Rovers wejt back to the top of the Premier League 2 Division 1 with a convincing victory over Leicester City at Seagrave.
Rovers’ side was littered with quality; first teamers Corry Evans, Elliott Bennett and Bradley Dack were looking to gain match fitness, returning from their respective injuries.
The Leicester side ,in contrast, was somewhat depleted given the departure on loan of their top scorer – and former Rover – Callum Wright, who signed for Cheltenham Town earlier on Monday until the end of the season. As well, given much of their side is already out on loan lower down the English footballing pyramid, for a team already having lost five of their last six games, the match seemed a tough ask for the Foxes.
Despite this, Leicester started the much brighter of the two sides, with Hulme and Wakeling missing a few really good chances for the young Foxes early on. Given this pressure, Rovers began to drop deeper with Dack dropping back to the No. 6 position to pick the ball up in an attempt to get Rovers further up the pitch.
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Rovers then began to reap the rewards of this with a couple of half chances and they grew into the game as the first half went on, pushing the home side back into their own half.
The half settled down evenly with both sides testing each other’s keeper, with Dack twice forcing a save from Stolarczyk, while McAteer tested Eastham.
Rovers, though, ended the half the better side and took the lead seconds before the interval with McBride and Evans carrying the ball in the middle of the park, with Dack then playing a lovely through ball to Jack Vale, who calmly slotted the ball home at the near post.
Just after half time, Leicester managed to equalise with a quick long ball forward catching the Rovers backline off-guard somewhat with the ball falling kindly for Reghba, who slid the ball home from the middle of box.
Leicester’s resurgence after half time was impressive as Reghba probably should have put them 2-1 up, whilst Arlott-John also had a chance.
However, the Foxes failed to capitalise, and on 72 minutes, Rovers retook the lead. McBride made a great run down the left, picking out Dack, whose saw his attempt was saved, but with the ball bobbling about, Joe Nolan was on hand to slot home from 6 yards out.
As the second half wore on with tired legs, the game became more stretched making it very end to end, with Rovers and Leicester both feeling they should have scored. Pennant forced a really smart save from Eastham with a powerful shot, while at the other end a sweeping counter with Vale down the left was impressively cut out by Clark.
However, less than a minute later, Rovers put the game to bed, with smart feet from Vale saw him able to pick out Dack, who hit a sweeping finish from just inside the box into the top corner, giving the keeper no chance.
Rovers to a man were brilliant, Dan Pike was once again menacing from right full-back while the attackers of Vale, McBride and Brennan caused all kinds of problems for the Leicester defence. Bradley Dack’s impressive performance during his first competitive full 90 minutes since December 2019 is a welcomed bonus as he starts to come back to full fitness.
Rovers, therefore, go a point clear at the top of Premier League 2 Division 1, having played thirteen games ahead of second-placed Tottenham who have played fourteen games, while Man City sit third, three points off Rovers having played twelve games.
Rovers though, once again, showed the quality they have in abundance at U23 level as they sit top of Premier League 2 Division One above established Premier League big hitters. Next up for Rovers is an away trip to take on Manchester United on Friday evening.
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