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Academy

Rovers U18s 3 Chesterfield U18 0

10 February 2020

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Rovers’ U18s move 10 points clear at the top of their division after a compelling 3-0 win over Chesterfield.

Paul Stancliffe made three changes to the side that beat Mansfield Town 2-1 with Kian Johnson, Aziz Sankoh and Marius Conradi all getting starts while Ben Bottomley, Lewis Cunningham and Owan Derrett dropped out of the starting line-up.

The first chance of the game came the visits way with Brandon Bradbury having a stab from 18 yards.

Rovers responded quickly, opening a gap in Chesterfield’s defence, allowing Will McGowan to have a shot on goal. Kurtis England did well to save, and McGowan fired the follow-up over the bar.

After 12 minutes, Junior Smith’s dash into the box attracted a foul from the Spireities defence, which meant Rovers were awarded a penalty. Lirak Hasani took it, sending the ball into the bottom right corner.

Trying to forge their way back into the game, Chesterfield had a shot from the edge of the area via Matthew Fuertado, but Kian Johnson was on hand to provide a brilliant left-handed save.

Rovers’ lead was doubled later when Nathan Dimou headed into goal from a corner.

Fuertado was still determined to bring his side back into the game, finding himself in another lucrative position but his attempted chip over Johnson was too powerful and ended up travelling high over the bar. The first half ended with Bradbury hitting a post from distance.

Rovers were quick out of the blocks in the second half with Hasani creating two chances from a corner. His initial header was saved with his follow-up shot stopped too, although the referee blew his whistle for an alleged handball in the process.

After that the second period quietened down for a while, with Rovers holding the most possession but were pinned back by Chesterfield.

The first change Paul Stancliffe made was bringing Charlie Bell on for Liam Ravenhill which seemed to pay dividends with Bell spraying the ball across midfield, stringing together vital passes.

Rovers tested the aerial resilience of the visitors, floating a ball into the area from a free kick but England was able to smoother.

With seven-minutes left of time, Jack Watson spun on the edge of the 18 yard box and slammed the ball into the back of the net, wrapping the game up for Rovers.

Bell wanted to join in and get on the score sheet too, watching his effort be saved by England. Watson struggled to punish them on the rebound.

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