Rovers U23s secured their place in the knockout stages of the Premier League Cup with an impressive 4-0 victory over Aston Villa at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Goals either side of the break for Max Watters as well as goals from Trialist B and Trialist C secured a well-deserved win for Gary McSheffrey’s side.
After surviving some early scares – Villa’s Aaron Ramsey almost gave the visitors a lead inside three minutes – Rovers took the lead on the 20th minute through Trialist B who finished calmly after some smart one-touch build up play by Max Watters and AJ Greaves.
The goal gave Rovers a lift and they could have extended their lead less than a minute later when Trialist C saw his effort from close range cleared off the line by Isaiah Bazeley-Graham.
Watters did make it two just before the half-hour mark when he finished off another good piece of passing play from the home team, slotting the ball beyond the keeper from the edge of the box.
The home side continued to show their dominance in the second 45 and Watters put the match out of sight soon after the restart. He hammered an excellent shot home after some really smart play by Trialist B found him at the edge of the box.
The visitors could have got one back when Tyriek Wright’s effort from around 25-yards out smashed the upright but Rovers weren’t done and scored their fourth just before the hour mark. Trialist C finished from a rebound after seeing his first shot cleared off the line.
Rovers would have had a fifth if it hadn’t been for some smart keeping by Viljami Sinisalo who did well to deny Danny Amos – whose effort across goal looked destined to nestle inside the far post – and Trialist A who was teed up by Watters from the rebound.
Louis Jones made two excellent saves in the final 15 minutes to preserve his clean sheet. The first was a full-length dive to his left to deny Clarke from distance, the second a reaction stop to deny him from close range.
Rovers U23s play their final group game against Exeter City on Tuesday February 18 at the Keepmoat Stadium (kick-off 7pm). Click here for ticket details.