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Development Squad

Damien's delight at dramatic win

Johnson's side now sit four points clear at the top of the Premier League 2 Division 2 table

21 March 2018

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Damien Johnson was thrilled to see his Rovers Under-23s secure a vital victory over Southampton on Tuesday night, courtesy of Jack Evans' last-minute strike.

The young Blues controlled the majority of the game in Leyland but left it late to claim the win and move four points clear with four games remaining.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Johnson was naturally delighted to see his players come through the test.  

“We're delighted with the result. We knew with the balance of the group and the attacking options we had that we lacked options," he said.

“It was always going to be a case of could we be clinical with the chances we created.

“Willem [Tomlinson's] chance, Jack’s chance, and the territory we had an opportunities from wide areas that we had, we thought it might not be our night.

“We had a number of opportunities to shoot from those kind of areas and we turned them down.

"You’re thinking ‘just have a go lads, if you don’t buy a ticket you won’t score a goal!’

“I felt overall we did deserve it. Southampton, credit to them.

“They lost their last game 4-0 and had a reaction, they made it difficult for us but we got there in the end."

Rovers looked to be heading for a share of the spoils when Joe Grayson missed an 84th-minute penalty, and Johnson was pleased by his side's never-say-die attitude.

“When we missed the penalty you’re thinking it could be [one of those nights] but credit to them.

“Their heads didn’t drop, they didn’t let it affect them, they stayed on the front foot, they kept persevering, showed resilience and we got there in the end. 

“It was almost like you’re posing the question who is going to unlock the door, who’s going to get the winner for us and be the hero?

“Jack is a terrific kid, great attitude, wherever you ask him to play or whatever you ask him to do he just gets his head down.

"He gets on with it and gives everything he’s got, and that’s every single day. He won the penalty, then he got the goal.

“In fairness Joe has been practicing and has looked very confident.

“Itchy [Lewis Hardcastle] was happy for Joe to take it, I think the goalkeeper sucked him in to mind-game and he fell for it, really.

“He left him one side of the goal open and Joe decided to go for the other side where he was.

“We can have a laugh and joke now, but I played and missed penalties, so I’m not going to stand here and criticising people.

“We’ll get back to the drawing board and all we can do is keep practicing."

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