Rovers U18s put in a professional performance against Huddersfield Town as they took victory in their last game of the regular season at Cantley Park.
Tony Cook’s side already had their final league position confirmed prior to the fixture but a great finish from Jack Goodman was enough to see off the Terriers and ensure that Rovers bounced back from defeat at Burton Albion heading into the merit league.
Captain Dan Wilds came back into the team for the first time since playing away at Bradford City where he picked up a suspension alongside Michael Nesbitt - who also returned to the starting XI.
It was Rovers who started the first-half the brightest when, after five minutes, Tom Parkinson received the ball down the right wing from Alex Wolny and crossed into an unmarked Owen Scattergood in the goal mouth who hit first time but was denied by a save at point-blank range as the ball was pushed out wide by Town’s goalkeeper.
Approaching the half-hour mark Rovers’ defence were forced into action when Town had a header from a corner cleared off the line but only as far as their right-winger who crashed the ball off the crossbar before seeing the ball cleared again.
Rovers then immediately had a chance of their own hit the Terriers’ crossbar from a corner which looked to have been played behind everyone but skipper Wilds managed to go back on his run and direct a header towards goal, and it looked destined to loop into the top corner, but it bounced off the woodwork.
With 10 minutes of the first 45 left to play, Rovers made their chances count when Charlie Petch played through to Nesbitt on the right-hand side who then carried the ball towards the by-line and fizzed a cross into Goodman who superbly hit first time to slot past the Terriers ‘keeper before heading over to acknowledge the assist and celebrate with his teammates giving Rovers the lead.
Rovers then saw out the last knockings of the first-half as the hosts entered the break a goal to the good before making their first substitution of the match, introducing Corie Cole in place of Will Hollings.
The early exchanges of the second-half saw opportunities from both sides when the Terriers centre-half shot from just inside the Rovers half and saw his effort whistle past the top right corner for a goal kick before the home-side had a chance of their own that failed to meet the corner, this time the bottom-left, from Nesbitt.
After a flurry of chances at each end of the pitch, Rovers dropped back as they worked on their game management skills and brought on three more substitutions through Josh Lindley and U16s Will Green and Max Adamson in place of Nesbitt, Parkinson and Goodman respectively.
Despite their best efforts, the Terriers failed to break through as the Rovers defence matched every attempt their attack made before Adamson looked to have doubled the hosts’ lead after knocking the ball past the ‘keeper in the air into the goal, but it was disallowed after the referee deemed there to have been a foul on Town’s number one in the process.
In the final passages of play, the Terriers desperately looked to find an equaliser but Rovers managed to get in the way of every attempt and clear the ball to safety as they saw out the remainder of the game and took the three points.
The result takes Rovers’ final points tally to 28 and consolidates a fifth-place finish in the Youth Alliance League as Cook’s side now turn their attentions to their first game of the merit league away at Lincoln City on Saturday, April 2.