Rovers picked up a 1-0 win over Stoke City U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy, courtesy of a goal from debutant Joe Nuttall.
Joe Nuttall made his first team debut for Rovers from the bench, and capped it off with a 77th minute winner.
The summer signing, who has scored 6 goals in 3 appearances for the youth team, came off the bench for Ben Gladwin and made his opportunity count 13 minutes from the end.
Rovers began the game with a mixture of youth players, substitutes from the MK Dons game and first team players.
Andy Fisher played in the net, with Jack Doyle and Lewis Travis at full-backs, with the latter making his debut. Ryan Nyambe and Williams formed the centre half partnership. Feeney and Chapman began on the flanks, with Tomlinson and Whittingham in the middle. Gladwin played in the number ten role behind Danny Graham.
Stoke played their U21s, with the exception of experienced Charlie Adam, who had previously scored twice for Blackpool against Rovers at Ewood, during The Tangerines’ year in the top-flight.
Stoke started well, as Tyrese Campbell flicked the ball just past the post after three minutes. A minute later, Chapman continued to show the signs he showed when he came off the bench against MK Dons. His meandering run took him past at least 5 Stoke players, but a last ditch tackle prevented the young winger from a goal.
Graham then had a header saved after 8 minutes, Rovers’ first attempt on target. The game became more end-to-end, with both teams having chances.
The first-half lacked any spark, with Charlie Adam attempting to lob young Fisher from the half-way line, with no success.
Rovers’ fans were worried with 7 minutes to go, as captain for the night Derrick Williams limped off to be replaced by Matty Platt – which meant Rovers’ goalkeeper and back four all came through the youth academy.
At half-time, fan favourite Richie Smallwood came on for Ryan Nyambe, meaning experienced striker Danny Graham taking the captain’s armband.
The first chance of the half saw Chapman slice the ball over, before Charlie Adam fired wide.
After 64 minutes, debutant Joe Nuttall came on and began to show why fans are calling for him to be moved up to the first team.
He influenced the game straight away, when a ball was clipped over the top, but the young Stoke defence. 3 minutes later, a long shot from Stoke’s Jarvis forced Andy Fisher to make a quality fingertip save.
After 77 minutes, super sub Joe Nuttall broke the deadlock. Harry Chapman perfectly weighted the ball over to the former Aberdeen man, who poked the ball under the advancing Haugaard. The Stoke keeper was injured in the process, and had to be stretchered off after an 8 minute delay.
Late into stoppage time, Adam curled the ball over the wall, but inches past the post. Chapman also had a good chance saved by sub ‘keeper Gyollai.
Mowbray’s men are top of their group in the Checkatrade Trophy, after Bury and Rochdale don’t play until the 19th September. Rovers will face Bury at home on the 3rd November at home, and then Rochdale away on the 7th November.
Rovers now have a 11 day break before heading to Rochdale in the league, and then travel to Scunthorpe 3 days later.
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