Rovers into FA Youth Cup last eight after Sheffield Wednesday win

·5-min read
Rovers celebrate Patrick Gamble's goal against Sheffield Wednesday. PIC: KIPAX
Rovers celebrate Patrick Gamble's goal against Sheffield Wednesday. PIC: KIPAX

The scoreline didn’t reflect Rovers’ dominance as they made it into the last eight of the FA Youth Cup with victory over Sheffield Wednesday.

They had to come from behind to book their spot in the quarter finals as they beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at Ewood Park.

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Leojo Davidson’s deflected effort gave the Owls a shock lead with Rovers equalising on the stroke of half time through Harrison Wood before a header from captain Patrick Gamble on the hour proved to be the match-winner.

Ryan Kidd’s side were on top for the majority of the game and only some excellent goalkeeping from Owls stopper Jack Hall saw them fail to win by a bigger margin.

As a result there was some late Wednesday pressure as they went in search of an equaliser, Felix Goddard making a good stop late on, but Rovers were deserved winners on the night.

Rovers went with the same side that had beaten Stoke City in the fourth round.

They went into the game as favourites but suffered an early setback when the Owls went ahead inside five minutes. Dangerman Leojo Davidson picked up the ball just inside the Rovers half and darted towards goal and while his shot lacked power, a deflection on the way wrong-footed Felix Goddard to find the back of the net.

There was no panic from Rovers to going behind as they maintained their patient, passing approach and dominated the ball as expected.

Lining up with a back three they we relooking to utilise the threats of wing-backs Jay Haddow and Jake Batty who had been so prominent in the first two rounds.

For all their possession and territory however, they were failing to work a clear-cut opening.

And Wednesday were next to threaten with a rare attack in the 20th minute as Davidson got away from George Pratt down the right, but his left foot shot failed to trouble Goddard from the right edge of the box.

Rovers’ first opportunity saw captain Patrick Gamble head wide an Adam Wharton corner in the 27th minute, before a clearer sight arrived on the half hour.

Batty delivered a fine cross from the left which was met by the head of Harry Leonard inside the six-yard box, but his header hit the underside of the crossbar.

Rovers’ pressure was beginning to grow as Wharton’s clipped pass found Haddow on the right edge of the area, though he sliced it wide of the near post.

Leonard went into the book soon after for simulation, the striker getting away from two challenges and then going down, but referee Richard Aspinall was quick to pull out the yellow card.

A scrappy 15 minutes in the approach to half time looked to leave Rovers with a half time deficit, but an equaliser arrived as the additional time was about to be revealed.

Wharton’s lofted ball forward was missed by the Wednesday defender giving Wood a free run on goal, the striker steadying himself before squeezing the ball under Jake Hall to level from a tight angle.

Batty then went on a mazy run by the break as Rovers threatened a second, but after beating two challenges he blazed over the top.

The equaliser was no less than Rovers deserved but eased the nerves somewhat.

They emerged from the second half looking to build on that and Leonard looked in the mood, a thumping strike in the 50th minute tested Hall who was equal to it with some good handling.

Batty fired wide on the stretch before opposite wing-back Haddow then ran onto a Leonard pass only to be denied by Hall at the near post.

Good work from Batty in the 56th minute saw him skip away from Joshua Ashman with his cross aimed towards Wood who was just unable to turn the ball home.

The corner count was mounting, as was Rovers’ pressure, and there was no surprise to see Rovers take the lead on the hour. They kept the ball alive from a set play, allowing Charlie Weston to deliver a cross from the right to find the head of Patrick Gamble who couldn’t miss from close range.

The impressive Batty was unable to continue for the final quarter, Georgie Gent on as Rovers’ second substitute after the arrival of Harley O’Grady-Macken.

And they were soon joined on the pitch by Charlie Olson as Ash Phillips limped off in the 73rd minute.

That forced a re-shuffle at the back, and Wednesday almost took advantage with their first attack of the second half. Rio Shipston played a ball down the channel for Bailey-Tye Cadamateri who got away from Pratt to run towards goal, his shot towards the far post well kept out by Goddard.

The one concern for Rovers was that they began to tire in the closing stages, not helped by the fact all three substitutions had been made.

A third goal would have made progress certain, but they were denied that by an excellent double-save from Hall to deny substitutes Gent and O’Grady-Macken with seven minutes to play.

Hall was keeping his side in with a chance, Wharton dancing past two challenges only to be denied by a smart save from the Wednesday keeper who was quickly to his feet to deny Haddow’s follow-up.

Goddard was then into the action at the other, also saving his feet to keep out Isaac Holland’s shot with his feet.

Rovers saw out their four added minutes to progress but didn’t make the most of the opportunities that were presented to them which ensured a nervier than necessary finish.

Rovers: Goddard, Haddow, Phillips (Olson, 74), Gamble, Pratt, Batty (Gent, 69), Weston, Wharton, Caddick (O’Grady-Macken, 60), Wood, Leonard

Subs: Honor, Montgomery, Chmiel, Duru,

Sheffield Wednesday: Hall, Fusire, Sesay, Kilheeney (Maltby, 29), Ashman, Flannery, Davidson, Shipston, Cadamateri, Ashfa (Yogane, 82), Al-Jahadhmy (Holland, 72)

Subs: Charles, Wassell, Thornton, Maciag

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