Harry Chapman bagged a quickfire brace as Rovers Under-23s beat Kendal Town 4-0 in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday night.
Four goals in a deadly eight-minute spell in the first half did the damage, with Jack Vale and Joe Nuttall also on the scoresheet for the visitors.
Nuttall headed over a Lewis Thompson cross early on, but it wasn’t until the 19-minute mark that Rovers threatened again and, ultimately, opened the scoring.
Brad Lyons played a ball over the top to Nuttall, whose attempted lob was clawed away to safety by the Kendal keeper. However, as Thompson put the ball back into the box, Vale was on hand to tap home at the far post.
A minute later and Rovers doubled their lead. Again, Nuttall got in behind the Kendal backline and from his cut-back, Chapman hit a superb first-time strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
The same duo combined five minutes later, as Nuttall outmuscled his marker down the left, before he centred for Chapman to stroke home his second.
In a devastating spell of attacking football, Rovers added a fourth just two minutes later, as Chapman turned provider, crossing for Nuttall, who brought the ball down, before coolly sliding it under the keeper.
Chapman was inches away from completing his hat-trick on 33 minutes, as he cut in from the right and unleashed a fierce left-foot drive, but the Kendal keeper made a superb save to tip the ball onto the bar.
In a rare foray forward, Kendal came close to pulling a goal back on 42 minutes, but a crisp strike from 25 yards out just cleared the crossbar.
In the sweltering heat, chances were less frequent after the interval, as Rovers controlled the contest and give valuable minutes to youngsters Dan Pike, Zak Gilsenan and Sam Burns.
On 57 minutes, Stefan Mols played a through ball to Vale, who blazed over the bar when one-on-one with the keeper.
Rovers came close to adding a fifth on 69 minutes when Vale cut the ball back to Tom White, whose shot hit the post and Thompson’s follow-up was well saved.
The substitute stopper pulled off an even better save on 78 minutes, showing agility and a strong left hand to deny Nuttall, who then had the game’s final chance in the 89th minute, but after bursting through on goal, he lifted his shot over the bar with just the keeper to beat.
After the game, Head of Academy Coaching, Tony Carss, said: “It was a difficult pitch and warm conditions, but our focus was the mentality of the players – to do the work, to be bright and to implement the principles of play that the manager and the first team staff have been working on.
“We had a lot of the ball, so it was a good opportunity for us to work on that and in the first half we did it really, really well. Our shape was good, our patterns were good and we were effective – we created a lot of chances and scored some good goals.
“The second half was similar, although we were a little bit sloppier and to be fair to Kendal, they sat in a little bit more and made it more difficult. They plugged the gaps that we were finding in the first half, but overall it was another good workout, more minutes in the legs and you can start to see the players’ understanding of some of the key principles that the manager wants, in terms of shape and tactics, which was good.”
ROVERS: Fisher, Jackson (Pike 60), Platt, Annesley, Thompson, White, Lyons (Gilsenan 71), Chapman (Burns 79), Mols, Vale, Nuttall.
Subs not used: Eastham, Boyomo.