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Rovers 1 Newcastle United U21 3

4 September 2018

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Rovers fell to defeat in their first Checkatrade Trophy game of the season with a 3-1 loss to a clinical Newcastle United U21s.

Goals from Thomas Allan, Callum Roberts and Elias Sorensen saw the young Magpies take their first three points in Group G, despite a goal from John Marquis in the first half.

Rovers got the game underway and immediately went on the attack looking to start on the front foot, with Mallik Wilks hitting the post inside three minutes, with Marquis finding the back of the net with the rebound, only to see the offside flag up against him.

Marquis would get forward once again shortly afterwards, this time getting the better of Jamie Sterry, only to see Stefan O’Connor back to block his goal-bound effort.

Against the run of play however, the young Magpies would take the lead, as Allen got in behind the Rovers’ defence, rounding Marko Marosi and sliding the ball into the empty net after 14 minutes.

Alfie Beestin would be the first to try and get the home side back level as he rose highest to a free-kick from the right by Issam Ben Khemis, only to see Magpies stopper Nathan Harker at full stretch to deny him his first goal of the season.

Ben Khemis and Beestin would link up again not long afterwards, albeit unintentionally, with Ben Khemis’ long-range effort finding the head of Beestin, however the ball would end up going wide of the post.

Wilks would be next to try and get Rovers a goal they deserved after their bright start, cutting inside on to his left foot, only to see Liam Gibson back to turn the ball behind for another Rovers corner.

Injuries and stoppages throughout the first half would see nine minutes added on to the end of the opening period, and in the seventh of those extra minutes, Rovers would find their equaliser in somewhat bizarre fashion.

Marquis picked the ball up near the halfway line, running past Gibson on the right-hand side, looking up and putting the ball into the area.

Marquis’ ball in would fly straight into the far top corner, leaving Harker stranded and the fans in attendance stunned, though only the striker would know if he meant it or not.

Rovers carried the momentum from their late goal in the first half into the second period, once again starting a half brightly, with substitute Branden Horton firing a speculative effort just over the bar just two minutes after the interval.

Herbie Kane would be the next Rovers man to go close, picking up the ball on the edge of the area after a great pass forward from Matty Blair, however the Liverpool loanee could only drag his effort just wide of Harker’s right-hand post.

In similar fashion to the first half however, it would be the young Magpies who would take the lead against the run of play.

Sean Longstaff played the ball forward for substitute Adam Wilson, and he cut the ball back across the face of goal for Roberts, with the forward able to slot home first time to put Newcastle back in front.

The young Magpies would effectively seal their first three points in Group G with four minutes of normal time left to play, with Sorensen latching on to a long ball forward and breaking clear, leaving him with plenty of time to poke the ball under Marko Marosi to double their lead.

Rovers return to Sky Bet League One action this Saturday when they host division newcomers Luton Town at the Keepmoat Stadium.

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