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Academy

REPORT | Bradford U18s 5 Rovers U18s 0 (merit league)

11 May 2022

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Rovers U18s fell to defeat in their final game of the 2021/22 season against an impressive Bradford City side at Valley Parade.

It was the third time the youth team had met the Bantams this season having already missed out on the three-points in the previous two fixtures and the Youth Alliance North East champions were relentless with their attacks to make it three wins from three.

The game got off to a cagey start in West Yorkshire with the hosts seeing a set-piece attempt dealt with by the Rovers defence but 10 minutes in, the home-side managed to find their breakthrough when after taking a quick free-kick on half way, City’s right-back picked the ball up down the wing and fizzed it across the box to Cole Roberts to prod past goalkeeper Luke Chadwick and into the top right corner as the home-crowd celebrated their first goal of the game.

A second goal of the game then came in quick succession for the home side when a long ball was hoofed over the top of the Rovers back-line and Bobby Pointon managed to beat Tom Parkinson and drag Chadwick out of goal, enabling him to accurately tap past the visitors’ stopper into the left hand side of the goal as the Bantams doubled their lead.

The U18s immediately looked to get back into the game after winning a free-kick high up the pitch from kick-off.

Parkinson stood over the set-piece and crossed towards the back post and the head of Charlie Petch as he managed to jump higher than his marker to meet the ball but saw his goalward effort just loop over the crossbar as Rovers looked for a route back into the game.

However, the visitors’ efforts failed to come into fruition as approaching the half hour mark, a spell of end-to-end football and a battle in midfield saw the ball fall to City’s Dylan Youmbi in the middle of the park who, after setting himself, managed to get a shot off from range and pick out the bottom right corner leaving the keeper with very little chance.

Chadwick then got in the way of a long-range effort and saw another behind as Rovers won a corner with the last play of the half, but the resulting header whistled just wide of the right-sided post as the referee brought the half to a close.

Rovers started the second half with a substitution bringing on Owen Scattergood in place of Corie Cole as they looked to get higher up the pitch.

Minutes into the second 45, Will Hollings linked up with Tom Henson as the latter crossed in from the right towards Scattergood but the substitute’s outstretched boot just saw the ball whisker past and go behind for a goal-kick.

The visitors then did well to defend against City’s attacks but approaching the hour mark, their work was again undone when Chadwick parried a long-range effort from the hosts’ winger into the path of already goal-scorer Cole Roberts to tap home and get the Bantams fourth and his second of the game triggering another Rovers substitution.

Alex Fletcher was brought on in place of Tom Parkinson at left-back as Rovers looked for an improved last half-hour.

Chadwick was once again called into action soon after when a brief spell of pin ball in the box required a combination of a sliding clearance and a great reaction save from the ‘keeper to briefly clear the danger.

The Bantams came back at the Rovers down the left, forcing a superb double save from Rovers’ number one, first from range and then from a close follow up as Chadwick once again showed his reactions to make sure the deficit wasn’t further extended.

Another spell of back and forth erupted with a spectacular acrobatic effort from Petch just failing to nestle in the top left corner and another sequence of blocks from Chadwick eventually seeing him keep the ball out again, this time with a triple save.

After Rovers’ defiant work at the back, the home-side again managed to add to the score sheet after the referee appeared to have blocked an attempt at tackling from Hollings allowing City’s offensive to advance up field and work the ball to Charlie Wood who turned in from a matter of yards out, getting their fifth and cueing protests from the Rovers players.

Faris Khan and Jack Raper were then both introduced for Dan Wilds and Hollings respectively in the last 10 minutes as Rovers looked for a late consolation but the Bantams defended well to see out the last exchanges to take victory and lift their trophy.

Despite losing in front of the Bradford crowd, the result saw Rovers have their final league position confirmed finishing in fifth-place with a points tally of 32, an improvement on last season’s seventh-place finish.


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