Rovers U18s returned to winning ways in the EFL Youth Alliance League Cup with a thrashing of Huddersfield Town at the Miller Oils High Performance Complex.
A opening half brace from Kenneth Imariagbe followed by goals from Deshaun Musgrave-Dore and Will Green saw Frank Sinclair’s side claim their first maximum in group three.
With results elsewhere, the youth team’s victory blew their group wide open with Rovers sitting just three points off the summit with two games remaining.
Rovers looked to get off to a fast start in West Yorkshire and almost got a goal inside the opening two minutes when Will Green’s free kick found an unmarked Freddie Allen in the goalmouth but his first time effort was plucked out of the top left corner by the keeper’s outstretched hand.
The youngsters didn’t have to wait long though to take the lead as Kasper Williams pumped a long ball forward and Imariagbe beat both his marker and the keeper to leave the goal at his mercy and drill home after 13 minutes.
With a spring in their step, Rovers continued on the front foot and soon enough it paid off.
Imariagbe received Green’s throw-in, turned his man and beautifully curled the ball beyond the keeper’s grasp down to his left-hand side to suddenly give his side a two goal lead after just 16 minutes.
Firmly in control of the game, Green and Harry Wood continued to pepper the opposition goal but the Terriers keeper held firm.
In an attempt to combat the sweltering heat, both sides enjoyed a water break before Huddersfield tried to find a route back into the game – unsuccessfully.
The hosts tried to work down the wings but every cross was swept up by Rovers’ back line and the visitors went into the interval with a two goal lead and the game firmly in their control.
At the start of the second half, Town continued their pursuits down the flanks but lacked the final product as Jacob Bryant was afforded the opportunity to show off his array of catching talent.
Two minutes either side of the hour mark, Sinclair made his first changes with Jaiden Campbell-Ryce and Harry Wood making way for Musgrave-Dore and Jamie Tomlinson.
Green then found himself with a narrow free kick on the right hand side and he looked to have caught the hosts by surprise but the ‘keeper got down well to bat the ball away at the near post.
Another water break went by and with Rovers still pinning the hosts on the back foot, the youth team made more changes as Rhomani Murray and Harry Glaves were introduced in place of Imariagbe and Chris Pooley for the last quarter of an hour.
In the 85th minute, Musgrave-Dore showed great determination to pick the ball up close to the halfway line and drove forward to the edge of the box before slamming the ball into the top right corner to open his competitive account for Rovers U18s.
Rovers then showed yet another of their training ground routines as a free kick was worked down the right wing and swung onto the head of Jacob Bacon but his luck was just out and the ball bounced off the top-side of the crossbar.
With the steam now knocked out of the young Terriers side, the youth team showed their ruthless edge as they worked the ball inside from the right for Green to shift onto his right foot and pick out the top left corner with an astonishing finish for Rovers’ fourth success of the game.
Sinclair’s side then controlled the final knockings of the game to take a well-deserved first win of the season.
Rovers U18s will now turn their attentions back to EFL Youth Alliance League action as they meet Huddersfield Town once again but this time at the Hoober Homes Elite Performance Centre on Saturday, September 16.