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Report: Rovers Under-23s 2-1 Manchester City Under-23s

Late drama sees Lewis Thompson win the game for Rovers after Connor McBride's debut goal

18 September 2020

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A late Lewis Thompson strike handed Rovers Under-23s a dream start to their season and earn a comeback win at home to Manchester City.

Up from left back, Thompson smashed home in the final minute after connecting sweetly with Stefan Mols' low free kick.

The winner came after visiting goalkeeper James Trafford was sent off for taking down Sam Burns, with Mols' dangerous delivery doing the damage.

Prior to the defender's memorable finish, it looked as if a debut goal from Connor McBride would earn a battling point for Rovers in a hard fought opening game against the Cityzens.

The Scottish forward slammed home inside the final 20 minutes against a fluid City side after an early James McAtee's strike had put the visitors in front.

But the Rovers youngsters stuck to their task and kept themselves in the game with Jordan Eastham producing a good save soon after to ensure Rovers got into the break just a goal down.

Rovers grew as the second half went on, with McBride getting a goal before Thompson's dramatic winner sparked wild celebrations from the home players.

With both Hayden Carter and Tyler Magloire missing out through injury, Barr handed starts to Sam Barnes and Louie Annesley at the heart of the back four.

Further forward, Brad Lyons and Ben Paton partnered up in central midfield, with Mols, Luke Brennan and McBride offering support to the in form Burns.

In an even start, it was the visitors who took the lead with the first opportunity of the game in stunning style.

It took nine minutes for the deadlock to the broken, with McAtee rifling past Eastham from the edge of the box.

City were looking dangerous when going forward and Eastham was forced to pull off a smart save to tip over Oscar Bobb's curling effort after Sam Edozie's pull back four his team mate just inside the box.

Rovers were finding it hard to break down an organised City side at a chilly Leyland, but did manage to find a way through thanks to McBride's debut goal.

The ball broke kindly to the Scot in the box and he lashed home, with the power on the strike giving Trafford no chance with 18 minutes of the encounter remaining.

The goal gave Rovers added confidence, but it was City who went closest to going back in front soon after, with substitute Darko Gyabi sending a shot over the upright before Luke Brennan did the same for the hosts at the other end.

Mols then nearly caught Trafford out after the City goalkeeper's headed clearance fell to his feet, but a defender was back in the nick of time to clear the danger as the clock ticked down to the final 10 minutes.

With time running out, substitute Harvey Griffiths smashed wide with his first touch in the final couple of minutes of normal time.

But the drama wasn't done there though, with visiting 'keeper Trafford being shown a straight red card for a high challenge on Burns just as the striker was going through towards goal.

From the resulting free kick, Mols' teasing low ball into the box was met by Thompson at the back post, with the left back the hero to fire home and win the game for Rovers.

Next up for Rovers is a home test against Leicester City at Leyland on Monday 28th September, kick-off 7pm.

Rovers Under-23s: Eastham, Pike, Barnes, Annesley, Thompson, Lyons, Paton (Harlock, 60), Mols, McBride (Saadi, 76), Brennan, Burns.

Unused substitutes: Dowling, Gilsenan, Cirino.

Goals: McBride, 72, Thompson, 90+6.

Booked: Lyons, 69, Mols, 85.

Manchester City Under-23s: Trafford, Robinson, Burns, Mbete-Tabu, Ogbeta, Egan-Riley, Bobb (Gyabi, 76), Knight (Slicker, 90), Simmonds (Griffiths, 85), McAtee, Edozie.

Unused substitutes: Sobowale, Wright-Phillips.

Goal: McAtee, 9.

Booked: Egan-Riley, 64.

Sent off: Trafford, 90.

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