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Development Squad

Billy’s bittersweet success

U23s head coach has mixed emotions as Rovers book their place in the last four of county cup

29 October 2019

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Billy Barr was disappointed with his side’s second-half showing, as Rovers Under-23s booked their place in the semi-finals of the Lancashire FA Senior Cup.

A strong Rovers side, which included the likes of Danny Graham and Richie Smallwood, led 4-0 at the break thanks to well-worked goals from Joe Rankin-Costello, Jacob Davenport, Harry Chapman and John Buckley.

However, a sloppy second-half display saw the visitors score three times without reply – through Rhys Hughes (2) and Kieran Phillips – to ensure a nervy final few moments.

But Rovers saw the game out in the Brockhall sunshine to secure their place in the last four of the county competition which they won for the first time since 2011 last season.

After the game, head coach Barr gave a very honest assessment, saying: “I didn’t think we started well, but then the first goal probably helped us and then we obviously scored four before half-time.

“Second half, I don’t know what happened. We’re looking at players taking ownership and I don’t think there was any of that. There was people taking liberties and that manifests into everybody not being what they should be.

“As a group, not good enough. I’m more bothered about what the manager will be thinking, because ultimately that’s why they’re playing today – the manager and all the staff are down to watch the game and we want them to go away thinking ‘we’ve got to be considering him and him’ and only for a small period of the game would they have done that.

“The lads have to be going away now thinking ‘that isn’t good enough from me … what do I need to do to get in the first team’. I’d probably say our most consistent performer through the game was Sam Barnes, who dealt with things really well.

“Overall, it sours what should have been and could have been a good chance for the lads to be in the manager’s thoughts.”

Rovers Under-23s are back in action this Saturday when they take on Chelsea in Premier League 2.

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