Development Squad hit seven
March 20, 2018
In a first half of complete dominance, Tom Nichols opened the scoring 15 minutes in with a deft finish, before Cameron Hargeaves powered home almost immediately after, followed by a Dom Telford goal and a Kris Owens brace; his first goals for the Development Squad.
The second half continued in similar fashion and a sixth was added by Telford, a superb right footed volley, before the on-loan Stoke City man completed the scoring and his hat-trick inside the last 10 minutes with a curling strike.
There were four first team players involved from the outset, with Marc Bola, Bernard Mensah, Nichols and Telford all getting minutes under their belts.
Rovers started the game very much in the ascendency, with both Telford and Nichols having similar powerful driven effort’s from the edge of the area parried away by the keeper, within the first five minutes.
Telford who has so often proved such a threat when playing for the Development Squad, seemed once again in the mood, with another half chance as he slightly misfired a left foot volley from a Bola cross.
Rovers’ press soon paid off, as on the 15th minute Mensah turned on the style down the right skippng past two defenders and crossing before Nichols was alert to a scuffed clearance to cutely flick the ball into the corner.
A minute later and the lead was doubled, Hargreaves Jnr. driving a well hit low effort beyond the keeper and into the bottom left corner.
Chris Hargreaves’ side took up an even more commanding position five minutes later, making it three as Telford pounced on a defensive area to head in in Mensah’s lobbed pass.
Andre Alexis had been largely unbusy until the 30th minutes when Forest Green got through on goal, with their striker one on one with Rovers’ stopper but he produced a fine reaction save to keep the score at 3-0.
He was tested again a couple minutes later, equal to a well hit strike from distance.
With little under 10 minutes left until the break, Rovers’ lead was increased once more as Kris Owens fired home Telford’s deflected strike at the back post after he was found with a great ball over the top from Nichols.
Not long after Owens’ grabbed his brace with outstanding finish, lifting the ball over the onrushing keeper from 30 yards after he’d latched onto Alexis’ long kick.
After the break the game continued to be open for Rovers and Nichols had an immediate chance as he went one on one with the keeper, but was denied by a firm stop.
Another goal seemed almost inevitable and it came just before the hour mark as Bola lifted a cross towards Telford from the right, the striker set himself and controlled a superb right foot volley into the bottom corner leaving the keeper with no chance.
Hargreaves Snr. made a double change not long after, bringing on two trialists in place of Bola and Mensah.
There was a third change five minutes later, with Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis replacing Luke Russe in the middle of the park.
The substitute even had an opportunity to score soon after his introduction, but could only head over from close range after meeting Michael Kelly’s corner.
Rhys Kavanagh was handed the final 15 minutes up top, coming on for Nichols.
Telford had been a threat all afternoon and looked eager for his hat-trick and he got exactly that inside the final 10 minutes, curling home from the edge of the box after he was found by Kavanagh who drove forward with the ball well.
Rovers XI: Andre Alexis (GK), Michael Kelly, Marc Bola (Trialist, 63), Alfie Kilgour, Josh Bailey, Luke Russe (Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis, 68), Cameron Hargreaves, Bernard Mensah (Trialist, 63), Kris Owens, Tom Nichols (Rhys Kavanagh, 75), Dom Telford.
Unused Subs: Thom Jonkerman (GK).