First half goals from Jack Watson and Junior Smith as well as a second half goal from substitute Marius Conradi ensured a comprehensive 3-0 win over Bradford City U18s on Saturday.
Rovers are now three points ahead of second placed Mansfield Town in the Youth Alliance League thanks to an impressive run of four wins in five with the youngsters picking up a draw in the fifth match. The U18s also have the best goal difference in the league thanks in part to scoring an impressive 13 goals in five games and conceding just three.
Rovers got off to a quick start with Smith opening the scoring after a misplaced pass out of the Bradford City defence was pounced on by Owan Derrett. Derrett played the ball into Smith who kept his calm and composure to slot past the Bantams’ shot stopper.
The youngsters were able to keep Bradford on the back foot with their slick passing and through balls with the midfield three of Liam Ravenhill, Charlie Bell, and Lirak Hasani dominating their opposite numbers but they didn’t have it all their own way and Ben Bottomley was called upon to make his first save – a strike from distance.
Rovers doubled their advantage through Watson who timed his run to send Elliott Walker’s cross into the net.
Rovers continued to press for a third with Smith going close against, skipper Ben Blythe almost heading in from a set-piece and Lewis Cunningham curling one wide.
The visitors made it three when Hasani’s defence splitting pass found the run of Conradi who finished his chance well.
Rovers could have stretched their lead further through Luca Nelson, Ravenhill and Smith but chances created became chances missed. It was a good performance from the U18s as they turned the tide on a side that had beaten them convincingly earlier in the season.
Next up for the U18s, a trip to Burton Albion in the Youth Alliance League