Our U18’s struggled against a clinical Bristol Rovers side, falling to a disappointing 5-1 defeat at Chipping Sodbury on Friday night.
Goals from James Spruce, Josh Brace, Lucas Tomlinson and a double from Harry Warwick all contributed to the defeat – Michael Cook got the only goal of the game for County.
Byron Anthony’s side started very strongly – in fact, they had the ball in the net five minutes in but the goal was disallowed for offside.
Whilst County started the better of the sides, Bristol Rovers soon took control of the game; they hit the post with a powerful strike that had ‘keeper Matt Mayor beaten ten minutes in.
The away side struggled to improve after the early scare from Rovers and in the 17th minute, they conceded a penalty after a poor challenge in the box. James Spruce stepped up and slotted home from the spot to make it 1-0 to the Gas.
The Young Exiles gradually improved after the goal and had a huge chance eight minutes later, after some brilliant link-up by Michael Cook eventually set up Owen Taylor… but his shot ended up hitting the post.
County continued to cause problems with Owara Edwards looking dangerous on the left.
Despite all County's hard work to find an equalizer, it was Harry Warwick who finished past Mayor in the 32nd minute of the game to double the deficit for the Young Exiles.
After a tough 30 minutes, County continued to struggle with Rovers’ threat on the break and in the 40th minute they could’ve been even worse off had it not been for the ball being blocked on the line and cleared.
Less than five mintues later, County had to clear a certain goal off the line again. Jay Foulston clearing this time deep in stoppage time – giving up a corner before the half ended.
The Young Exiles made a single change at half-time with Callum Beckett coming off for Lucas Murray.
In the 48th minute, County’s misery continued as Josh Brace’s cross ended up in the back of the net after being put beyond Mayor’s reach to make it 3-0.
In the hope of finding a goal, Byron Anthony made a double substitution: Bringing off captain Evan Press and Owara Edwards for Liam Warman and Liam Bishop.
The changes obviously worked as ten minutes later Michael Cook calmly finished the ball past Liam Armstrong in the Rovers goal, after Liam Warman caused problems on the right-hand side which created the chance for Cook to make it 3-1.
County created several chances after the goal, with Liam Bishop and Tom Hillman coming the closest for the away side – Hillman then came off for Josh Williams a minute later.
However, with twelve minutes to go County conceded a fourth, which saw Harry Warwick double his goal tally for the match.
A final change was made for the Young Exiles, with Lewis Johnson coming off for Jay Williams after the goal.
Rovers scored a fifth in stoppage time through Lucas Tomlinson, ending off a disappointing evening for the academy.
Starting XI: Mayor, Johnson, Hunt, Savigar, Beckett, Foulston, Hillman, Press (C), Cook, Taylor, Edwards.
Subs: Jay Williams, Josh Williams, Liam Warman, Liam Bishop, Lucas Murray.
NEXT UP: Can't make the trip to Luton Town? The Young Exiles face Plymouth Argyle next Saturday (30th) at Lliswerry School. Kick off: 11am.