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Development Squad

A great display on a difficult pitch, reflects Johnson

The chief was thrilled with the commitment from his side and goal hero Lewis Mansell

13 February 2018

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Rovers Development Squad chief Damien Johnson was left thrilled by the performance of his side on what he describes as a difficult pitch.

Damien's charges earned themselves a narrow 1-0 win at Wealdstone FC's ground against Watford Under-23s in the Premier League Cup.

And Johnson believes the victory was one his side deserved after a resolute performance in tricky conditions.

"We got the win and overall we deserved it. The pitch made it difficult to play the way we like to play but we had some good moments and looked more threatening than them," Johnson reflected.

"The longer it went on, I thought it wouldn't be our night. But in the end, Lewis Mansell came on, we changed shape and went with Mansell and Joe Nuttall up top.

"They were a handful for them, we got the goal and that was enough.

"Lewis has been unlucky not to start the last two games, but he's a terrific professional who just gets on with it. He never complains and responds in the right way, just the way you want them to.

"He got on, impacted the game, got a goal, so I'm very pleased for him."

And Damien also reserved special praise for goalkeeper Andy Fisher.

On his birthday, Fisher ensured there would be another shut out - the third consecutive clean sheet - and Johnson feels the youngster will only get better.

"It's our third clean sheet in a row - something the whole team take a lot of credit for.

"Fisher has not been over-worked in the last couple of games, but he still had to deal with some crosses and positional play. He is making good strides and needs to keep it up.

The win put Rovers top of the Premier League Cup group, but Johnson doesn't feel his side should rest on their laurels and insists there is still work to be done in order to reach the knockout stages.

"It's a cup competition and we want to progress and get out of the group," the Northern Irishman added.

"The games are coming thick and fast, players will be involved in the first team and the FA Youth Cup, so we could be stretched in terms of numbers for the Southampton game.

"We want to progress but we need some more results. I think we will need 11 points to be sure. We got the win tonight, which was important. We always had to win an away game and we might have to win another one."

Johnson's side are back in Premier League 2 action on Friday 16th February against Brighton & Hove Albion at the Lancashire FA HQ, kick-off 7pm.


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