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PL Cup report: Rovers Under-23 2-0 Crystal Palace Under-23s

A goal in each half sees Rovers continue their 100% winning record in Group G of the Premier League Cup

25 January 2020

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A goal in each half ensured Rovers continued their 100% winning record in the Premier League Cup group stages with a comfortable victory over Crystal Palace's Under-23s.

Jack Vale was involved in both strikes; bagging the first just before half time before setting up Luke Brennan to double the home side's advantage with just over 20 minutes remaining.

It was a dominant performance from the youngsters, who could have had more on home turf, with Stefan Mols have two good chances midway through the second half.

It was to be a deserved win though, with Rovers keeping hold of their place at the summit of Group G.

The hosts started the brighter at the Academy, with Vale twice going close to opening the scoring in the first five minutes at Brockhall.

Rovers mainly bossed the first part of the half, with Palace winger Jason Lokilo slamming wide from an acute angle being the closest that Shaun Derry's side came to an opener.

Paton came close to scoring twice in quick succession; firstly just failing to get on the end of Jalil Saadi's ball into the box and then smashing just past the post from 20 yards a moment later.

Rovers were bossing things, and Brad Lyons was next to try his luck from range, his shot forcing Webber into a save, with the Palace 'keeper recovering just in time to grab the ball before Vale could pounce.

But with just seconds remaining in the half, Vale stroked home from a low ball into the box by Lyons to put Rovers ahead.

It handed Barr's boys a deserved advantage going into the interval after bossing the first half against the south Londoners.

That dominance continued after the break despite the visitors improving. 

Although Jordan Eastham was forced to tip over Brandon Aveiro's dipping strike, skipper Mols went close to adding to the lead just after the hour mark.

After showing good footwork, Mols cut in from the left before unleashing a strike that beat Webber but clanged against the upright before bouncing clear of danger.

Mols scooped over soon after, but Rovers weren't to be denied a second of the day with 21 minutes of the contest remaining.

This time it was Vale who was the orchestrator, with the Welshman's ball perfect for Brennan to run onto, shoot across goal and find the bottom corner.

Rovers saw the remainder of the encounter out relatively comfortably, but there was a late scare in the final moments when Lokilo's close range effort deflected against the crossbar before the danger was cleared.

The victory means Rovers extend their 100% winning record in the group stages of the competition, with a fourth win from their four games so far.

Next up for Barr's side is a Lancashire FA Senior Cup clash against Preston North End. The tie will take place at Preston’s training ground, Springfields, on Tuesday January 28th, kick-off 1.30pm.

Rovers Under-23s: Eastham, Pike, Thompson, Saadi, Barnes (Carter, 57), Boyomo, Paton (Whitehall, 28), Lyons (Burns, 60), Vale, Mols, Brennan.

Unused substitutes: Dowling, Harlock.

Goals: Vale, 45, Brennan, 69

Crystal Palace Under-23s: Webber, Mensah, Mitchell (Faniyan, 46), Peck (Ogunseri, 27), Hobbs (Bartley, 67), Rich-Baghuelou, McGregor, Kirby, Daly, Aveiro, Lokilo.

Unused substitutes: Henry, Jessup.

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