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Development Squad

Report: Rovers U23s 1-0 Accrington Stanley

Stefan Mols scores the only goal of the game as Rovers U23s return to action with a win

26 August 2020

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Stefan Mols’ early goal proved the difference, as Rovers Under-23s kicked off their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 victory over Accrington Stanley at Brockhall.

The development squad skipper slotted home from close range inside 15 minutes, as Billy Barr’s side marked their first outing in over five months with a win.

Charlie Mulgrew provided some experience to an otherwise young Rovers side, who are gearing up for a third successive season of top-flight football in Premier League 2.

There were a couple of familiar faces in the Stanley squad, as former Rovers keeper Jayson Leutwiler played the first 45 minutes between the sticks, whilst Willem Tomlinson came on just before the break.

And it was the visitors who came close to opening the scoring 10 minutes in, but a well struck free-kick deflected inches wide off the Rovers wall and the hosts took advantage from their next attack.

Sam Burns picked up possession on the left flank, before bursting into the box and his cross-shot across the face of goal was tapped home by the unmarked Mols, who had gambled at the back post.

A long-range Ben Paton drive and a Mulgrew header were both comfortably saved by Leutwiler, as Rovers went in 1-0 up at the break.

Chances were few and far between after the interval also, with Rovers bringing on six subs on the hour mark, including John Buckley, Jacob Davenport and Tyrhys Dolan, who had all featured for the first team at Blackpool the night before, as they looked for some added spark.

And, after Tomlinson saw a 20-yard shot saved by Joe Hilton, Rovers looked to be denied a stonewall penalty when Isaac Whitehall was upended inside the box, but the referee remained unmoved.

Sam Barnes then saw a long-range effort parried to safety by the Stanley stopper, before Rovers withstood a couple of nervy moments late on, as Davenport made an important block, before the resultant corner was headed just wide.

Overall, the win and clean sheet was nothing more than Rovers deserved, with 18 players getting valuable match minutes into their legs.

ROVERS: Hilton, Pike (Carter 30), Magloire (Barnes 25), Mulgrew (Magloire 46), Thompson (Pike 60), Annesley (Whitehall 60), Whitehall (Saadi 30), Lyons (Davenport 60), Paton (Buckley 60), Mols (Brennan 60), Burns (Dolan 60).
Subs not used: Dowling.

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