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Academy

REPORT | Rovers U18s 2 Mansfield U18s 2

6 March 2023

Academy

REPORT | Rovers U18s 2 Mansfield U18s 2

6 March 2023

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Rovers U18s came from behind twice at the Hoober Homes Elite Performance Centre as they took a share of the spoils late on against Mansfield Town.

A goal before the break through Harry Wood and one after from Will Flint meant previous finishes from Mansfield’s Alfie King and Ronnie Kokkinos were cancelled out at the final whistle.

The result sees the youth team keep intact their season-long unbeaten streak at Cantley Park, while also making it six games without loss in the EFL Youth Alliance League.

The visitors got play underway and both teams looked to assert early dominance but the first chance went the way of the Stags.

The away side got forward well down the left wing and crossed in a dangerous looking ball, but as inviting as it looked, Charlie Petch was there to thump it away with his head and clear Rovers’ lines.

Eight minutes in, the hosts worked the ball over to the left hand side and U16 Sam Brown managed to get a shot off at the near post but, despite getting his effort on target, the opposition ‘keeper got down well and saved.

The next period of play saw a contest in the middle of the park erupt but in the 19th minute, Mansfield came forward and had a shot saved by Jacob Bryant only to see the block fall straight into the path of King to place home and take the lead.

Over the next third of an hour, Wood had a header saved at the near post, Tom Parkinson struck the post with a long distance strike and Brown saw a one-on-one saved but the equaliser would come soon enough.

With three minutes of the opening half to play, Parkinson picked up the ball from a corner and crossed it back in only to see Jack

Goodman’s flick on saved but the ball dropped for Wood at the far right post and he was left to put it in the back in the net to see Rovers head into the interval level.

The hosts got the second-half underway and looked to have started the brightest when Faris Khan fired a free kick at goal from the edge of the box, but the Stags ‘keeper saved it and minutes later the visitors took the lead again.

Mansfield’s Finn Flanagan fired a ball across goal and Kokkinos was there on hand to finish into the bottom corner to see Rovers trailing for the second time in the game.

In the ten minutes following the goal, Frank Sinclair utilised his bench, bringing on four substitutions as the youth team searched for another equaliser with Will Green, Kasper Williams, Josh Lindley and Jack Raper replacing Harry Wood, Charlie Petch, Sam Brown and Justin Bennett respectively.

However, into the last quarter of an hour, Bryant was the shot-stopper called into action as he needed to get in the way of an effort from the edge of the box and he did well to stop the deficit being extended.

Sinclair then threw his last roll of the dice with Owen Scattergood replacing Khan and it proved to be the change that would help Rovers to get back on level terms again.

In the last minute of the 90, substitutes linked up as Raper put a ball in the box that found Scattergood and he knocked it down for Flint to tap home at the far post and restore parity with just stoppage time to play.

Rovers then pushed for a late winner but a resolute Mansfield side stood in their way and the youth team were forced to settle for a draw and an important point on home soil.

Sinclair’s side will now look to combat yet another short turn around as Rovers U18s look to extend their unbeaten EFL Youth Alliance League run with a trip to Bradford City on Tuesday, March 7.


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