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Academy

Under-18s: Young group fail to take their chances against Rovers

7 January 2020

The under-18s were left to rue missed chances as they lost 3-1 against Bristol Rovers in the EFL Youth Alliance on Tuesday afternoon.

A young group headed to Hillside Gardens and impressed in the first half, only to see the hosts claim victory with a more clinical approach in front of goal.

Illness led to four scholars dropping out in the morning so a squad of 12 made the short trip down the M5 of which seven were members of the club's under-16s squad. Aaron Basford was the only second year scholar involved.

A positive start was rewarded when midfielder Josh Aldridge saw his pass find Callum Ebanks and the powerful forward slotted to open the scoring.

Fellow striker Zac Guinan saw his prodded attempt go over while Archie Woodall's well-hit volley was saved as the under-18s looked to build on their early dominance by finding a second goal.

They were to be left frustrated though when against the run of play Rovers turned the game on its head with two quickfire goals.

A poor clearance saw them finish inside the box to equalise, and then a long ball over the top set the head of their attack clean through and he finished well to make it 2-1.

Ebanks' low drive from 25 yards just before half time was a positive response but it was the home side who had made their chances count in the opening 45 minutes even if they hadn't enjoyed the most of possession.

After the break Charlie Paterson made a good save from a Rovers free kick, Ebanks fired a shot wide after dangerously cutting inside, and Paterson was again called upon to make a key stop from a headed effort.

Woodall saw his near post attempt saved after Ebanks had charged the hosts down inside their box, but as another chance went begging the home side extended their lead with their third and final goal.

A forward ball was picked up and the Rovers attack hammered in from close range to leave Paterson helpless.

Boss Pete Haynes changed the shape for a third occasion in the game in an attempt to find a way back into the contest.

Wing back pair Joe Hunt and Harvey Skurek teamed up for the latter to be denied with a shot that was saved, while Liam Atwell's lively forward run saw him produce a powerful effort that the Rovers 'keeper did well to push away.

UNDER-18s: C Paterson, J Hunt, H Skurek, G Clark, W Taylor, A Woodall, J Aldridge, L Atwell, A Basford (J Geddes), C Ebanks, Z Guinan


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