Rovers U18s experienced a disappointing day on the road as they fell to defeat at the hands of Scunthorpe United in the EFL Youth Alliance League.
Leading goal scorer Jack Goodman netted either side of the break for the visitors, but a Harrison Poulter hat-trick, a Tyrell Sellars-Fleming brace and efforts from Charley Strouther and Nathaniel Wallace saw the hosts take a comfortable three points.
The result means the record between the two sides this season sees a win each with Rovers having taken victory at Cantley Park earlier this season.
The Iron got the game underway in North Lincolnshire and threatened immediately as they won a freekick on the edge of the box that was met by a header in the goal mouth, only to see the ball over the crossbar but it didn’t take much longer before the first goal went in.
Five minutes in, the home side came forward and worked the ball out to the left where Strouther carried the ball to give himself enough room to drill a shot across goal and into the bottom corner, giving Jake Oram little chance and the deadlock was broken.
Over the next 25 minutes, Rovers worked themselves into the game as they enjoyed spells of possession down the wings and created a number of chances but none really troubled the keeper with the best effort seeing Goodman put the ball into the side netting.
Just past the half-hour mark, Scunthorpe turned defence into attack in rapid fashion to see the ball fall to Sellars-Fleming to open his account for the day from a matter of yards out by calmy slotting home to double his side’s lead.
The ten minutes after that saw Rovers create the best of their chances, the first of which saw Goodman win a penalty just inside the box to then step up and fire the ball beyond the gloves of the Scunthorpe stopper to net his 10th goal of the season and half the deficit.
The talisman thought he had struck level for his side in the very next minute as he rounded the keeper and stroked the ball home but as he turned away to celebrate, the linesman’s flag was raised, and it was deemed to be offside.
Rovers looked to be the team more likely to score next but in the dying minutes, a route one ball from the back found its way to Poulter who smartly dinked the ball in to score his first of the game and Scunthorpe’s third as they entered the break two goals to the good.
The visitors started the second half brightly with Freddie Allen having an effort saved but were still looking for a second goal as substitutions were made seeing Alex Fletcher, Max Adamson and Will Green replace Will Flint, Harry Wood and Chris Pooley respectively.
Adamson almost made an immediate impact with an effort deflected and saved but on the 69th minute, the hosts extended their lead when Poulter stepped up from the penalty spot and placed the ball into the empty side of the net to get his second.
Then in the 77th minute, Poulter received the ball in the box through the middle to slot home, seal a hat-trick and give the home side a fifth.
Faris Khan made way for Owen Scattergood and Charlie Petch picked up a yellow card before Rovers found a late consolation.
With five minutes of normal time left to play, Scattergood brought the ball forward to link up with Adamson who was able to flick on for Goodman to drill in from close range to get his second of the game and 11th of the 2022/23 season.
Green then almost got on the scoresheet with a long-range effort but it was saved and after soaking up the pressure, the ball was played through the visitors defence and finished off by Wallace to get the 6th Scunthorpe goal.
The Iron weren’t finished there and in the last minute of stoppage time, a deep ball was headed into the goal mouth from the back post for Sellars-Fleming to prod home, bag his brace and add the finishing goal.
The youth team will now look to regroup as they take a break from league action to face the challenge of qualification and a trip to Barnsley in the Professional Development League Cup on Saturday, December 3.