Rovers hit Manchester United for six in Premier League 2

Rovers striker Jack Vale
Rovers striker Jack Vale

Jack Vale scored twice as Rovers Under-21s thrashed Manchester United 6-1 to make it three successive wins.

Five of Rovers’ goals came in a blistering first half at Leyland as Rovers leapfrogged United to move out of the Premier League 2 relegation zone for the first time this season.

It followed up the league win over Tottenham Hotspur and Premier League Cup victory over Peterborough United as Rovers look to overcome a slow start to the season.

Summer signing Clinton Mola got an hour under his belt, as did Tayo Edun and Adam Wharton who all featured for Mike Sheron’s side.

Vale, fresh from a recent injury lay-off, played the opening half, but that was still enough time for him to get on the scoresheet twice, taking him to 14 goals in his last 10 appearances in Premier League 2.

Harry Leonard made it seven goals in his last four appearances to continue his excellent personal form.

Vale went close twice in the opening six minutes, firing just wide from a Harrison Wood pull-back, while after being played in by Edun, the Welshman was denied by the post.

He was denied by the frame of the goal soon afterwards, his header from a Joe Rankin-Costello coming back off the underside of the crossbar.

United did have a threat of their own, with Joe Hilton forced to make a smart save to deny Charlie McNeil.

Rovers found the breakthrough though in the 25th minute, with Vale finding the bottom corner after being played in by Wharton.

The midfielder got himself on the scoresheet, intercepting an attempted pass from Ondrej Mastny, before lofting the ball into the empty net from 25 yards.

By the 33rd minute, Rovers had a third, Vale breaking free of the United defence before unselfishly squaring for Leonard to slot into the empty net.

Shola Shoretire then converted Isak Hansen-Aaroen’s centre to reduce the arrears, with Rovers having needed a fine goal-line clearance from Patrick Gamble to maintain their advantage when the score was at 1-0.

An incredible period of action showed no signs of slowing, Vale scoring his second of the afternoon, and Rovers’ fourth, in the 38th minute as he pounced on a defensive error.

There was nothing the visitors could do about Rovers’ fifth, Jared Harlock picking his spot from 25 yards to curl into the top corner two minutes before the break.

Vale was replaced at the break, but there was no let-up from Rovers as substitute Ethan Walker had a shot tipped over by Mastny at his near post.

Yet there was no denying Walker on the hour mark as he scored an acrobatic sixth, taking down a Wharton pass on his chest before a bicycle kick found its way beyond Mastny.

To their credit United kept coming forward and applied some late pressure, but the result had long been put out of doubt, with Rovers holding out for a 6-1 win.

They are next in action when they travel to Manchester United on Saturday.

Rovers: Hilton, Haddow, Gamble, Mola (Pratt, 62), Edun (Gent, 61), Wharton (Saadi, 62), Harlock, Rankin-Costello, Wood (Cirino, 78), Leonard, Vale (Walker, 46)