Joe Wright marked his return from injury with the match winning goal as Rovers U23s’ got their season off to a winning start in the Premier League Cup.
A first half headed goal from the centre-back was the difference against Portsmouth U23 at the Keepmoat Stadium, but it was a comprehensive performance from the home side which could have seen them score more.
The U23s demonstrated the same calm football and passing play as their first team counterparts and in the opening 20 minutes Portsmouth hardly had a touch of the ball. Rovers fashioned a number of chances with Harrison Myring’s effort was just over while
Will Longbottom’s cross was just slightly too far ahead of Alex Kiwomya for the striker to tap home.
Rovers’ set-pieces also looked dangerous, as Danny Amos was causing plenty of problems from corners and Elliot Walker’s effort from a free-kick was dragged narrowly wide. It was a set piece which would bring Rovers the goal they deserved.
Amos’ ball in from a free kick was straight to the back post and met by the head of Wright who nodded past Luke McGee to give Rovers the lead.
Wright was immediately called upon at the other end of the pitch as he cleared Josh Flint’s effort off the line after a Portsmouth break.
Rovers continued to test the Pompey keeper McGee. The keeper did well to tip Myring’s effort over and had to be alert when Amos’ corner-kick almost whipped straight in. McGee’s best save came as he denied Wright from point-blank range as the centre-back connected again with an Amos corner.
Rovers did have the ball in the net again just before the break, but Longbottom was flagged for offside after tapping in from another McGee save following a Wright header.
Longbottom continued to search for a goal in the second half, firing just wide and having another effort blocked. He then made an excellent run down the left and played a great cross to Myring who beat his man to the ball but guided the effort a fraction wide.
Portsmouth mounted a reply with Bradley Lethbridge firing over from range.
AJ Greaves did everything right as he danced his way past the Portsmouth defence, but his shot was pulled the wrong side of the far post. Longbottom continued to cause a threat with shots on goal and put in a fantastic cross to Max Watters who could not sort his feet quickly enough and his shot was blocked.
The home side continued to press. Rian McLean and Amos both went close from corners and Longbottom saw his headers from a follow-up go over.
Rovers’ final chance of the match came in injury time some excellent play between Amos and substitute Will McGowan released Amos into space down the left, but the cross was too far ahead of Kiwomya to latch on to.