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Match Reports

Report: Rovers U23s 1 West Ham United U23s 3

Disappointment at Ewood Park for young Rovers against the Hammers

26 November 2018

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Rovers suffered defeat on their return to action in Premier League 2 as West Ham United's Under-23s ran out comfortable winners at Ewood Park.

Three goals put the Hammers in command before Joe Nuttall pulled a goal back from the spot with 20 minutes remaining to give the hosts hope of a comeback that ultimately never came.

In truth, it was a disappointing display from the youngsters, who struggled for tempo throughout the encounter against a Hammers side that included the highly-rated Reece Oxford in their line-up.

Damien Johnson made four changes to the starting XI from the one that began against Everton in the Premier League Cup last time out, with Jack Evans, Willem Tomlinson, Jack Vale and Okera Simmonds dropping out.

The latter was available on the bench, but the former trio were all left out of the squad, with Evans suffering a foot injury in training, which is likely to put him out for a few weeks.

That meant opportunity knocked for Lewis Thompson, who came into left back following his recall from FC United of Manchester, where he had been on loan. 

Tyler Magloire was back in the side, whilst Hayden Carter and Lewis Travis were given opportunities to impress from the start at Ewood Park.

But the returning Magloire was in trouble just three minutes into the encounter, and that led to the Hammers nabbing an early opener.

Skipper Moses Makasi nicked the ball off the captain's toes and squared the ball to Nathan Holland, who was tasked with a simple tap in into the net.

Rovers responded well and just a moment later Thompson cracked the crossbar with a powerful strike after venturing forward from left back.

Nathan Holland turned provider just after the half hour mark as fine wing play from the flanker saw his low ball smashed into the net by striker Xande Silva to make it 2-0 to the Londoners.

Rovers went in search of a goal of their own, and when Nuttall went through on goal, Josh Pask produced an excellent block to stop the forward from reducing the arrears.

Rovers had work to do in the second half, and that task got even tougher once Silva completed his brace as he raced clear to beat Fisher, who got a touch on the strike but couldn't keep it out.

Fisher produced an excellent save to tip behind a curling strike from Makasi after substitute Okera Simmonds lost the ball as Terry Westley's side went in search of more goals.

But Rovers got a lifeline soon after, as Stefan Mols produced an instant impact when he was taken down just seconds after coming on as a substitute. Up stepped Nuttall to slot past goalkeeper Nathan Trott.

That gave Rovers hope of a comeback with 20 minutes remaining and Thompson again tried his luck from range but saw his effort whistle wide.

At the other end, substitute Jahmal Hector-Ingram smashed a strike against the bar and away as the visitors looked to completely kill off Rovers hopes.

But in the end it didn't mater as Johnson's charges suffered defeat at Rovers' home.

Rovers: Fisher, C. Doyle, Thompson (Paton, 78), Buckley, Magloire (c) (Simmonds, 57), Grayson, Carter (Mols, 67), Travis, Nuttall, Butterworth, Lyons. 

Unused  substitutes: Byrne, Candlin.
 
Goal: Nuttall, 69.
 
Booked: Butterworth, 31.
 
West  Ham  United: Trott, Johnson, Neufville (Akinola, 76), Coventry, Park, Oxford, Kemp, Makasi (c), Silva (Hector-Ingram, 50), Powell (Rosa, 89), Holland.
 
Unused  substitutes: Akinola, Anang, Barrett.
 
Goals: Holland, 4, Silva, 33, 50.
 
Booked: Pask, 45.

Referee: Jack Morgan.
 
Attendance: 299.

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