Rieves Boocock bagged a hat- trick as Rovers’ U18s lost their first game of the season in an exciting cup game against Lincoln City.
There was just one change to Paul Stancliffe’s side as U16 keeper Tom Easen dropped out of the 18, and in came Lewis Landers, who has recently joined from Birmingham City.
Lincoln started the strongest of the two sides, with their forward Jon Smith flicking a header which swirled over Landers’ goal.
The visitors then got their first goal of the morning as they slithered their way down Rovers’ left, evading all challenges, before Jordan Adebayo-Smith slid the all past Landers at the near post.
Rovers reacted as Cameron Barnett showed great vision to play a through ball to Myron Gibbons who was released one-on-one with Lincoln keeper Matthew White, but White was equal to the effort and got down quickly to his bottom-right corner to deny the forward.
Confidence grew for the Imps as Smith tried his luck from 25-yards, but Landers was equal to his effort, although Adebayo-Smith doubled their advantage before the break after another break down the left from the young Imps.
Some last-ditch defending stopped Boocock from getting one back before half-time, after Cameron Barnett’s pull-back.
Rovers came out after the interval with a point to prove as Will McGowan was brought down in the box to win Rovers the penalty.
Boocock stepped up to the spot and tucked it into the bottom left corner, sending Matthew White in the opposite direction.
Rovers were back on level terms moments later as Myron Gibbons crossed to Hamza Mohammed who was at the far-left post, he then played it back across goal where Boocock was on hand to blast it into the net.
Parity, though, lasted just four minutes. Lincoln retook the lead as Jon Smith scored a sensational free-kick from just outside the area, curled into the top-left corner, that Landers could do nothing about.
That was a stunning effort, but there was even better to come as Boocock sealed his hat-trick in style. He let loose a thunderbolt of a strike from around 25-yards which curled its way delightfully into the top-right corner.
Lincoln scored what was to be the winning goal 15 minutes from time, as Woodcock’s effort beat Landers.
Rovers still have one game left to play in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup, which now becomes a must-win for Stancliffe’s side in order for them to progress. That game will be away at Shrewsbury in October.