Academy U18 side in 2-2 draw at Forest Green
December 11, 2018
The Bristol Rovers Supporters Club-aponaored U18s came from behind to record a 2-2 draw away at Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.
The U18’s stretched their unbeaten run to four games on the weekend, as goals from Zain Walker and Harry Warwick helped the young Rovers side register a 2-2 draw against Forest Green Rovers.
“Following last weekend’s spirited fightback against top of the table Oxford United, we travelled to face Forest Green Rovers, who themselves had a decent result against Exeter last weekend,” explained Tom Parrinello.
“Forest Green always make it difficult and awkward with the way they play and we were expecting another tight game on a tight pitch in poor conditions. In fairness, that is exactly what we got. A game in which both teams lacked real quality to open each other up and there wasn’t really any consistent control of possession throughout the entire game.
“It was a scrappy, stop-start affair on a poor pitch in poor conditions, and quite often a poor watch, and it would be a game to do the ugly side of the game better than the opposition and whoever did that would win it. In a drab first half where we did have a couple of chances to go in front, we conceded right on the stroke of half-time from a set piece which again we didn’t defend the first contact and the second ball well enough.
“We went 2-0 down from yet another corner, our 4th goal conceded from a set piece out of the last five. It’s frustrating because in open play we look fairly solid and difficult to break down, but the lack of concentration and the failure to organise quicker when the ball goes dead is something the players need to rectify and quickly as set pieces are a massive part of the game.
“Just like last week the players showed a fantastic reaction to dig in, stick together and managed to drag themselves back into a game in which they looked dead and buried. A fantastic through ball from Mason Raymond released Harry Warwick through on goal and he halved the deficit with 22 minutes to go.
“Another good move on 73 minutes saw Zain Walker exchange passes with Ollie Hulbert, with the latter standing up an excellent cross from the right for Zain to convert at the back post with a diving header. From there it looked like we would go on and get the winner which unfortunately we weren’t able to do.
“But yet again the boys showed great character at 2-0 down and great bravery with the change of formation to get on the front foot and managed to dig themselves out of another hole. On one hand, it is great to see the spirit and togetherness within the group to have that belief and character to do that and nick a an unlikely point, but on the other hand we came away from the game with a real sense of disappointment, largely due to the fact that why wait until the game is nearly gone before starting to play.
“If they would have started at the tempo they finished at then they would have taken three points from the game. Ultimately it is a point gained from another losing position which shows fantastic character which takes our unbeaten run to 4 games now.
“The impact of the substitutes Kieran Phillips, Mason Raymond and George Fowler were excellent when they came on, they had a real impact on the game and were massive plusses for us to take forward as well as Lucas Tomlinson making his first start in 8 months after a long term injury.
“We also finished the game with 2 recognised defenders on the pitch, in a very new and untried system, to which the boys took too very well. The last 22 minutes is the standards that we expect to see from this group of players because they were brilliant during that final period of the game. For whatever reason, the first 68 minutes passed them by and they didn’t really get going, and so improving that consistency is again something we need to work on.”
Rovers: Harry Thomas-Barker, Luca Hoole, Levi Paul, Tom Mehew (c), Scott Isherwood, Luc Noble, Lucas Tomlinson, Joe Budd, Ollie Hulbert, Harry Warwick, Zain Walker
Subs: Graeme Anderson, Kieran Phillips, Sam Heal, George Fowler, Mason Raymond