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Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 0 Newcastle United U21 0 - Rovers win bonus point shootout

30 August 2022

Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 0 Newcastle United U21 0 - Rovers win bonus point shootout

30 August 2022

Rovers opened up their Papa John’s Trophy campaign with a penalty shootout victory to claim a bonus point against Newcastle United U21.

The two sides could not be separated in 90 minutes, with both failing to find the net.

But Louis Jones pulled off a save in the shootout while his Rovers team mates all found the net to take the extra bonus point.

Gary McSheffrey made ten changes from the side that started at Northampton Town in Sky Bet League Two four days earlier.

Jon Taylor was the most notable inclusion in his first competitive appearance in more than nine months while Kieran Agard helped bring up the average age in a youthful Rovers side.

Rovers controlled possession in the early stages but met a strong press from the energetic young Magpies.

Tavonga Kuleya was the first to test visiting keeper Jude Smith, who pushed the winger’s curling effort from the corner of the box away, while Taylor fired narrowly over the bar with his follow-up.

Newcastle were the width of the post from going ahead in calamitous fashion. Bobby Faulkner received a roll out from Louis Jones but saw his pass blocked, with the ball cannoning back off the upright.

Rovers lost their early composure, with the game becoming much more scrappy and allowing Newcastle to find their footing.

Kyle Crossley found space behind James Maxwell on the right but sliced his shot high and wide.

And Joe White drew a comfortable save from Jones with a free kick from 30 yards.

Rovers should have taken the lead close to the half hour mark. Taylor was sent scampering through and touched the ball across to Kuleya, who rushed his shot and sent it straight at Smith.

There was an audacious attempt from White, who looked to catch Jones off his line with a shot from more than 40 yards which landed on the roof of the net.

The visitors continued to have the better of the chances as the break approached. Kyle Crossley drilled a powerful effort which Jones batted away.

And in first half added time, Jones was forced to tip over his bar after a classy chip from Jay Turner-Cooke.

McSheffrey made three changes at the break with Luke Molyneux and Kyle Hurst sent on, alongside Jack Raper, making his senior debut.

Newcastle’s Michael Ndiweni fired into the sidenetting from the corner of the box following a surging run down the right flank.

Rovers began to enjoy more success. Hurst linked up well with James Maxwell as he cut inside before firing narrowly over the bar.

And moments later Hurst chipped a ball to the far post but Agard could not make a strong enough connection to turn an effort goalwards.

Rovers should have taken the lead on 67 minutes. Adam Long darted away from his marker to meet a superbly-weighted free kick but powered a header over the bar.

At the other end it took a vital touch from Faulkner to prevent Ndiweni from turning home from close range.

Hurst drew a fine save from Smith after racing into the box and drilling across goal.

Rovers continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock, with Molyneux curling over from the corner of the box.

The north east native went for goal from 35 yards soon after, with his piledriver flying narrowly wide.

With the game level after 90 minutes, a penalty shootout was required to determine the bonus point.

Jones saved well from Jay Turner-Cooke while Alex Murphy hitting the woodwork for the visitors while Hurst, Charlie Seaman, Long and Agard were all successful from the spot to give Rovers the extra point.

Rovers: Jones, Seaman, Long, Faulkner, Maxwell, Taylor (Molyneux 46), Ravenhill (Whiting 81), Degruchy (Raper 46), Tavonga, Goodman (Hurst 46), Agard. Subs not used: Mitchell, Petch, Fletcher.

Newcastle U21: Smith, Carylon, Murphy, Savage, Hackett, Turner-Cooke, Huntley, Stephenson, White (Miley 74), Crossley, Ndewini (Scott 74). Subs: Brown, Brookwell, Munoz, Wiggett, McArthur.

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