Rovers Youth played a friendly fixture against a much older and bigger University side from Pennsylvania in the USA.
It was a cool morning with a stiff wind blowing straight down the pitch. Rovers had the wind at their backs in the first half but failed to get to grips with it, constantly over-hitting their longer passes to the forwards.
Early on, Jack McKay did have a good strike at goal after the centre half allowed him through, however the keeper was equal to the task of blocking his shot.
The visitors, after a slow start, got their game going and began to have more of the play. In the 17th minute, a good cross from the right was headed home by the giant figure of DUKES to give them the lead.
Two minutes later and McLaren, in the Rovers goal, with the ball at his feet inexplicably tried to dribble round FRATTINI but lost the ball and the American had the easy task of slotting into an empty net.
Rovers battled away but could not get any fluency into their game the consequence of which meant that the visitors had the better of the half rounded off with their two-goal lead at the break.
The second half proved to be a different kettle of fish. Fortified with the words of wisdom from Messrs Wilson and Stancliffe, the Rovers surged on to the attack straight from the kick off.
A minor blip by the Rovers defence in the 49th minute gave the visitors a chance of adding to their total but McLaren saved as he dived to his left.
However, a minute later, Ferguson, who had done well in the first half, cut in from the right after getting past his man but was then brought down in the penalty area. He took the penalty kick himself but blazed over the bar.
The visitors, who were rotating their squad throughout the match to give them all some match-time, hit back by winning a couple of corners and then forcing a good save from McLaren.
Rovers made their substitutions on the hour but another couple of corners to the visitors brought a header from Dukes that went well over the bar.
Rovers were not daunted and battled away against the wind. A thunderous drive by an American forward in the 79th minute was beaten away by McLaren. Then, in the 82nd minute, a mistake in the American’s defence was pounced on by Gordon, who put over a great cross to the far post where WHITEHOUSE headed firmly into the net. The Rovers pressed on forcing the visitors on to the defensive. As the 90th minute came up a Rovers attack had the ball ping-ponging around in the penalty area before it landed at the feet of WHITEHOUSE, who fired through the crowd past a non-plussed keeper, who probably couldn’t see it, for a hard-earned draw.
After an indifferent first half, the Rovers came good in the second to give the visitors a much harder game than the first half had suggested.
Rovers team – Jack McLaren; Spencer Lund, Paul McKay, Scott Brown (Matthew Davies 60), Elliott McAdam; Lewis Ferguson (Aaron Gordon 60), Alex Head, Jack Steadman, Billy Whitehouse; Jack McKay (Ryan Burnyeat 60), Liam Mandeville (Callum Terrell 60)