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"Second half was really pleasing, the reaction was even more pleasing and it gives us something to build on"

Under-18s Coach Tom Parrinello speaks following his side's 3-1 defeat to AFC Bournemouth.

30 January 2018

Academy coach Tom Parrinello was pleased with the second-half performance of his players in Tuesday's loss to AFC Bournemouth, after finding themselves 3-0 down at the break.

The Gas youngsters managed to pull one back through Lucas Tomlinson, arguably Rovers' best player of the game, in a much improved 45 minutes than the initial period that saw them fall three goals behind.

Whilst Tom was disappointed with the first-half showing from his players, he believes their response following the break was admirable.

"We had some stern words at half-time and the reaction was exceptional and I think that shows, similarly to last week [against Cheltenham], a bit of resilience and mental toughness," Tom said.

"Second half was really pleasing, the reaction was even more pleasing and gives us something to build on."

Despite the improvement after the break, the three-goal deficit was always going to prove difficult to overturn, particularly against a good side such as AFC Bournemouth.

Tom admitted Tuesday's opponents were always going to be tough, but was displeased with the way in which they were allowed to race in front.

"It wasn't an ideal way to start a game obviously, especially frustrating that two goals came from set pieces.

"They're a good side and if you're going to concede against them you expect to be cut open but they didn't and instead we conceded from two set pieces.

"You can't give any team a head start, especially when you play good sides and Bournemouth are a good side.

"It's too much to make-up and you can have the best second-half in the world but you're 3-0 down."

In spite of the defeat, Rovers Under-18s still made it into the Merit League after finishing in the top-half of the EFL Youth Alliance division.

The league will present some new fixtures and new challenges that Tom is looking forward to.

"It's always nice to play some different teams; MK Dons are in there, Southend and Dagenham are in there.

"Some long trips but it's different challenges and the two or three seasons we've struggled going into the Merit League so it'll be good for us to see where we are."

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