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Academy

Rovers U18 0 Bradford U18 2

9 September 2019

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The U18s fall to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of a very well organised and disciplined Bradford City.

Manager Paul Stancliffe made one change from the team that beat Burton Albion last weekend with Luca Nelson drafted in for his first start of the season at the expense of Evan Harper who dropped out of the squad entirely. 

Last weekend's star man Jack Watson looked to pick up where he finished against the Brewers. He had a chance which was delivered by Will McGowan. Watson's shot from an acute angle was saved and shut down well by visiting goalkeeper Tom Donaghy.

With that chance wasted, Bradford quickly responded through Connor Shanks who scored the Bantams opener when his 25-yard shot took a deflection enroute, deceiving Ben Bottomley. 

Bradford took the momentum of the game from that moment gliding ball after ball into the box and causing problems for Rovers' defense.

On the half-hour mark, Shanks tried his luck again from distance but this time the ball was straight at Bottomley who made a comfortable save. 

High pressure from Rovers forced Hayden Smithurst into a misplaced pass which fell into the pathway of Junior Smith who pounced on goal but slammed his effort just past the top left corner of Donaghy's goal.

The brink of half-time saw Watson come agonisingly close again as his header at the far post spun just wide of the mark.

Rovers had another opportunity to come level just after the second half when Ben Blythe's header from the free-kick crashed off the crossbar to the relief of Donaghy. 

Watson made a good run into the box but was unfortunate to watch his shot be carried away by the relentless wind that was present at Cantley Park.

Kian Scales came close for Bradford when his close-range shot forced Bottomley into a great save. 

Fullback Elliott Walker delivered a sweet ball into the box which caused a rumble Bradford's penalty area, but the away team eventually cleared their lines after a flurry of shots were had on goal.

On the 91st minute Bradford ensured that they were to inflict the U18s first defeat in five games this season when Shanks claimed his second goal of the game as he slotted the ball past Bottomley.

The U18s are back in action on Saturday September 14 (11am) against Mansfield Town in the Youth Alliance Cup at home. 


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