McBride penalty earns U23s draw with Brighton

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Connor McBride’s second-half penalty earned Rovers U23s a point at home to Brighton and Hove Albion on Friday afternoon.

The forward scored his 12th goal of the Premier League 2 season from the spot with just seven minutes left on the clock, cancelling out Ben Wilson’s early strike.

With the U18s in action less than 24 hours later, Billy Barr rested both Jake Garrett and Lenni Cirino, with Sam Barnes and Stefan Mols coming into the side – with the latter making his first appearance since the draw with Manchester United back in October – whilst Antonis Stergiakis replaced Jordan Eastham between the sticks.

The visitors took control early on and should have as Jack Wakely hooked a corner back into the box and Ed Turns somehow only hit the crossbar from close range. However, Brighton did take the lead just minutes later as Wilson tapped home from close range.

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Wilson came close from 45 yards out, catching Stergiakis off his line but the effort went just wide of the goal, before the Greek ‘keeper denied Wilson again as he met a cross from the right.

Rovers came out stronger in the second half as McBride was played through on goal, but Carl Rushworth did well to deny the Scottish forward.

McBride got his goal just seven minutes from time as Sam Burns was fouled in the box, and up stepped the Scottish forward to finish from the spot.

Sam Burns had the chance to add to his already impressive tally since the turn of the year, but was denied by Rushworth and the Brighton defenders on a couple of occasions.

Rovers couldn’t find a winner, leaving them four points behind league leaders Manchester City, who face Chelsea this afternoon.

Billy Barr’s side are back in action on Monday 12 April, when they make the trip to the Pure Stadium to take on Everton U23s.

Rovers: Stergiakis, Pike, Saadi, Barnes (c), Annesley, Whitehall, Mols, Nolan (Wharton 80′), Durrant (Fyles 80′), McBride, Burns.

Subs not used: Eastham, Gamble, Ferguson.

Follow our account dedicated to Rovers’ U23 and U18 sides. All the latest updates, news and match content will be posted there before anywhere else so make sure you’re following: @academy_rovers.

We are hosting a special live stream on Tuesday 27 July to raise some much needed funds for our charity partner 'Sporting Minds UK', who provide much needed mental health support for sportspeople.

There are plenty of prizes up for grabs, including a signed pair of boots from Elliott Bennett and signed shirts from John Buckley and Joe Rothwell.

To donate, please visit rcdonate.com and give whatever you can to help support this wonderful cause. Thank you.

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