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Match Reports

Development Squad Lose Out in Central League Encounter

MK Dons U23s 2 - 0 Rovers

13 March 2018

A much-changed Development Squad fell to a 2-0 Central League defeat away to MK Dons.

Chris Hargreaves was forced into a number of changes which included the introduction of academy players Liam Armstrong, Josh Bailey and James Spruce.

The game began at a fast intensity with both sides eager to regain possession quickly, consequently winning Rovers a deep free kick that was clipped in by Bailey and met by Alfie Kilgour, but saved comfortably.

New signing Kris Owens got in early down the left and flashed a low cross across the box that Spruce nearly got onto, but was crowded out by defenders.

MK Dons best chance came soon after, Sam Nombe with a great opportunity in the centre of the goal but he hit well over.

The Dons then took an early when Armstrong came rushing out of his goal to clear a long ball over the top but missed his clearance and allowed Nombe to tap into an empty net.

Trialist had been getting in on occasion down the right side, cutting a useful ball back to Cameron Hargreaves on the edge of the box but the midfielder blazed over just after 20 minutes

The trialist in the ranks of the Development Squad for the fixture then had a good opportunity himself at the back post after Michael Kelly had picked him out, but he couldn't control his strike.

In the 34th minute, the game was brought to a prolonged pause after Ben Morgan sadly had to be stretchered off and taken to hospital after clashing heads with an MK player.

Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist came on in place of the injured Morgan and was straight into the action, pinging a ball over the defence for Spruce to chase but he couldn't get a shot away.

The midfielder continued to be involved and even had the ball in the net, turning it home from a corner only for it flagged for a foul by the officials.

Rovers were looking dangerous from corners and once again almost pulled level from one, this time Bailey ghosting in at the near post and looking to guide the ball goalwards with his instep but his effort was just over.

Five minutes into the second half and The Dons looked likely to add another as Connor Furlong beared down on goal from the right and was denied superbly a last ditched Kilgour block.

Leigh-Gilchrist had really made a difference since his introduction, and 10 minutes into the second half cut inside from the right and angled a great effort from outside the box just wide of the mark.

Despite the promise, Rovers found themselves 2-0 down on 62 minutes and it was another moment to forget for Armstrong as he had his clearance closed down by Charlie Pattison and freakishly ricochets off the Dons man and into the net.

Hargreaves Snr. then immediately made his second change, bringing on Lucas Tomlinson for Cameron Ebutt.

Rovers rattled the post soon after the substitution, as Leigh-Gilchrist again came close after he followed in Trialist's scuffed effort.

The final change for the visitors was 10 minutes from time, with Connor Jones on to replace the trialist.

Rovers were pressing for a route back into the game, and Spruce almost gave them one after neat control on the right side of the box before shooting across goal and only narrowly missing the target.

Rovers XI: Liam Armstrong (GK), Josh Bailey, Alfie Kilgour, Ben Morgan (Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist, 34), Michael Kelly, Luke Russe, Cameron Hargreaves, Kris Owens, Trialist (Connor Jones, 81), Cameron Ebbutt (Lucas Tomlinson, 62), James Spruce.

Unused Subs: Jonkerman (GK).

MK Dons XI: Alfie Jones, Matt Sorinola, Ben Tilney, Nigel Reo-Coker, Finn Tapp, Tommy Hope, Connor Furlong, David Kasumu, Sam Nombe, Gio Rasulo, Hugo Logan.

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