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Academy

REPORT | Wakefield 2 Rovers U18s 3

21 July 2022

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Rovers U18s came from behind to take a first win of pre-season late on against Wakefield AFC on Wednesday, July 20 at the Millennium Stadium.

Chad Gribble’s side fell behind in the opening period of play but goals from a trialist, Reo Griffiths and Jak Whiting meant efforts from the hosts’ Tom Booth and Billy Mole were cancelled out.

The U18s saw a number of first-team players, including new signing Adam Long, link up with the side in an attempt to get more minutes into legs heading into the start of the Sky Bet League Two season.

Wakefield got play underway in the opening half but the first notable opportunity came Rovers’ way as the visitors swung a high corner towards the back post meeting Trialist B, who passed back into defender Charlie Petch in front of goal but his shot had the sting taken out of it by a deflection and the ball fell into the keeper’s hands.

Despite Gribble’s side’s positive start to the fixture, the hosts found the breakthrough after an initial diving save from Louis Jones was parried straight into the path of Tom Booth who was left to pass into what had become an empty net.

Petch then found himself at the centre of play again, this time at the other end of the pitch after putting in a great block to keep the deficit to one before Trialist B used his neat footwork on the edge of the opposition box to free up space for a shot but his effort rolled wide of the mark.

Minutes later Rovers continued to mount the pressure in the closing minutes of the half and it paid off.

A long ball was launched forward over the top of Wakefield’s back line to Kieran Agard who held up play well, enabling his teammates

to arrive in the box, and played a square ball to Trialist B to place past the keeper from close range and level the game going into the break.

An unchanged Rovers team then returned to the field for the second 45 and immediately looked to get their noses ahead.

Agard found himself on the right hand side of the box in the first minute of the half, presented with a scoring opportunity and fired goalward but the hosts’ keeper stood well to save and ensure his side kept possession upon the rebound.

The Rovers striker then had another chance minutes later when he beat the home side’s offside trap to latch onto Petch’s flicked on header and bear down on goal, this time beating the goalkeeper but also the far post as his effort whiskered past the bottom right corner.

With Gribble’s side having found a sustained attacking pressure early on, Charlie Seaman entered the box after venturing down the right-wing and drew a foul out of a defender to win Rovers a penalty an opportunity to take the lead for the first time in the game.

Rovers’ number 17 Reo Griffiths took on responsibility from the spot kick and as he stepped up, he sent the keeper to the left and slotted to the right to put the visitors ahead.

Gribble then looked to get more minutes into the legs of his U18 players as he made his first changes of the game bringing Jack Goodman, Jack Raper and Alex Fletcher on for Kieran Agard, Tom Parkinson and Alex Fletcher respectively.

The visitors then looked to take control of the game but the hosts won a penalty of their own following a set-piece and Billy Mole obliged to slot home past Jones in ‘Panenka’ style to restore parity.

On the 70 minute mark, Griffiths made way for second-year scholar Owen Scattergood but it took another 10 minutes for the level scoring to be broken as Liam Ravenhill charged forward into the box

with the ball and attempted to drag back for an attacker but his pass managed to find it’s course all the way to the back post where Jak Whiting was ready and waiting to smash home and give his side a late lead, making up for the disappointed of conceding late on against Sheffield United.

Rovers then had chances to extend their lead in the dying embers but Wakefield’s keeper managed to cut out an effort from Goodman and Trialist A’s freekick just bent away from the top left corner before seeing Ethan Harrison introduced in place of Trialist B as the side saw out the final few minutes to take a win on their travels.

Gribble’s side will now look to build on their first win of pre-season in training as they continue preparations for the start of the season with a trip north to face Newcastle United and Partick Thistle in Newcastle on Saturday, June 23.


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