Report: U23s pick up draw at fellow title-chasers Manchester City

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Sam Burns’ first Premier League 2 goal of the season helped Rovers U23s to a draw away to Manchester City U23s.

The forward gave Rovers the lead early on in the first half, before Ben Knight equalised for the hosts in the second half.

Rovers were forced to finish the game with ten men after Louie Annesley was dismissed for a foul on the last man.

Billy Barr’s side was complimented by the appearances of first-team players Tyrhys Dolan and Elliott Bennett, with the latter featuring for the first time since injury in October.

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The visitors started strongly with Dolan a lively figure down the right hand side, beating a couple of men but his effort went wide.

Billy Barr’s side got their breakthrough on 17 minutes with a lovely team goal. Bennett’s diagonal pass found Dan Pike on the right hand side, who found Dolan on the overlap, and the winger pulled the ball back for Sam Burns to finish for the opener.

Rovers continued to pile on the pressure as Dolan pulled the ball back once more, but Issac Whitehall’s strike was just wide of the post.

The hosts missed a big chance just five minutes later as a ball across saw Louie Annesley fire towards his own goal but Jordan Eastham was on hand to block it, before Callum Doyle fired over from close range.

Rovers continued to impress and have control of the match, with Dolan beating his man a couple of times on the right hand side, but nothing came of any further crosses or cut-backs before the break, leaving Rovers ahead by one.

Ben Paton almost put Rovers ahead by two within sixty seconds of the restart, wriggling his way through but his shot was saved by the City ‘keeper.

Dolan had a big chance to strike against the Academy he first signed for, but after wriggling past a couple of players, he fired straight at the ‘keeper.

The winger came close again just minutes later, but Trafford got down well to palm the effort wide.

However, it was the visitors who struck the second goal. James McAtee’s initial effort was saved by Jordan Eastham, but Ben Knight was there to tap home to level the score.

Paton came close again as his effort hit the outside of the post after finding an opening.

Rovers were forced to play the last eight minutes with ten men after Annesley was sent off for pulling Knight’s shirt as he ran through on goal.

Despite the man advantage, the hosts couldn’t take advantage, meaning the sides shared the points in an entertaining fixture.


Rovers XI: Eastham, Pike, Barnes, Annesley, Thompson, Whitehall, Bennett (Nolan 46′), Paton, Burns, Vale, Dolan

Subs Not Used: Stergiakis, Durrant, McBride, Brennan

Goals: Burns 17′

Booked: Thompson 24′

Sent Off: Annesley 82′

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