Mansell praises our U18s for their strength and character.

January 26, 2018

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Academy Coach Lee Mansell praised Rovers Under-18s for their attitude and character after they came from behind to win 3-2 against Cheltenham Town on Thursday afternoon.

The Rovers youngsters had held a 1-0 lead until the 70th minute thanks to a Ollie Hulbert goal, before a disappointing 10 minute period saw the game turn on its head and Cheltenham go 2-1 in front.

However, substitute Isiah Crawford came off the bench to score in the 84th and 94th minute to send the game back Rovers’ way and claim a dramatic victory.

Speaking after the game, coach Lee highlighted the players’ desire and resolve to win the game.

“It wasn’t the best initial 80 minutes in truth, we didn’t play a lot of decent football and it wasn’t the greatest advert for the game at youth level.” Lee said.

“Nonetheless, the boys showed terrific character and determination to suffer that disappointment of letting the lead slip, but getting back up again and turning it back around like they did.”

We want to mirror the first team because that’s the whole purpose of the academy, is to get these lads ready to play for the senior side and I saw a lot of that character from them today.”

Coming from behind to win late has been somewhat of a hallmark of Rovers’ first team of late, especially at the Mem, and there was echoes of that at the GFA on Thursday.

17-year old goalkeeper Liam Armstrong was between the sticks against Cheltenham, and made two crucial saves late in the game to keep his side in the hunt for the winner.

Shortly before that, James Spruce and the Town keeper were sent off for an altercation in the goalmouth following Crawford’s equaliser, and Liam pointed towards the side’s grit they showed amidst adversity.

“That’s what we’re all about, with the sendings off at the end as well we knew it was time to really dig deep and get a result,” Liam said.

“It’s our second win on the bounce and we’re all pleased that we stuck in the game, fought for each other and got the result in the end.”

Liam and the Under-18s will be looking to make it three wins in a row as they are back in action next Tuesday, against AFC Bournemouth at the GFA.

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