Lead youth Development Phase coach Frank Sinclair takes pride out of Rovers U18s performance despite defeat to Lincoln City U18s.
The result saw Rovers bow out of the 2022/23 FA Youth Cup at the first round stage despite Jack Goodman giving the visitors an early lead.
Rovers were forced to play with a man disadvantage for the final 20 minutes after Harry Wood received a red card but Sinclair felt his side deserved credit for how they competed throughout the whole of the fixture.
He said: “I’m really proud of the lads because we kept the game in the balance until the red card and I thought we started the game really well.
“They were always going to come into the game because we know they’ve got some quality attacking players and I thought we coped with them quite well.
“They were a threat all game but I thought collectively we defended as a team really well from the front all the way to our back three.
“We took the lead early on through Jack Goodman and he deserved his goal but he was unlucky with the chance that he got in the second half where I think it’s a hand ball and a red card the other way, because he would have been one-on-one and you would back him to score in that situation so that was a really defining moment in the game.
“There has been some difficult moments but I’m really proud of the players and I’ve said to them at the end of the game they can leave with their heads held high because there are bigger things than the FA Youth Cup that these boys are trying to achieve and they are professional contracts.”
The U18s return to home comforts and league football as they take on Grimsby Town on Saturday, October 29 and Sinclair feels the team has to refocus to be ready for that test.
He added: “We have to lift ourselves because results like against Lincoln are part of football.
“They will all learn for as long as they’re in the game because we all have to deal with these disappointments.
“It’s about what you learn from it, how you react and come back from that so we’ll be straight back into it preparing for Grimsby and we’ll try to give a good account of ourselves in that game.”