Rovers U18s scored a late winner to take another win in their latest pre-season match against Youth Alliance North West side Morecambe.
Chad Gribble’s side fell behind early on in the seventh game of their summer schedule but goals from Jack Goodman and Jack Raper ensured Rovers completed a comeback and took victory.
Rovers staerted the game as well as they had finished on Tuesday night and immediately tried to get the upper hand when Will Flint played a great ball forward to Goodman down the right hand side who carried forward and crossed into Owen Scattergood but although he beat the goalkeeper, the attacker could only guide his effort over the bar.
It would be the visitors who found the early breakthrough, despite Rovers’ early pressure when a corner on the left was crossed to the far side and cushioned back into the box, leaving an attacker to head past Tom Chambers and into the back of the hosts’ goal.
Gribble’s side would not go on to be deflated by conceding first as they looked to respond within minutes when Flint got himself forward and on the ball inside the box and looked to have been brought down after beating his man but the referee deemed there to be no foul and dismissed the hosts’ penalty shouts.
It was not long until Rovers found their equaliser after their constant pressure; 10 minutes later Goodman drew a foul to win his side a free-kick.
Will Green took on the ball from the right and aimed a cross deep towards the back post where Petch and Goodman both tried to meet the ball but it was the latter who managed to get a head to the ball, taking it out of the keeper’s reach and into the back of the net to get back on level terms.
Midfielder Jack Raper had two efforts from range in as many minutes but neither troubled the goal as one was collected by the keeper whilst the other rolled just wide of the bottom right corner.
The Shrimps had a couple of attempts of their own in the closing stages of the half as their winger cut inside from the left and looked to curl an effort into the bottom corner but it drifted wide before a counter attack in the last minute saw an attacker try to chip Chambers but it went behind as the first half came to a close.
As play resumed, the goalkeepers from either end of the pitch were called into action with Chambers having to beat away an effort at the near post on the right following a set piece routine before Rovers advanced up field through a combination of passes to meet Goodman. The talisman saw his effort saved as the visitors’ keeper got down well to hold on and deny any second chances.
Gribble then made a number of changes to his side including a change in goalkeeper as Chambers made way for first year scholar Jake Oram.
Flint continued his patch of good fortune down the right-wing as he charged through the midfield and played a pass into the centre on the edge of the box where substitute Faris Khan came in on the instep and took on the shot but his effort was caught and held to deny the midfield from adding to the scoresheet.
Morecambe immediately looked to come forward and almost executed the counter attack when Oram was dragged off his line and the ball was played across the box to another forward who had an open goal to aim at but he could only fire his effort well over the crossbar.
Heading into the final 15 minutes of the match, Rovers mounted their attacking pressure on the Shrimps back line in search of a winner with efforts from Chris Pooley and Max Adamson threatening the Morecambe goal but the breakthrough would not come until the final minute of the game.
Substitute Ethan Harrison received a ball out wide on the right from deep within midfield and pulled Rovers attack forward, dragging out a defender from the middle of defence, freeing up room in the box for Raper to receive a cross and slot home to give his side the lead with a matter of seconds left on the clock.
The visitors threw players forward in an attempt to find a late equaliser but Rovers’ defence soaked up the pressure and saw out the final knockings to take the spoils.
Next up for the U18s is an away trip to Gainsborough Trinity on August 2. Ticket and match information can be found HERE.