Rovers bow out of U21's cup in five goal thriller.Crewe - 3 (Ainley 6’, Cooper 74’ , Jones 88’)
Rovers - 2 (Forrester 40’, Main 78’)
Tuesday 13th October 2015 (1pm)
Alexandra Stadium, Crewe
Premier League Under 21’s Cup, Round 2
After defeating Championship side Preston North End in the first round, Rovers Development side travelled to Crewe looking for a place in the third round of the U21 Premier League Cup.
Three first team players were named in the Rovers starting eleven. Paul Keegan, Harry Forrester and Curtis Main all played the majority of the match as they look to return to first team action.
It was a difficult start for Rovers who almost went behind minutes after kick off. With Crewe on the break from a misplaced Rovers free kick, Callum Saunders was released down the left. Shooting on the angle, his shot beat Marko Marosi but hit the side netting.
Minutes later the home side did find the net and went ahead. George Cooper played a lovely over the top ball for Callum Ainley who beat the offside trap, Seeing an oncoming Marosi, the striker chipped the Rovers goalkeeper and rounded off a great move.
Liam Mandeville went close for Rovers as he was played in by Forrester. With opposition keeper Kieran Harrison off his line, the Rovers youngster tried a first time lob towards goal but his effort was inches wide of the post.
Crewe were comfortable on the ball and looked in control of the game. They should have doubled their lead when Saunders beat the offside trap again. Through on goal with only Marosi to beat, his left footed shot was a weak one and the Rovers keeper had no problem saving.
Shortly before half time, the visitors grabbed a goal back through Forrester who was played in by Main. The first team duo linked up well and, with Forrester faking his shot to take it past the defender, he drilled the ball home on the angle giving Harrison no chance.
Finishing the half strong, Rovers went close again this time through defender Michael Carberry who driving towards goal fired a shot with the outside of his boot. However a deflection saw it go just over the bar.
HALF TIME: Crewe 1-1 Rovers
It was a slow and scrappy start to the second half as both sides struggled to maintain possession and test the respective goalkeepers.
It took until 65 minutes for a chance to come after the restart. Out of nowhere, Forrester fired a fierce shot at goal, as it looked to be dipping over a beaten Harrison it cannoned back off the crossbar.
The game livened up from there and, on 70 minutes, Cooper went close for the hosts with an ambitious effort from 30 yards but his shot hit the side netting.
Crewe went close again when the goalscorer Ainley found some space inside the area to shoot at goal but Marosi made a good save and Cooper wasn’t able to convert the rebound as he fired over.
With fifteen minutes to go Cooper put Crewe ahead with a fantastic goal from range. Cutting in from the right hand side, he curled a shot into the top corner with his left foot giving Marosi no chance at all.
However, Rovers came from behind again and, with just three minutes between goals, it was Main who got the equaliser. There was more great work from Forrester to keep the ball in play, before crossing into the box. With Harrison hesitating, Main headed the ball home.
The Rovers pressure looked as though it would be they who would get the winner, however when the referee awarded Crewe a free kick against the run of play captain James Jones took ownership and stepped up. It was a good effort from the midfielder and as Marosi looked to make the save the ball somehow crossed the line giving the home side the lead, again.
With just minutes left to play Rovers couldn’t come from behind for a third time and the referee blew for full time.
FULL TIME: Crewe 3-2 Rovers
Crewe: Harrison, Morgan, Bakayoko, Wintle, Mullarkey (O’Neill 61’), Dowsett, Howell, Jones (c), Saunders, Ainley (Brown 90’), Cooper
Unused Subs: Hilton, Lowery, Neal
Rovers: Marosi, Greasley, Carberry, Mbuti, Keegan (Parkin 65'), Barker, Davies, Linley (c), Main, Mandeville, Forrester
Unused Subs: Iveson, Whitehouse, Pugh, MacCormick
Cautions: Keegan 47'