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Club News


4 April 2014

A draw and defeat for the U18s


An own goal and two more from Aaron Ward-Baptiste enabled our U-18 side to draw with Torquay United last Saturday.

“It was a strange game and we had to deal with a difficult pitch and weather conditions,” said Academy Manager Tom Curtis, “and unfortunately we found ourselves two goals down after only ten minutes, both goals being scored as a result of defensive errors on our part.

“We didn’t start the game as quickly as I would have liked, though we did show really good character to hit back to lead 3-2 before allowing Torquay to get back on level terms as a result of another defensive error.

“It was an interesting game in terms of development and I think the boys showed some real positives, especially in the way they recovered a two goal deficit. There are, though, lessons to be learned because we need to start games start better and stronger and manage the game at the end when we are in a winning position.

“Part of playing in this league and being part of that team is about development and, hopefully, the lads can learn from those mistakes and move on.”

As well as his two goals, Aaron put in an excellent performance.

“He was outstanding on the day; we do need to see a lot more consistency in his performances and I think there have been times when he will admit he’s been below par. Certainly in the last two games, though, he has been outstanding and has run really hard for the team and the effort he has put into his game has shown in his overall performance and his effectiveness in the games.”

Included in the squad were youngsters Connor Jones, Tom Fry and Alfie Kilgour.

While Tom and Alfie have already signed on as scholars for next season, Connor is a year younger but, says Tom, he’s a very accomplished player.

“By pushing some of the younger boys into the U-18 team we hope to give them the best chance of developing. The U-18 team is a competitive one but, at the same time, is also a developmental one so we want to give the young boys, who we feel are capable, a chance to experience U-18 football to aid their development.

“Connor is from U-15s, but has been playing for the U-16’s this season. He’s a player we think really highly of and although he is a central midfielder, he started this game on the left of a midfield four. He did very well and looked at home against bigger and stronger boys, which was great for him.”

Rovers: Kieran Preston, Ryan Broom, Louis Ezwele, Trey Anderson, Harrison Trueman, Jay Malpas, Aaron Ward-Baptiste, Dominic Thomas, Connor Jones (Donovan Wilson, 65), Jamie Lucas, Laurent Davis-Wilson (Tom Fry, 65).
Substitute: Alfie Kilgour

Our U-18 side travelled to Cheltenham just three days after their game at Torquay, but in spite of an outstanding goal from Laurent Davis-Wilson, they slipped to a 1-2 defeat.

“It was”, said Tom Curtis, “a very disappointing game in terms of the result.

“We needed to get some sort of points to keep us in with a chance of winning the league and although that chance has not finally gone, we have to rely on other teams slipping up.

“The situation at the top of the table is complicated somewhat because we aren’t sure if Hereford are going to withdraw from the league. If they do, then all teams who have taken points from them will lose those points, whereas we haven’t played them at all.”

Rovers made a disappointing start to the game against Cheltenham.

“Once again we conceded twice in the opening ten minutes, so perhaps we didn’t learn from the mistakes we made at Torquay!

“However the boys hit back strongly and Laurent scored an exceptional header from a Ryan Broom cross. We went on to enjoy the majority of the play, but individual errors cost us.

“Some of the younger lads were included in the squad again and, in terms of moving forward, we hope they can learn from the experience and do better in the future.”

Rovers: Kieran Preston, Ryan Broom, Louis Ezwele, Trey Anderson, Harrison Trueman, Aaron Ward-Baptiste, Jay Malpas, Dominic Thomas, Tom Fry (Connor Jones, 65), Laurent Davis-Wilson (Alfie Kilgour, 80), Donovan Wilson.

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