Professional development phase coach Frank Sinclair was pleased with his side’s response to tough conditions as they took a 3-0 win at Accrington Stanley.
Jack Goodman opened the scoring before the break with his 14th goal of the season and Will Green scored twice in the second-half to secure the three points in the first match of Sinclair’s permanent reign.
Despite taking a convincing victory at the Stanley Sports Hub, Rovers U18s were eliminated from the EFL Youth Alliance League Cup after results elsewhere didn’t fall in their favour but the youth team manager was impressed by his side.
Sinclair said: “The lads have put in a good performance and started the game really well, especially after we got a bit of belief, got the ball down and started playing our football.
“I think we enjoyed a large percentage of the possession and gained the territorial advantage in the first half, but to Accrington’s credit, they changed things at half-time and caused us slight problems.
“We had to dig deep in the second half and play on the counter for a while but it took us until the last 15 minutes really to punish them with our transitions and that’s why we got the two late goals.
“There were some great individual performances again but, the big thing was combating the conditions and we were certainly prepared for that having touched on it all week. The players showed their grit, togetherness, and that’s what got us the clean sheet and in the end a comfortable win.
“It’s a terrific start to the new year and we’ve had two really good weeks, the boys have worked really hard on their fitness and we’ve got back to how we want to be.”
With Rovers exit from the Youth Alliance League Cup confirmed, Sinclair insisted his team must carry the momentum from the Accrington result into the second half of their EFL Youth Alliance League campaign.
He added: “We have to take this performance into the league now, unfortunately we haven’t got a game this coming weekend to bounce straight into it, but the big thing for me is that we've started the new year in a good way.
"We’ve certainly still got a lot to play for this season, we’re only four points off the top of our league and we want to close that gap as well as trying our best to progress in the Professional Development League Cup.
“There’s still a lot to play for but it’s a pleasing start, a clean sheet, three goals and a good gritty performance."