Rovers U18s battled back from a goal down to put five past Partick Thistle as they recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this pre-season.
Thistle took the lead from the penalty spot through Jake Henderson before last season’s leading goal scorer Jack Goodman struck four times with Sam Brown adding the fifth as Rovers showed their dominance.
The meeting was to be the first of two 60 minute matches held on the same day in the north-east, seeing Rovers also face a category one Academy side in Newcastle United on Tyneside.
Rovers’ Scottish counterparts got the game underway and saw a cagey opening few minutes as the two sides tried to work each other out but the first talking point of the match did not come until minute eight.
Partick’s striker beat the offside trap and broke through, taking on a shot from range that hit the post but as Rovers attempted to clear, the opposition regained the ball and drew a foul out of Alex Fletcher to win a penalty.
Jake Henderson stepped up and slotted past Tom Chambers, to the keeper’s left as he gave his side the lead.
Rovers then came close to equalising almost immediately when Charlie Petch met the corner of Tom Parkinson but his headed effort just cleared the crossbar before Thistle were stopped by the woodwork from extending their lead.
In the last few minutes of the first half Rovers mounted pressure on the opposing back line in an attempt to draw level and with two to go, their efforts came to fruition.
Tom Chambers saved well one-on-one which gave his teammates the opportunity to mount an attack. Jack Raper found himself with the ball on the left wing and passed on to Goodman who was able to cut inside and drive the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal to see Rovers enter the break on level terms.
Chad Gribble’s side then made six half-time substitutions as the squad looked to get more minutes and there was an impact from the bench immediately.
Rovers started brightly on the attack and second-half addition Freddie Allen got himself up field with the ball as he set himself to drop a cross into the front post where Goodman was ready to fire in and get what was then his second of the game.
Five minutes later, Rovers’ goal scorer found himself presented with the chance to make it a hat-trick. The number nine passed his way across goal, into a shooting position and tried to pass home but his effort rolled across the face of goal and missed the far post.
However, it was not to be long before Goodman had another crack of the whip. Chris Pooley advanced down the right-hand side and managed to deliver an inch-perfect cross to Rovers’ talisman who would not make the same mistake and buried the ball in the back of the net to complete his hat-trick and give Gribble’s side daylight between their opponents.
The second-year scholar was not to be done there though, Will Flint this time got down the right wing and whipped into the danger area where none other than Goodman was ready to meet the ball and tap home for his fourth and final goal of the game as he was subbed off for a well-earned break.
Goodman came off alongside Jack Raper in place of Sam Brown and Charlie Thompson and it wasn’t to be long before they got involved in the goal-scoring antics.
Rovers continued to come forward relentlessly with their attacking pressure in the dying minutes of the game and the two substitutes took their opportunity to impress.
Thompson fed a ball into Brown on the left hand side and the latter took it upon himself to drive into the box and shoot across goal, past the keeper and into the back of the net to cap off a spectacular comeback as Rovers comfortably saw out the final knockings of the fixture to collect a victory in their first game of the day.