Gary McSheffrey felt his U23 side saw exactly what standard they must step up to after holding an impressive Exeter City side to a draw on their way to the knockout stages of the Premier League Cup.
The visitors were slick throughout and fought back from two goals down to earn the point which kept them ahead of Rovers at the top of Group D, ensuring they enter the last 16 as a top seed while McSheffrey’s side finish second and must take on a group winner in the next stage
He said: “They are a really good organised team and I’m happy with a draw, their principles of play mirror everything they do at first-team level. That’s the type of level that this group needs to get to, and I’m confident we will get there over the next couple of years.
“It was a real test for us, they are the best team we have faced this season without a shadow of a doubt but it’s a great learning curve for the young players.”
Myron Gibbons and Jack Watson struck either side of the break, with quick-fire efforts from Alex Hartridge and Harry Kite getting the Grecians back into the game.
McSheffrey added: “I was quite pleased with the resilience the lads showed, we didn’t crumble under the pressure. Louis Jones made some great saves to keep us in it, he was top drawer.
“We played on the counter well with Myron’s pace up top, we can play that game and he finished his chance well when one on one, and it was a good second goal with great improvisation from the free-kick and a nice finish by Jack.”