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Development Squad

Report: Sunderland U23s 0-2 Rovers U23s

Goals from Stefan Mols and Sam Burns see Billy Barr's side end pre-season with a 2-0 win

14 September 2020

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Rovers Under-23s rounded off their pre-season preparations with a 2-0 win away to Sunderland.

Billy Barr’s side, who kick-off the new Premier League 2 season at home to Manchester City this Friday, scored a goal in each half to record their fourth victory in five summer friendlies.

Rovers opened the scoring late on in the first half whilst enjoying a sustained spell of possession. The ball was worked across the pitch to Dan Pike, who had made an overlapping run, and his excellent cross behind the Sunderland backline was converted by Stefan Mols at the back post.

The visitors had Jordan Eastham to thank for preserving Rovers’ lead after the break, as the promising young goalkeeper made a series of important saves, before Barr’s side doubled their advantage 15 minutes from time.

Substitute Jared Harlock switched play from the right, before the ball was slipped through to Sam Burns and the young striker, who bagged a hat-trick against Carlisle United last week, netted his fifth goal in three games with a precise finish from inside the box.

After the game, Barr said: “We weren’t brilliant, but it gives us something to work on, playing against a different shape and style of play.

“We had a period in the first half where I thought we were dominant, but I would still like us to have more penetration from the wide areas and more efforts at goal.

“Overall, it was a good test and we needed the game, because the players haven’t had an awful lot of game time in pre-season and the acid test now is Friday night when we start against Manchester City.”

ROVERS: Eastham, Pike (Harlock 65), Barnes, Annesley, Thompson, Lyons, Paton, Mols, McBride (Gilsenan 65), Brennan (Saadi 58), Burns.

Goals: Mols (38), Burns (75)

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