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Match Reports

Report: Rovers U18s 2-2 West Bromwich Albion U18s

Goals from Chanka Zimba and Jared Harlock aren't enough for Rovers, who pick up a point against The Baggies

21 October 2019

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Only a 90th minute equaliser stopped Rovers from taking all three points on home turf after an entertaining 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion.

Alex Gilbert's finish robbed Rovers of the points after Chanka Zimba and Jared Harlock had put Rovers in command in what was a good performance from Mike Sheron's charges.

Sheron's men were dealt an early blow when James Connolly had to be taken off with a knee injury inside the opening 20 seconds, with a stretcher needed to assist the midfield playmaker.

But things got better for Rovers, with Chanka Zimba giving the hosts an early advantage.

Zimba got himself into a good position to find the net after Lenni Cirino put a ball across. It took a couple of deflections, but came to Zimba in the middle of the goal and he finished it in good fashion.

Jovan Malcolm equalised later on after smashing home after Gilbert's pass found the forward, before Rovers retook the lead with a terrific finish from Jared Harlock.

The midfielder cut in from the left and he curled it into the top corner with his right foot just after the hour mark.

Rovers restricted The Baggies to half chances from here on in, but there was to be one last opportunity, and it was taken by the visitors.

Toby King's strike was parried into the path of Gilbert, with the Albion forward able to pounce and level the scores right at the death.

After the game, Sheron was pleased with some aspects of his team's performance, and want the encounter to prove to be a learning curve for his young side.

“In our starting XI, we had six second years, who have been playing of late, who weren’t in the team for one reason or another and by the end of the game, we’d had two players stretchered off," he reflected after the game.

“So it was a good opportunity for others to step in and to be fair to them, I think they did. They showed desire, commitment and energy.

“It would have been nice to come out with a win at the end of it, because you always feel more confident and better about yourselves on the back of a positives result, but it wasn’t to be.

“There’s learnings to require from those situations, but I was pleased with them in general. It’s onwards and upwards, it’s opportunities for others, it’s increased competition for places, which is all positive from an Academy perspective.

“It would just be nice to get a few more wins.”

Rovers Under-18s: Dowling, Pike, Cirino, Garrett, Connolly (Wyatt, 5), Boyomo, Durrant (Lonsdale, 75), Saadi, Zimba, Gilsenan (Pleavin, 68), Harlock.

Unused substitutes: Burns.

West Bromwich Albion Under-18s: Cann; R Williams (Iroegbunam 96), H Williams, Hill, Delaney (Windsor 86); Fellows, Smith (Andrews 69), King, Wakeling; Gilbert, Malcolm.

Unused substitutes: Emery, C Taylor.

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