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Academy

Cook: A great game and result

28 March 2022

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Academy manager Tony Cook has paid credit to his side’s performance following Rovers’ entertaining 1-0 win against Huddersfield Town at Cantley Park.

Rovers U18s put in a professional performance under the Doncaster sun, as striker Jack Goodman scored the only goal of the game to ensure the hosts took the spoils in their final game of the regular season.

Cook’s side saw captain Dan Wilds and Michael Nesbitt come back into the starting XI for the first time since featuring away at Bradford City due to suspension and the manager felt Rovers showed all sides to their game against the Terriers.

He said: “In the first-half we did very well with the ball, we moved it around into good spaces, we worked out how to play through them and a lot of the areas of work we did in the week were seen so that’s good.

“We found pockets of space well, the links were good and the forward movement we spoke about was evident and the goal came from a passage of play that we’ve done a lot of work on, so it’s nice to see that the lads are taking on what they’ve done in training and converting it into matches.

“It was a hot day, so we had to deal with the weather so second-half was managing the game, where and how we pressed and when we had to break or when we had to sit into our block.

“To give credit to Huddersfield, they had some good possession in the second half and pressed a lot higher and took a lot of space away, so we really had to focus on our out-of-possession game to see the game out.

"The lads did really well, the attitude and work-rate were there in abundance, and it was two different halves but it was a great game and a great result for us.”

The result meant that Rovers kept a clean sheet for the first time since a 2-0 win at home against Scunthorpe at the end of January and Cook felt his defence played their part in the victory.

He added: “Clean sheets are always important to us, at the start of this calendar year we were conceding too many so we’ve done a lot of out-of-possession work and on how we can be harder to break down.

“The lads have taken it on well, and the fact they can deploy it when they need to is testament to them and that was key to winning the game today.”

Rovers already had their top-five finish confirmed before the victory against Town, but Cook felt the game was an important opportunity to build confidence heading into the top-half of the merit league.

He said: “The seasonal objective was to finish in the top five to make sure we qualified for that side of the merit league, and we’d already done that so it was about making sure we finished with a win to build some momentum going into it.

“We really want to make a good go of these four games, we know the teams that are in there and it’ll be a challenge, but we’ll build on this result and aim to finish well.”

Cook’s side will now turn their attention to the end-of-season merit league and their first game away at Lincoln City on Saturday, April 2.


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