far bottom corner.

Joe Grayson almost won it for Rovers in the 96th-minute, but his swerving shot from fully 30 yards out was somehow kept out by the Wigan keeper.

Straight to penalties it went, with the new 'ABBA' system in operation.

Power scored first for Wigan, before Nuttall levelled things up for Rovers.

Rankin-Costello then saw his spot-kick saved, before Wigan missed their next two.

Grayson powered home his penalty, before Hunt and Roberts levelled things up at 3-3.

But Travis kept his cool to send Rovers through to round two.

ROVERS: Albinson, Travis, C. Doyle, Platt, Grayson, J. Doyle, Hardcastle, Tomlinson, Mols (Boyle 70), Rankin-Costello, Nuttall.
Subs not used: Dillon, Wright, Thomson, Mansell.

Goals: Rankin-Costello (34, 57)
Booked: Platt

WIGAN ATHLETIC: Perrin, Thomas, Elder (Gregory 31), Bruce (Plant 66), Dunkley, Power, Colclough, Perkins, Grigg, Roberts, Hunt.
Subs not used: McGaughey, Barrigan, Burgess.

Goals: Hunt (74, 90+1)

Attendance: 227


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