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Match Reports

Report: Rovers Under-23s 2-2 Manchester United Under-23s

Connor McBride and Brad Lyons find the net but it isn't enough to continue Rovers' 100% winning record at Leyland

2 October 2020

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Rovers Under-23s' unbeaten start to the campaign continued, but Billy Barr's boys will have counted themselves unlucky not to have taken all three points against Manchester United at Leyland.

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Joe Hugill hit a brace for the visitors, scoring early to give Neil Wood's outfit the advantage after two minutes and then found an equaliser for United in the final five minutes.

A spot kick from Connor McBride evened the scoreline up midway through the half after Hugill's precise finish put United ahead.

Rovers dominated the majority of the clash and Brad Lyons' header a minute before the hour looked to have been the winner before Hugill hit the sucker-punch late on.

Barr made nine changes to the side that started the win over Leicester City on Monday night, with Lewis Thompson and Lyons the only survivors from earlier in the week.

With the first team in action tomorrow, the likes of Andy Fisher, Daniel Ayala, Harry Chapman, Jacob Davenport and John Buckley all weren't used at a drizzly Leyland.

United started the brightest and took the lead inside the opening two minutes, with the highly-rated Hugill working a yard in the box and confidently placing the ball beyond Jordan Eastham and into the corner of the net.

Rovers were having the majority of the ball, but it was United who went closest to extending their lead, with Anthony Elanga testing Eastham with a routine save on the 20 minute mark.

Five minutes later and Rovers were awarded a penalty when Isaac Whitehall's cross was handled in the box by Di'Shon Bernard in the box.

Up stepped McBride, fresh from his brace against Leicester City earlier in the week, and he added to his tally by sweeping home from the spot despite Ondrej Mastny diving the right way.

The pendulum was swinging in Rovers favour, and only a slight deflection stopped Luke Brennan's strike from finding the net as the hosts probed for a quick-fire second of the afternoon.

Half time was approaching when Ben Paton called Mastny into action again, with the Canadian's rasping drive turned behind by the Czech stopper as Rovers continued to dominate on home turf.

Rovers continued bossing things early in the second half and grabbed a deserved lead just before the hour thanks to Lyons' first goal of the season.

After Hayden Carter's deep cross was sliced back across goal, Lyons was ready and waiting at the back to simply nod home despite Mastny getting a touch.

The game opened up in the final 15 minutes, with Eastham saving from Bernard before substitute Sam Burns tested Mastny at the other end.

United's half time substitute Connor Stanley then tried his luck from range only to see Eastham in his way before Burns again went close to adding to Rovers' tally.

It looked like Rovers would deservedly take all three points, but more drama was to come with five minutes remaining when Elanga's cross from the right was pushed out by Eastham and Hugill was there to tap home.

Rovers didn't give in though, and the last chance fell the way of Lewis Thompson, who could only head Carter's deep cross wide in the final minute and the spoils were shared.

Rovers hit the road next up, with a trip to Southampton on the agenda on Sunday 18th October, kick-off 2pm at the Sands Stadium.

Rovers Under-23s: Eastham, Carter, Barnes, Grayson (c) (Pike, 61), Thompson, Lyons (Mols, 70), Saadi, Whitehall, Brennan, Paton, McBride (Burns, 76).

Unused substitutes: Dowling, Garrett.

Goal: McBride pen, 25, Lyons, 59.

Booked: Lyons, 36, Thompson, 52, Carter, 61.

Manchester United Under-23s: Mastny, Neville, Ercolani, Fish (c), Bernard, McCann (Bejger, 66), Wellens (Stanley, 46), Hansen-Aaroen (Emeran, 85), Hugill, Majbri, Elanga.

Unused substitutes: Carney, Emeran.

Goals: Hugill, 2, 85.

Booked: Ercolani, 84.

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