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REPORT | Harrogate U18s 5 Rovers U18s 2

3 October 2022


REPORT | Harrogate U18s 5 Rovers U18s 2

3 October 2022

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Rovers U18s fell to their first defeat of the season as they were beaten by Harrogate Town at York St. John University.

Goals from Will Green and Chris Pooley either side of the break would not prove to be enough for Rovers on the road as Finn O’Boyle and Brad Williams scored twice each for the hosts with another success coming from Mani Ilesanmi.

The game saw U16 goalkeeper Shay Buxton make his debut for the youth team with both Jake Oram and Tom Chambers missing out through injury.

Faris Khan got play underway in North Yorkshire for Rovers and it would only take five minutes for the visitors to get their first chance of the game.

Max Adamson battled well in the air to feed the ball into Harry Wood, leaving the midfielder to take on a volley from long range but his effort would curl just wide of the mark to deny the visitors from taking an early lead.

The play broke into a cagey affair with both sides having chances to break the deadlock but it would be the hosts to find the breakthrough on the 17th minute.

The Sulphurites broke down the left hand side on the counter attack and looked to get a cross in for their target man only to see the ball loop over Rovers’ keeper and in off the far post for O’Boyle to claim the opener.

Rovers almost found an instant reply just two minutes later through Jack Goodman as the striker rounded the keeper but he would smash his shot off the crossbar before Adamson followed up by putting the rebound wide.

Green delivered a free-kick into the box with a knock-on taking the ball beyond Town’s ‘keeper but a last-ditch acrobatic clearance off the line stopped Chad Gribble’s men from equalising.

Despite Rovers attacking pressure looking like it was taking its toll on the hosts’ defence, Harrogate would counterattack again, this time on the right wing, and drive the ball across goal into the bottom corner through Brad Williams to double their lead.

Approaching the 40 minutes mark, Harry Wood then won his side a free-kick in a promising position which Green stepped up to and hammered into the top right corner, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance as the deficit was halved.

The difference between the two sides would however be restored to what it was on the stroke of half-time as Harrogate utilised the counter attack once more and crossed in for Ilesanmi to slot home as Rovers went into the break two goals behind.

With the start of the second half came a change of formation and with it, a change in personnel with Adamson and Green making way for Tom Parkinson and Chris Pooley as Rovers looked to get back into the game.

Despite Rovers’ efforts, the home side would go on to extend their lead.

Harrogate came forward with the ball for it to break for Williams to drive into the bottom left from the right hand side to get his second and his side’s fourth goal of the game.

Ten minutes later Town would find themselves reduced to ten men as Ilesanmi was shown his second yellow card and in turn a red after been given numerous warnings by the referee.

Captain Jak Whiting would see a shot cruelly bounce off the crossbar as Gribble made his remaining changes bringing on Freddie Allen and Justin Bennett for Charlie Petch and Josh Lindley respectively.

With 80 minutes played, Rovers finally capitalised on their man advantage as Pooley made contact at the far post after Flint swung a cross in from the right hand side and put the ball in the back of the net to reduce the arrears to two goals.

Those arrears would then become three goals again almost instantly as O’Boyle cut inside on the left and curled an effort beyond Buxton and into the bottom right corner to bag a brace and give Harrogate five goals on the day.

Substitute Allen then had the ball in the back of the net with a superb headed effort nestling in the top right but the referee deemed the defender to have fouled a Town player in the process as the goal was disallowed.

There would then be another dismissal for the home side as another attacker went through the back of the Whiting, forcing him to collide with the perimeter fence, resulting in a straight red card for the offender but it would be too late in the day for the two man advantage to aid Rovers as they were defeated for the first time in the 2022/23 season.

Rovers U18s will look to bounce back from their disappointing display on the road as they prepare for cup football at Lincoln City on matchday two of the Professional Development League Cup on Saturday, October 8.

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