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Development Squad

Report: Rovers U23s 2 Brighton & Hove Albion U23s 2

Rovers come back to earn a point against the high-flying Seagulls

11 March 2019

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Rovers produced a battling performance to come back from two goals down and earn a point against high-flying Brighton & Hove Albion at Leyland.

A second half own goal prior to a thumping Harry Chapman effort saw Rovers recover after half time, with Brighton leading thanks to a brace from captain Max Sanders.

It was an entertaining affair in tough conditions at the Lancashire FA HQ, and Rovers will count themselves a little unfortunate to have not taken all three points from the clash against the Seagulls.

Rovers began the game well, and just seconds into the contest Dan Butterworth went close to scoring an early opener.

The attacker danced past a couple of challenges before prodding towards goal, but the teenager prodded a yard past Robert Sanchez's left-hand post after only 20 seconds.

Minutes later and Stefan Mols tested Sanchez with a low effort after working a yard.

At the other end, Viktor Gyokeres fired over the upright from an acute angle in an entertaining opening 10 minutes at Leyland.

However, against the run of play the visitors from Sussex took the lead through captain Sanders.

A ball from the right from Gyokeres was met in the middle by Sanders, who headed past Charlie Albinson and in after only 14 minutes.

The hosts made it 2-0 midway through the half, with Sanders' finish cracking the post before finding the net to double the away side's tally.

Rovers almost earned an instant response, but after capitalising on hesitant Brighton defending, Joe Rankin-Costello could only poke wide from close range.

Rovers continued to probe with six minutes of the half remaining, with Sanchez saving excellently after Lewis Thompson's excellent cross was headed towards goal by Stefan Mols.

The hosts pulled a goal back just a minute after the restart through an own goal. 

An excellent cross from Joe Rankin-Costello was missed by Chapman, and Vale's volley was deflected in off Leo Ostigard to hand Rovers a real lifeline.

Sanchez almost caught out Albinson just before the hour, but the Spanish stopper's long kick was flicked just wide by the Rovers man.

Damien Johnson's side were the better team at this point, and were rewarded for their creativity by getting back on level terms with 18 minutes remaining.

A great run from Chapman saw the winger cut in before unleashing a powerful effort that flew into the bottom-left hand corner.

Three minutes later and Rovers almost grabbed a third. Butterworth was the architect, with his cross finding a stretching Vale, who could only hit wide from close range.

Both sides had to settle for a point in the end, which was perhaps fair on the balance of play, with the point edging Rovers closer to safety.

Rovers U23s: Albinson, Rankin-Costello, Thompson, Davenport, C. Doyle (c), Carter, Mols, Buckley, Vale, Butterworth, Chapman.

Unused substitutes: Eastham, Annesley, Whitehall, Saadi, Pike.

Goal: OG, 47, Chapman, 72

Booked: Buckley, 22, Davenport, 62

Brighton & Hove Albion U23s: Sanchez, A. Davies, Ostigard, O'Hora (Collar, 80), Cochrane, Sanders (c), Molumby (Longman, 86), Roberts, Ahannach, Gyokeres, Radulovic (J. Davies, 69).

Unused substitutes: Collings, Moore.

Booked: Molumby, 24, Cochrane, 88

Goal: Sanders, 14, 28

Referee: Garreth Rhodes.

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