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Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 2 Everton U21 0

19 September 2023

Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 2 Everton U21 0

19 September 2023

Rovers got their EFL Trophy campaign off to a strong start with a 2-0 win over game Everton U21.

Louie Marsh netted his first career goal on his maiden senior start to put Rovers ahead in the second half before substitute Harrison Biggins made sure of the triumph.

Rovers had the much the better of the opportunities throughout but were given a tough examination by the technically sound young Toffees, particularly in the first half.

Grant McCann made six changes from the side that started the weekend win at Forest Green Rovers. Tommy Rowe captained the side in the midst of his competition-specific three match ban while Marsh, Deji Sotona, Tyler Roberts, Ben Close and Bobby Faulkner also came in.

Mo Faal sent a header off the post in the early stages while Rowe fired the follow-up over the bar.

Everton were lively on the break and looked to release Katia Kouyate at every opportunity, resulting in some moments of threat and well as an intriguing battle between the winger and Faulkner.

But while the visitors moved the ball through midfield well, it was Rovers who made the stronger impression in the final third.

Rowe slid in a pass for Sotona who cannoned a shot off the crossbar midway through the half.

Sotona looked to catch out Billy Crellin by drilling a free kick towards the near post but a combination of the Everton keeper and the woodwork kept out the effort.

Halid Djankpata sent a header off target as Everton threatened, sparking a mini period of strong pressure from the visitors.

Kouyate cut inside from the right and curled for the far post but Faulkner produced a timely header to send the ball over the bar and clear from danger.

Rovers arguably should have taken the lead in first half stoppage time. Faulkner took the opportunity to race into space on the right and cut an excellent pass back to Marsh who swept a shot on target but was denied by Crellin.

Rovers emerged stronger for the second half and had a strangehold on proceedings after the break.

And they made it count on 58 minutes. Faal laid off to Roberts, who scuffed the ball in to the path of Marsh to stroke into the bottom corner.

Substitute Luke Molyneux almost doubled the advantage just after the hour mark as he flashed a shot across goal after racing inside.

And Molyneux sent a dipping effort just over and onto the roof of the net moments later.

The impressive Crellin pushed away a low cross from Tom Nixon that was begging to be turned home as Rovers continued to pile on the pressure.

Marsh grew in confidence and produced a brilliant save from the Everton keeper after dancing inside and curling a shot towards the top corner.

But the lead was doubled on 82 minutes. Biggins weaved into space 20 yards out and slammed a low shot into the corner of the goal.

Rovers saw out the game in comfort to ensure a winning start to their Northern Group H campaign.

Rovers: Jones, Bailey, Olowu, Faulkner, Roberts (Molyneux 62), Close (Biggins 71), Broadbent (Westbrooke 71), Rowe, Sotona (Nixon 62), Faal (Goodman 78), Marsh. Subs not used: Bottomley, Flint.

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