Rovers’ U18s put last season’s Youth Alliance League champions Grimsby Town to the sword in a thrilling encounter at Cantley Park.
The youth team had fire in their bellies as they looked to make a big statement when they welcomed the Mariners who pipped them to the title last season.
Within the first minute of the referee blowing his whistle, Rovers had taken the lead through Junior Smith. A slick through-ball released the forward through on Pat Boyes’ goal and was finished calmly by Smith who slid his effort through the keepers’ legs.
Just five minutes later and Junior was back in the thick of it when he chested the ball down into the area but was unable to finish due to Boyes quickly closing down the threat.
Midfielder Ethan Bojang doubled Rovers’ lead on the 12th minute, bending the ball around the right-hand post from a tight angle.
Within 20 minutes, Rovers had their third. Centre back Nathan Dimou towered high to guide home from a corner kick.
Rovers followed this up with a hat-trick of shots. Will McGowan’s precise set-piece delivery causing real problems for the visitors.
Smith grabbed his brace, and Rovers’ fourth, early in the second-half as he dove with his head towards a low in-swinging ball provided from Elliott Walker.
Grimsby grabbed a consolation goal soon after as Luis Adlard slid the ball past Kian Johnson. That would be if for The Mariners chances as Rovers ramped up the pressure again and found the back of the net again, only for Jack Watson's goal to be ruled out for offside.
Elliott Walker dragged an effort wide of goal, and Smith thought he'd bagged a hat-trick late on but his powerful shot on target was sent straight to the arms of Boyes.