Rovers U18s came from 2-0 down with ten men to beat Harrogate U18s away from home.
The youth team were already without captain Dan Wilds and Michael Nesbitt through suspension. Goalkeeper Luke Chadwick took the captain's armband in the interim.
At center-half, Charlie Petch put an impressive display. Early on he put in a perfectly-timed sliding tackle to prevent a good chance for the home side. Later in the second half, he had regular duals with Harrogate’s Emmanuel Ilesanmi with Petch coming out the strongest from them battles.
Within nine minutes of kick-off, Rovers saw themselves down to ten men when Will Flint pulled the arm of an opposition attacker in the box. George Hornby stepped up for the hosts to send Chadwick the wrong way and put his side into an early lead.
Moments later and Rovers found themselves 2-0 down with Ilesanmi finding a way past Chadwick. Despite being having a two-goal deficit early on it did not dent the spirits of Rovers who followed up with some chances through Jack Goodman and Tom Henson.
Five minutes before half time Rovers were rewarded for their persistence by scoring three goals in quick succession.
A strike from Alex Fletcher, header by Owen Scattergood, and a penalty conversion from Jack Goodman completely turned the tables.
Goodman continued to have plenty of chances in front of goal but could not beat their keeper for a second time, while Henson left the cross bar shaking early after the restart of the second half.
Tony Cook’s side made it 4-2 with some neat play that started down Rovers’ right-wing through Tom Parkinson and Tavonga Kuleya. Kuleya then set up Henson who confidently finished from distance.
The home side pushed Rovers all the way as Joe Dixon scored from a rebound to set up a tight end to the game.
Despite the 10 minutes added time, Rovers held on to the three points thanks to heroic defending throughout the entire team, with U16 forward Max Adamson even taking a ball to the face.
Rovers U18s will head to Burton Albion at St. George's Park on Saturday March, 12 where they will continue their push for a top-half finish.