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Academy

REPORT | Rovers U18s 3 Lincoln U18s 2

15 March 2023

Academy

REPORT | Rovers U18s 3 Lincoln U18s 2

15 March 2023

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Rovers U18s came from two goals down to take a vital three points against Lincoln City in the EFL Youth Alliance League.

The Imps scored two goals in quick succession during the first-half but goals from Jak Whiting, Will Flint and Jack Goodman ensured the comeback was complete on home soil.

The result secures Frank Sinclair’s side’s qualification for this season’s Champions Merit League and sees Rovers return to winning ways after a spell of two games without a win.

Faris Khan got play underway on a very crisp Tuesday morning in Doncaster and the hosts were straight into their style, attempting to break the visitors down but, with neither team finding an opening, the first 25 minutes went by without any real chances.

That was until Freddie Allen worked well down the left-hand-side, put a ball into the near post and Justin Bennett steered it towards the top left corner, but the ‘keeper reacted well and stopped it from going in at the last.

Just moments later, Allen nearly found himself on the scoresheet when he met Alex Fletcher’s dangerous cross at the back post but, just like the first chance, the keeper jumped into action and used his feet to prevent a Rovers opener from point-blank range.

The youth team looked to be in control of the tie over the first half an hour but on the 31st minute, Lincoln countered down the right-hand side and fired a shot in at the near post to beat Jacob Bryant and take an unlikely lead.

Rovers then looked for an immediate response, and seemed to be crafting one, only to see City counter again and smartly execute a cross from the left with a neat volley into the back of the net to double their lead and leave Rovers with work to do.

Knowing that the scoreline at the time would have seen Lincoln leapfrog Rovers in the table, the hosts set about finding a reaction and just before the break they found it.

On the 44th minute, Rovers swung in a deep free kick from the left and Charlie Petch climbed highest to nod the ball back into the goalmouth where skipper Jak Whiting slotted it home to see the deficit halved going into the interval.

With the opening 20 minutes of the second half came Frank Sinclair’s first two substitutions as he replaced Justin Bennett and Will Green with Jack Raper and Owen Scattergood respectively, with an equalising goal still yet to be found.

However, it was the visitors who nearly found the next goal as their counter-attacking theme continued and they found two great opportunities, but one was dragged wide and the other was expertly cut out by a last-ditch Rovers’ tackle.

The hosts then ramped up the pressure on the front foot and with fifteen minutes left on the clock, it paid off.

Raper put in a wicked corner from the right-hand side and caused confusion so big that it left Flint free to pop up and force the ball over the line as the linesman gave the goal that put Rovers level.

Sinclair used his final change to bring Harry Wood on in place of Faris Khan, with the former looking for redemption after his red card in the FA Youth Cup earlier this season.

Just two minutes later though, the red card was brandished again and this time it was awarded to a Lincoln defender after he fouled Scattergood for a second bookable offence.

Now with an extra man, Rovers searched for a winner and there was a sense of inevitability that a third goal was coming – and it did, on the 85th minute.

Another corner was put in and headed out, but Goodman controlled the ball with his knee, put it on his right foot and smashed a shot from just over 20 yards out straight into the top-right corner.

Rovers then stood tall and soaked up the Imps’ pressure in the last few minutes to see out the remainder of the game and take an important three points in the EFL Youth Alliance League.

Frank Sinclair’s side will now look to build a run off the back of their latest win as the youth team take on their final home game of the regular season against Rotherham United, at the Hoober Homes Elite Performance Centre, on Saturday March 18.


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