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Rovers 2 Burton Albion 2

19 January 2019

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Tyler Smith marked his Rovers debut with two goals in the draw with Burton Albion.

Smith, on loan from Sheffield United, came off the bench at half-time and it took the fast forward just eight minutes to make his mark.

Rovers manager Grant McCann made two changes to the team that lost 3-2 to Wycombe Wanderers the weekend before. Herbie Kane and Ian Lawlor missed out through injury and were replaced by Tommy Rowe and Marko Marosi.

Nigel Clough made three changes with Ben Fox, Ben Turner and Will Millier all dropping to the bench to be replaced by skipper Jake Buxton, Marcus Harness and Josh Clarke.

It took just eight minutes for the visitors to take the lead having already gone close on the third minute when Lucas Akins headed his effort wide.

The goal eventually came from a very unlikely source. Defender John Brayford tried an acrobatic and unconventional overhead kick which found a top corner leaving Marosi with no chance. It was the defender's first goal since he re-signed for Burton Albion.

Things did not seem to be getting any better for Rovers and Matty Blair and Andy Butler were both called upon to make timely tackles to deny Lucas Akins.

Things seemed to have turned in Rovers' favour after 15 minutes when a foul in the Burton box appeared to have been given as a penalty by referee Paul Marsden. However, after some consultation with the other officials, the decision was reversed.

Rovers continued to soak up pressure with Akins once again causing problems and efforts Stephen Quinn and Liam Boyce peppering Marosi's goal.

The home side built their way back into the match and after the half-hour mark had begun to dominate midfield playing the ball around well.

Ali Crawford's cross found John Marquis unmarked in the box but effort from a chest and volley was blocked by a swarm of Burton players and, seconds later, an even better chance occurred with Rovers inches away from scoring from a wicked Danny Andrews cross.

If the closing stages of the first half had been beginning to swing in Rovers favour, the opening of the second half was dominated by the home team thanks in main to the introduction of Smith and Alfie May who replaced Rowe and Mallik Wilks at half time.

Smith was proved a real handful, his pace allowing hm to get in behind the Burton Albion defence. He quickly earned his team a corner which was very nearly turned in by John Marquis and just a minute later, he got on the end of the May's cross to head Rovers level.

Rovers continued to dominate but the game looked to be slipping away from them as big chances seemed to be passing the side by. The first fell to John Marquis who did well to evade the challenges of the Burton defenders and take the ball away from Burton goalkeeper Bradley Collins before scooping the ball over the bar.

The second chance fell to James Coppinger who picked the ball up with his back to goal. He struck his effort on the turn and could only steer the chance wide.

Next it was Tom Anderson's turn to go close his headed effort from a corner floated just over the crossbar.

Rovers' pressure finally told after 78 minutes when Smith got on the end of a James Coppinger through-ball and knocked the ball calmly past Collins to put Rovers ahead.

Chances continued to fall Rovers' way with Butler and May both going close before Smith's effort from distance very nearly saw the youngster secure a hat-trick on his debut.

Despite the best of the chances going Rovers' way, it would be Burton Albion who found the back of the net. Their first corner of the half finding the head of John Brayford and the for the defender to score his second goal of the game on the 90th minute.

There would be one final opportunity for Rovers when Alfie May hit Collins' near post with his headed effort in added time, but Rovers had to settle for a point.


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