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U16s

Rovers 'v' Woodford. 20/11/19

(Mark Arneil 21/01/2019)
After last week's excellent Cheshire Cup game, which disappointingly saw Rovers exit on penalties, they were now looking to take a step to putting up a fight for 2nd place in the league against Woodford who are currently sitting in 2nd spot.
Based on previous games, this was always going to be a physical battle and Rovers had to be disciplined.
Rovers soon found themselves with a up hill task ahead as Woodford took an early lead when the left winger cut inside and fired past F.Evans in goal.

Rovers soon got in to the game, knowing when they had a good pitch to play on, their football would shine through.
Negus was unlucky not to level the scores when an excellent ball from Riley saw him round the keeper only to find the side netting from a tight angle with his weaker foot.
Woodford were also threatening to increase there lead but the back four of Walton, Johnston, Hopkins and Moreno stood firm, and Johnston it was who produced a very important block.
The midfield of J.Evans breaking things up and the intelligence of Statham were now getting and grip on the game and Riley playing just behind the front man Wedgbury had his 1st sighter on goal when he flashed a shot wide.
Woodford should have gone 2 up when the ball landed to the striker but F.Evans in goal made himself big and forced the shot to go over.

Now Reardon was starting to get on to the game and fashioned a shot which was deflected over.
Rovers were really looking for the equaliser and surely it wasn't too far away, and Statham had a chance but again he couldn't find the target.
A lovely piece of skill from Riley on the right taking him past two players, resulted in a sweet 1-2 between Riley and Wedgbury. Riley then hit the return on the half volley from the edge of the area and it rocketed into the top corner to level things up.

Rovers were now the only team looming like scoring now, and a Negus cross from the right was slightly too high for Riley who couldn't quite grow another inch and control his header.
Rovers didn't have to wait too much longer to take the lead when Negus cut out a goal kick and played in Wedgbury. Wedgbury took then ball in his stride, wrong footed the defender and calmly found the corner to take a 2-1 lead.
To score was soon 3-1 when Riley, who was now dominating the midfield, out muscled his counterpart and unleashed a long range effort giving the keeper no chance as the ball flew in to the top corner.
There was one more chance before half time. This time Riley turned provider and found Statham who had worked his magic in the box, but unfortunately saw his shot saved.

Half time 3-1

Three changes at half time for Rovers F.Evans was replaced by Sharpe in goal, Wedgbury made way for Edwards and Moreno was replaced by Simpson.
Rovers started the second half how the finished the first.
Negus was pulled back on the edge of the area and the resulting free kick was drilled in to the box and Riley cleverly flicked the ball goal wards but was it hacked off the line, with a last ditch Woodford challenge.

Woodford were now starting the become frustrated and many challenges were leaving a lot to be desired. This is where Rovers just had to carry on playing football and not react to the style of play against them, which they did superbly.
Riley was brought down about 30 yards out and made no mistake with the free kick, curling the ball into the back of the net, making it 4-1.

Rovers almost let Woodford back in to the game through a rare mix up at the back but got away with it.
Soon enough the game was surely over when Reardon's desire and skill found Edwards who produced a brilliant finish in to the top corner. 5-1.
Woodford made it 5-2 soon after with a quite brilliant volley giving Sharpe no chance.

With yet another free kick to Rovers in an advanced position, Negus floated the ball over towards Riley who was pulled down resulting in a penalty. Riley calmly stepped up and tucked in to the bottom left corner. Negus was causing all kinds of trouble down the right and a lovely through ball from Riley, saw him burst in to the box only to see his shot saved.

Two more Rovers changes saw four goal Riley replaced by Wedgbury and the solid Walton replaced by Moreno.
Edwards was again on the score sheet when some excellent work by Wedgbury and Statham, resulted in a quite exquisite pass by Statham to Edwards who found the forward, so he could finish into the bottom corner. 7-2.
One more goal arrived before the end when Moreno, Statham and Wedgbury played some excellent football to find Reardon who wrapped up the scoring for the day, with a wonderfully composed finish.

Full time 8-2.

Not only was this an excellent result, it was the way Rovers didn't rise to the intimidation that was so impressive.
Roy of the Rovers performance goes to Adam Johnston.