Kavanagh strike gives Development Squad victory

Apr 23, 2019 | Development squad, News

The hosts had the better of the chances, Rhys Kavanagh in particular, who scored what turned out to be the winner just under 10 minutes prior to half-time.

Wimbledon had a chance to snatch a point at the death from the spot, by Sam Slocombe produced a great save to cap off an impressive afternoon for the keeper.

Rovers deployed another strong side following last week’s win at MK Dons, with six first-teamers involved; Slocombe, Daniel Leadbitter, Alfie Kilgour, Luke Russe, Chris Lines and Stuart Sinclair.

Rhys Kavanagh had an early chance to open the scoring, as he led a sizzling breakaway down the right involving a one-two with Deon Moore that put the former in on goal, but he skewed his shot wide of the mark.

The young forward went close again, as Lines picked out Kavanagh over the top with a lovely ball, it was great control from the striker but his low finish bounced back off the upright.

AFC Wimbledon had been limited to just a few high balls into the box inside the first 15 minutes, all of which were comfortably dealt with by Kilgour and co.

Kavanagh was at it again, this time when the visiting keeper’s poor clearance was gathered by Kavanagh who tried to shoot first time whilst he is off his line but missed the target marginally.

Slocombe had a less than busy opening 30 minutes but was called into action when Kwesi Appiah met a header strongly inside the area, but the stopper held it well.

Rovers took the lead and it was no surprise to be through Kavanagh, who had been knocking on Wimbledon’s door from the off.

Link up play by Lines and Sinclair so the latter deep into the box before being met by the keeper, but the midfielder looped the ball centrally for Kavanagh who controlled on the half-volley and rifled home.

Seconds before the break, Rovers caused their opponents some problems when Lines’ deep free-kick was met at the back post by Ben Morgan and looped across goal – the keeper scrambled but managed to get it away.

Five minutes after the interval and Kavanagh was at it again, racing into the box down the left and forcing the keeper into a save on the stretch – the rebound dropped to Lines but he couldn’t keep his volley under the bar.

Tomlinson saw his square ball to Moore in the box well cutout, moments before Slocombe produced an excellent save to deny a point-blank half-volley – great reactions.

Lines’ deadball delivery had been good all afternoon and was no different when his dangerous corner caused the keeper problems with Kilgour underneath him, but he was saved by the referee’s whistle.

Moments later Slocombe produced another fine save as he tipped a powerful strike from the edge of the box just over the bar.

The 70-minute mark arrived and Rovers were finding themselves a tad on the back foot, but the back four was holding firm – Kilgour and Morgan in particular in the heart of defence.

Rovers had a double switch on 71 minutes, as Tom Mehew and Harry Warwick joined the action in place of Sinclair and Kavanagh.

Another changed followed not long after, as James Spruce replaced Moore up top.

Morgan and Dons’ Desi Oshilaja found themselves in the referee’s book for a scuffle at a free-kick; aside from that incident it had been well delivered by Lines and headed just wide by Warwick.

There was late drama when Slocombe took out a Dons man which earned them a penalty, but the keeper stood back up to beat away Kwesi Appiah’s spot-kick; the last kick of the game.

Rovers XI: Sam Slocombe (GK), Daniel Leadbitter, Alfie Kilgour (c), Ben Morgan, Luca Hoole, Luke Russe, Stuart Sinclair (Tom Mehew, 71′), Chris Lines, Lucas Tomlinson, Deon Moore, Rhys Kavanagh (Harry Warwick, 71′).

Unused Subs: Harry Thomas-Barker (GK), Zain Walker.