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Report: Rovers U23s 2 Newcastle U23s 0

Rovers move to within a point of the Premier League 2 title after Mols and Nuttall goals seal another victory

9 April 2018

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Rovers moved to within a point of the Premier League 2 title after two second half goals sealed a comfortable win against Newcastle United at the Lancashire FA HQ.

The returning Stefan Mols got the first of the evening with a pinpoint header before Joe Nuttall added to Rovers and his own tally after bagging his 21st goal of the season in all competitions soon after.

Mols was back playing from the start for the first time in five months after the Spaniard suffered a fracture of his tibia earlier in the season.

As well as the victory, the clean sheet was Rovers fourth consecutive one ahead of next week's game against Aston Villa at Ewood Park.

Spanish midfielder Mols came in for John Buckley in one of two changes from the last outing at Wolves, with the other seeing Andy Fisher start in goal in place of Oliver Byrne.

Rovers nearly got an early opening seven minutes into the contest when Joe Nuttall latched onto a well worked Lewis Hardcastle corner before cracking the post and then seeing his follow up attempt deflect over.

From that resulting corner, Nuttall was again involved but could only clance Joe Grayson's kick wide of the target.

Rovers were dominant in the early stages and skipper Lewis Hardcastle nearly caugh visiting goalkeeper Nathan Harker out from range but the Newcastle custodian was there just in time to deny the Rovers man 13 minutes in.

Midway through the half and Hardcastle again went close but this time curled narrowly over the upright as the hosts continued to press for an opener.

A few moments later and another Rovers attack led to Hardcastle finding Nuttall and the striker's first time effort had to be pushed away by Harker.

Rovers were bossing the game, but the sides went in all square, with the hosts having nothing to show for their efforts against a Newcastle side who failed to threaten Fisher's goal.

Just three minutes into the second half and the visitors had a glorious chance to take the lead after Daniel Barlaser robbed Lewis Travis, slalomed past a couple of challenges but saw Fisher out smartly to smother his attempt at prodding home.

Just just a minute later Rovers took the lead and it came via the head of the returning Mols, who leapt well at the back post and nodded Jack Evans' left wing cross back across goal, past Harker and into the bottom corner of the net.

A quick-fire double change for the Magpies followed just before the hour, with the visitors playing all their cards in the hope of getting back into the game.

Hardcastle had two chances to add to the scoreline in a matter of minutes just after the hour but both times the captain fired just over the bar.

The lead was doubled with 15 minutes to go and it was Nuttall, who bagged his 21st of a very profitable season and 13th in Premier League 2 as he touched home a low Travis cross from close range.

The second goal made it a comfortable ending to proceedings at Leyland and Rovers can now seal the title with just a point against visitors Villa at Ewood Park.

Rovers U23s: Fisher, Platt, Evans, Tomlinson, Magloire, Grayson, Travis, Hardcastle (c), Nuttall, Simmonds, Mols (Buckley, 79).

Unused substitutes: Albinson, Barnes, Vale, Wilson.

Goals: Mols, 51, Nuttall, 76

Booked: Mols, 53, Tomlinson, 60, Hardcastle, 73

Newcastle U23s: Harker, Williams, Wilson, Hunter, Yarney, Bailer (c), El-Mhanni, Barlaser, Charman (Bartlett, 56), Sangare (Ward, 33), Roberts (Fernandez, 56).

Unused substitutes: Spooner, Langley.

Booked: Charman, 25

Attendance: 230 


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