Paul Stancliffe's young side narrowly defeated by Notts County.Doncaster Rovers Development – 0
Notts County Development – 1 (Sarpong 73’)
Tuesday 15th March 2016, 1:00pm
Cantley Park Training Ground, Doncaster
Final Third Development League
This was a game that Paul Stancliffe will look back on with fondness despite losing 1-0 in the latter stages of the second half. His inexperienced side put up a valiant fight against an experienced Notts County outfit at Cantley Park.
The visitors came close to taking the lead inside the first four minutes of the game; a corner from the left hand side was met by the towering header of Lartey Sarpong which forced youngster Louis Jones to make a superb one-handed save.
Rovers began to dominate possession and were unlucky not to take the lead; a left-footed cross from Michael Carberry was aimed in the direction of advancing Will Longbottom but a last ditch challenge from Mike Edwards removed any danger of the deadlock being broken.
County however were not going to lie down easily and they should have been one- up on the 36th minute as a sweeping move through the heart of the Rovers defence saw Filip Valencic round Jones in the Rovers goal before squaring the ball to Genaro Snijoers who had his shot bravely cleared off the line Kevin Mbuti.
A minute later the visitors were awarded a spot-kick, Conner Williamson had the ball flicked onto his arm from close range which gave the referee no option to point to the penalty spot. Up stepped winger Snijoers who blasted his effort well over Jones’ crossbar.
Half –Time: Doncaster Rovers Development 0-0 Notts County Development
The second half was a half of few chances, on the 56th minute the ball fell to defender Williamson who was trying to vindicate his earlier error, however the youngster could not wrap his foot around the ball to get a clean shot on target.
It took until the 73rd minute for the deadlock to be broken and it came through a piece of brilliance.
County striker Valencic picked the ball up at the halfway line and began to run through the Rovers defence evading three challenges before laying the ball back to Sarpong who had the easy job of sliding the ball into the bottom right corner.
Rovers, who had winger Billy Whitehouse available for selection after returning from his loan spell at FC Halifax Town, picked the ball up 20-yards out and hit a fizzing shot just over the crossbar.
The hosts began to string a few passes together but they could not find that killer final touch, an in swinging cross from full-back Reece Fielding was met by the head of Joe Pugh but his effort only stung the palms of Kevin Pilkington’s gloves.
On the 88th minute, Rovers arguably had their best chance to get onto the score sheet. A brilliant drilled ball across the six-yard box by Joshua Barker was inches away from being tapped in at the back post by onrushing Pugh but the striker could not get his foot to the ball.
Full-Time: Doncaster Rovers Development 0-1 Notts County Development
DRFC STARTING XI: Jones, Fielding, Barker, Linley. Mbuti, Williamson, Whitehouse, Davies (Walker 71’), Pugh, Longbottom (Wanless 74’), Carberry.
DRFC SUBS NOT USED: Henderson.
NCFC STARTING XI: Pilkington, Wilding, Sharpe, Sarpong, Amevor (Richards 81’), Edwards, Payling (Brownhill 59’), McMillian, Gibson, Valencic, Snijoers
NCFC SUBS NOT USED: Aghastie.