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Development Squad

Billy so proud of the lads

A youthful Rovers side booked their place in the final of the Lancashire FA Senior Cup after a penalty shoot-out win over Preston North End

28 January 2020

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Billy Barr was a happy man after seeing his side book their place in the final of the Lancashire FA Senior Cup at the expense of near neighbours Preston North End.

Jayden Stockley saw his penalty superbly saved by Joe Hilton and that was to be the difference with Rovers scoring all five of their spot kicks after the tie finished all square after 90 minutes.

Lewis Thompson had given Rovers an early lead at PNE's Springfields training ground, only for Paul Huntington and Brad Potts to turn the tie around before the break for an experience North End side.

John Buckley scored from 12 yards just after the interval to level things up and that was how things stayed for the remainder of the tie.

Jacob Davenport eventually dispatched the winning strike in the shoot-out to book Rovers' place in the final of the competition, with a date to be confirmed at the Lancashire FA HQ.

And speaking afterwards, Barr was delighted as the holders moved a step closer to retaining the trophy.

“I’m really pleased with them," he said.

"Even if we’d have lost on penalties, I was saying on the touchline about the way we played against a really experienced team and dominated the ball for long periods.

“I’m proud of them. You see that Preston team sheet and it wouldn’t look out of place in a Championship first team.

“To start the way we did and go about our work the way we did, I was really impressed with the boys. For the young group, it was really pleasing.

“It was surprising to see Lewis Thompson on the end of the first goal. I’m pleased for him because there is a lot of work he does off the ball, making forward runs galore, people don’t see him and then he has to make his recovery runs.

“It’s a reward for him and a really good team goal.

"If you end up playing first team football in the Championship, that’s the sort of football that a lot of the teams play. I’m really pleased with our centre halves up against Jayden Stockley and they handled him really well.

“It’s a lesson that we can’t get too often unfortunately, but it’s something they need to learn when they hopefully break into the gaffer’s first team.

“When Stockley came on against our first team, he changed the game. Both centre halves did really well against him today.

“There’s bits going on when the game is on, the nudging and bumping with a striker, and the lads stood up to it today, so hopefully it’s something they can look back on, learn from and look to draw upon when they play against this sort of opposition again," he added.

“It’s never bad when you’re winning games. It’s three games unbeaten.

"We spoke about things at half time, the wind and not being drawn into playing long balls. Early on we did, but the lads themselves got amongst each other and got us playing the way we wanted.

“I’m really pleased with the result but I’m really pleased with the performance as well."

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