John Schofield was delighted with the start his Development side made to their season following a 3-2 win on the road at Grimsby Town.
Rovers kicked off their Central League North campaign with a trip to Blundell Park to face the Mariners, with a strong line-up including first team players such as Tom Anderson, Paul Taylor, Alfie Beestin and Alex Kiwomya, and it would be the latter who scored the game’s opening goal just four minutes in.
Beestin’s neat turn and volley was superbly palmed over the bar by Grimsby stopper Sam Russell, but from the resulting corner, Taylor’s set-piece was nodded down by Shane Blaney, and Kiwomya’s improvised back-heeled shot went into the top corner.
Grimsby would equalise with 15 minutes on the clock, with good play between Louis Robles and JJ Hooper freeing up space for Luke Hendrie inside the area, and he curled into the far corner past Ian Lawlor.
The rest of the first half saw limited chances at either end, with Taylor going closest for the visitors with a free-kick that struck the wall before bouncing just wide, but despite that, Schofield was impressed with Rovers bright start.
“There was a great passage of play in the lead up to the goal, Alfie was very unlucky not to score himself 30 seconds before and then we score from the corner, you can’t ask for more than that really,” he said.
“We suffered a set-back 10 minutes later with their goal and we said to them at the break we wanted them to become more aggressive, we didn’t pressure them enough in the first half and needless to say we let them back in.”
Rovers set about the Mariners in the second period, and it would be another superb passage of play that would unlock the Grimsby defence and Beestin would be the man to find the back of the net.
Morgan James crossed into the area, with Will Longbottom able to head the ball back across the face of goal to Beestin, and his turn on the edge of the six-yard box saw him create space to fire past Russell to put Rovers back ahead.
Rovers would all but seal their win with five minutes to go in stunning fashion, with Jacob Fletcher and Taylor passing it between themselves, before Taylor took aim from 30 yards out and found the top corner, leaving Russell with no chance.
Grimsby would pull one back with a minute left, with Akheem Rose being brought down in the area, leaving Charles Vernam to step up to the spot and send Lawlor the wrong way.
Rovers would see out four minutes of stoppage time to seal their first win of the Central League North campaign, and Schofield was full of praise for his side’s professional performance at the coast.
“All the players involved today are here for different reasons, the senior lads are here to get the game time but they want to impress the manager, the young lads need the older ones as much as they need them to help them out,” he added.
“Everybody needs one another in games like this and that’s exactly what we had here, that’s what team games are about, and the lads were brilliant in the second half, we did everything that we spoke about and it’s a great result.
“We’ve got some good games coming up over the next couple of weeks, it gives the lads the chance to get back to back games which is what this competition is all about, but the attitude the boys have shown so far has been fantastic.”
Rovers return to Central League North action next Tuesday when they host Mansfield Town at Cantley Park, with a 1:00pm kick off and entry to the game is free.