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Report: Rovers Under-23s 2-0 Derby County Under-23s

Second half strikes from Williams and Brereton ensure Rovers rise up the Premier League 2 Division 1 table

3 February 2020

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Two second half goals from Derrick Williams and Ben Brereton ensured Rovers earned a comfortable victory against Derby County's Under-23s at the Rovers Academy.

Williams lashed home just before the hour to put Rovers ahead following a lacklustre first half in chilly conditions at Brockhall.

The advantage was doubled by Brereton later on, with the 20-year-old frontman showing fine footwork to produce a solo run and finish to secure the three points.

The win sees Rovers shift up to seventh in the table, with a test away at Middlesbrough next up in the Premier League Cup on Friday night.

Billy Barr named a strong squad against the Rams, with the likes of Williams, Dominic Samuel, Brereton and Bradley Johnson - an ex-Derby player - all starting.

There was also a spot on the bench for new capture D'Margio Wright-Phillips, who arrived on a youth loan from Manchester City last week.

Derby included the experienced Ikechi Anya in their team, whilst there was also a starting berth for recent signing Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, who swapped Aston Villa for Pride Park on deadline day.

The first effort of note saw Brereton feed Jack Vale, but the Welshman's curling effort was comfortable for Henrich Ravas in the Rams goal after only three minutes played.

With just over five minutes to go until the interval, Samuel missed a terrific opportunity to open the scoring.

Davenport's ball in from a free kick was perfect, and after Hayden Carter nodded back across goal, Samuel saw his diving header from two yards out somehow kept out by Ravas.

There was to be one final opportunity in a half starved of clear cut chances, but Johnson could only glance a header wide after John Buckley's corner kick caused confusion.

The game remained scrappy after the break, but after Hector-Ingram was brought down in the box by captain Tyler Magloire, Darren Wassall's visitors were handed a chance to lead from the spot seven minutes into the half.

Hector-Ingram stepped up, but his penalty kick was comfortably saved by Hilton and the score remained goalless.

And moments later that miss would come back to haunt Derby when Williams put Rovers ahead.

Buckley's ball in from a free kick wasn't properly cleared, and the defender was in the right place to lash home first time into the bottom corner.

The lead was nearly doubled by former Rams man Johnson a few minutes later, but the midfielder's low strike from the edge of the box was held by Ravas.

But Rovers didn't have to wait too much longer to add a second to their tally, with Brereton getting his name on the scoresheet.

After being fed by Buckley down the right, Brereton produced an excellent solo run, got across his man and neatly tucked under Ravas with his left foot with just under 20 minutes of the encounter remaining.

Stefan Mols came so close to a third with just three minutes remaining, but after good play from Brereton and Davenport, the substitute crashed a shot against the left-hand post before the danger was cleared.

But that didn't matter too much as Rovers ran out comfortable winners.

Rovers Under-23s: Hilton, Carter, Thompson, Davenport, Williams, Magloire (c), Samuel, Johnson, Brereton, Buckley, Vale (Mols, 74).

Unused substitutes: Eastham, Paton, Whitehall, Wright-Phillips.

Goals: Williams, 57, Brereton, 71.

Booked: Buckley, 31, Carter, 87, Thompson, 87.

Derby County Under-23s: Ravas, Brown, Anya (Rogers, 80), Thompson, Wassall (c), Buchanan (Sephton, 68), Shonibare, Cresswell, Hector-Ingram, Hepburn-Murphy (Cashin, 88), Babos.

Unused substitutes: Yates.

Booked: Hector-Ingram, 19, Wassall, 56

Referee: James Bell.

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