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Match Reports

Report: Rovers U18s 2 Newcastle U18s 4

Young side suffer defeat, despite Vale and Connell strikes

25 February 2018

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Goals from Jack Vale and Kyle Connell weren't enough as a youthful Under-18s side suffered a defeat to Newcastle United Under-18s at Brockhall.

With the FA Youth Cup clash against Blackpool on the horizon, coach Billy Barr opted to hand chances to a handful of under-16s players, with the likes of Luke Brennan and James Connolly both starting against the Magpies.

It was a display which wasn't bad at all against a more experienced Toon outfit on the day, and Barr took plenty of positives from the performance. 

Vale, who hit a hat-trick in the last round of the FA Youth Cup against Nottingham Forest, continued his fine run of form, with the clash against Blackpool just around the corner, scoring after only 10 minutes played.

Fellow attacker Kyle Connell added to Rovers' tally on the hour mark, but it was a difficult ask against the visitors, who bagged four goals themselves on the day.

And whilst that may point the finger at the defence, coach Barr feels his side's issues lay at the other end of the pitch.

“The problems that we still have are at the top of the pitch, working together, linking together," Billy said after the game. "The ball kept coming back into our half. It was an under-16s backline and they coped okay in the first half.
“As the game went on, it became apparent that we would end up conceding. But we’re happy with the group. It’s the full timers who we’re talking to more than the under-16s because it isn’t their job yet."
And there were parts of the game that Barr was happy with, despite the side's fifth consecutive league defeat.

“We can take huge positives, despite the defeat," he added.

"We had a very, very young team, six under-16s and one more came on. We also had an under-15, who is still only 14, playing. 

“We knew it would be a hard day but we did well in certain points. I think the tempo against an older, more experienced team probably caught us out in the end."
Rovers Under-18s: Winterbottom, Zimba, Brennan, Connolly, Whitehall, Boyomo, Pike (Garrett, 70), Chan, Connell, Vale (Burns, 60), Dolan.
Unused substitute: Harlock.

Rovers are next in action on Saturday 17th March, when they tackle Manchester United, kick-off 11am at the Trafford Training Centre at Carrington.

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