Damien Johnson felt that there were plenty of positives to take, but also lessons to be learned from Rovers’ opening Premier League 2 fixture away to Derby County.
Rovers raced into an early 2-0 lead at Pride Park, thanks to goals from Stefan Mols and Hayden Carter, before Derby hit back through Cameron Cresswell and Alex Babos.
A couple of contentious decisions from the officials saw Charley Doyle have a goal ruled out for offside, before he was shown a straight red card, as Rovers were forced to play the final 30 minutes with 10 men.
But Johnson’s young side showed tremendous character to keep the Rams and, in particular, experienced Scotland striker Chris Martin at bay, as they kicked off life in the top tier with a decent away point.
“You go through a lot of emotions in a game like that!” said Johnson after the game. “We started the game really well, got the goals and I thought we looked comfortable.
“We moved the ball about well and when we did, we caused them problems. I thought we were good value for the two-goal lead and we arguably could have had three.
“I never really felt like they were causing us too many issues and then just a miscommunication between Andy (Fisher) and the back four gifts them a cheap goal, and that’s part of their learning and their development.
“That goal gave them the impetus to get back into the game. We have to try and start the second half a little bit better, and it was disappointing to lose second phase from a set-piece, which again is something we will have to learn from.
“The sending off completely changes the complexion and I’d need to see our disallowed goal again, because it looked very, very tight to me.
“I said to the lads that when you come away to these big grounds, even though there’s no crowd, you don’t always get the decisions, and they thought a couple went against them, but that’s just part of their learning.
“Once we went down to 10 men, it’s about how you react. We had to change shape and we lost Tyler (Magloire) to injury, so a couple of things went against us, but we showed great character and resilience and a different side to our game following lots of positives in the first half.
“Overall, to keep them out for 30 minutes with 10 men, then you’ve got to be satisfied, so we’ll take it and learn from it.”
Rovers Under-23s are next in action on Monday August 20th, when they welcome Chelsea to the LFA County Ground in Leyland for their first home game.