The Development Squad triumphed 4-2 over Walsall U23s in the Central League Cup at Yate Town on Tuesday afternoon.
Goals from first teamers Gavin Reilly (2), Alex Jakubiak and Sam Matthews ensured a pleasing day for Manager Chris Hargreaves.
“It was great for our boys to get a really competitive game, although it was a young Walsall side I have to say they were excellent – a very fit, dynamic team and it definitely was not an easy game.” Chris said.
“Tom [Broadbent] and Rollin [Menayese], first team lads, came off feeling like they had been in a game so, not easy but very pleased.
“Particularly in the second half, I thought there was some good creativity, I liked Sam Matthews on the right side cutting in and Cam Hargreaves on the other side doing the same, I thought they were excellent.
“I think based on the amount we created and the number of chances we had, we deserved the four goals.
“It was good in terms of confidence for Gavin [Reilly] and Alex [Jakubiak] to get on the scoresheet as well.
Despite largely dominating the game, Rovers were susceptible on the counter-attack and a couple of mistakes gave Walsall a chance to get back in the game on two occasions, whilst also wasting a number of good opportunities in attack.
However, Chris believes that can be put down to something that is out of the team’s control.
“I know everyone wants to score and impress but you just have to maybe play one final pass before the killer ball.
“There were a few things I think we were a bit rusty on but it’s hard for these lads because they’re not getting the competitive minutes they need but all in all it was pleasing.”
Chris had seven first teamers at his disposal on Tuesday and consequently a very strong starting XI.
Although this can limit the playing time of the younger lads, Chris insists it’s for the greater good of the club.
“It’s difficult sometimes because one week you have no first team lads and the next you have five, six or seven so it’s difficult to predict games going forward as you don’t know what sort of side you’re going to have.
“But that doesn’t really matter, it’s just about improving these players and offering support to the first team.
“In the end I really feel it’s sustainable for a club to keep producing its own players and by having this Development Squad programme, it might take a few years, but we could bring through some very good footballers.”