Lewis Mansell was the hero as Rovers Under-23s moved back to the top of Premier League 2 with a narrow win at Motspur Park against Fulham’s Under-23s.
Mansell struck midway through the first half, latching onto a poor back pass before slotting into the bottom left-hand corner.
And Rovers saw the game out to ensure the unbeaten run continued and they climb back to the summit of the division.
The return of Darragh Lenihan to action would have been a positive for first team boss Tony Mowbray, as well as Under-23s chief Damien Johnson.
Lenihan hadn’t played since the opening day defeat at Southend United back in August, but managed to get over an hour on the night, with the Irishman now fully recovered from a broken metatarsal.
It was the hosts who forced the first opportunity early doors, with Andy Fisher doing well to deny Michael Elstone from putting Peter Grant’s side in front.
Rob Atkinson put a header over the bar after getting on the end of a Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson corner before Rovers took the lead.
A backless from Tayo Edun didn’t reach Luca Ashby-Hammond, with Mansell nipping in to find the corner and make it two goals in his last two games, with the big striker also netting at home to Norwich just a week earlier.
Fulham responded well and Rovers will have been thankful to Fisher for keeping out Aron Davies at the near post.
At the other end, Davies was involved again; this time getting a crucial block in to stop Dan Butterworth from adding to Rovers’ tally just five minutes before the break.
After the break Rovers were better and Ashby-Hammond did excellently to deny Joe Rankin-Costello from making it 2-0 when he beat the attacker’s effort around the post, before denying Butterworth again soon after.
Rovers were holding firm, but with ten minutes to go luck was on their side, as Elstone somehow skewed a header just wide from close range.
But the score stayed as it was and Rovers held on for another priceless victory to leapfrog Aston Villa and move top.
Rovers are next in action at home to Reading at the Lancashire FA HQ in Leyland on Friday 9th February, kick-off 7pm.
Fulham U23s: Ashby-Hammond, Fossey, Davies, Jenz, Atkinson, Pearce (Spence, 62), Francois, Edun, Harris, Elstone, Thorsteinsson.
Unused substitutes: Schwarzer, Nabay, Andrason.
Rovers U23s: Fisher, Lenihan (Jones, 65), Magloire, Grayson, Evans, Hardcastle, C. Doyle, Buckley, Butterworth, Mansell, Rankin-Costello.
Unused substitutes: Albinson, Thompson, Barnes, Wilson.