Rovers 1-0 Stoke City U21s – Player Reviews

After Rovers’ 1-0 win last night over Stoke U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy, @12throver reviews the Rovers’ players who played last night.

Harry Chapman ran rings around the Stoke U21’s defence last night with his meandering runs and his blistering pace.

It wasn’t the most impressive victory but we got the job done, which is how we are going to have to win many games this season. So, let’s breakdown each player that played last night.

Starting XI

Andy Fisher – He was the busier of the 2 keepers I think. He had a number of saves to make, most notably the one from Jarvis in the second half that forced him into a spectacular fingertip save. I am not sure if it was goal bound but it was still impressive none the less.

Jack Doyle – I didn’t see too much from Doyle, but I don’t think that is a bad thing. He did make a fantastic crunching tackle in the second half. But he got a full 90 minutes, he didn’t make any major errors so his confidence will be boosted after that.

Doyle made his full debut, having only appeared as a substitute in Rovers’ 3-1 win in the Carabao Cup over Coventry.

Ryan Nyambe – He had a poor game, you could maybe let him off as he was playing at centre-back I suppose. There was a header early on that were misplaced and some even went straight up or backwards. After Williams went off, he was the most senior player in the back four, but I am not quite sure that showed.

Derrick Williams – He was the rock in a very young and shaky defence and unfortunately had to be taken off. I presume it was precaution more than anything, as he came back out to the bench unaided later on.

Lewis Travis – I must say, I was hugely impressed with him all night. He made some great runs, a good pass and move play and I thought he really provided the winger with some support. He made a few mistakes as you would expect from a youngster, but all in all a good performance from the young lad.

Lewis Travis made his first team debut for Rovers last night, and put in a strong performance for the Blues.

Liam Feeney – I’ve been critical of Feeney since we signed him last year. He has speed there is no doubt about that. But without any footballing ability, he may as well be running track for a living. That may be harsh, but a drop in leagues was his chance to shine and if I am completely honest, I think he looks worse. He gave the ball away a lot, his crosses were next to useless. The number of times he was offside was another bad point in his miserable evening.

Peter Whittingham – He was that quiet, I actually forgot he played. I remember him making 1 good sweeping left footed pass out to the right wing. Other than that, I don’t really remember him doing too much.

Willem Tomlinson – These games are his chance, I don’t think he did too much wrong today. I also don’t think he did anything brilliant, but again that’s fine, I’d take that from a young lad trying to get better. He is a little slow at times and he lacks the vision needed just to open play up a bit. But again that’s fine, he is only going to get better playing in these games.

Tomlinson has been on the substitutes’ bench for Rovers every now and then since he made his debut for Rovers against Manchester United.

Harry Chapman – My man of the match. He was by far the best-attacking player we had on the pitch. He wasn’t afraid to run at people or even try to run around them. My only negative is he would try to go too far, a few times he pressed himself that close to the line he couldn’t get the cross in. He even couldn’t stop one time and went straight over the advertising boards, everyone had a brief moment of panic he wasn’t going to reappear.

Ben Gladwin – Pre-season left me wanting more from him, I have now seen enough. I am not writing him off but he needs to improve. You can’t have Smallwood protecting the ball and not giving it away, then Gladwin wasting possession time and time again. Granted, I have only seen him 3 or 4 times and it’s still early yet. We can’t be wasting possession and I’d say easily well over 50% of the time he gave it away somehow. Finally, he was removed for the much anticipated Nuttall.

Danny Graham – He struggles to play on his own, I am not sure if he hasn’t got it anymore or whether it is just him being isolated, but he never felt like a threat. He did improve a bit when Nuttall came on, so maybe there is hope. That’s if he isn’t sold.

Graham 2.jpg
Graham struggled on his own up front, and could’ve done with someone like Joe Nuttall starting alongside him.


Platt for Williams (38th minute) – Williams was taken off, after picking up a knock. Platt came on with 7 minutes of the first half left and I thought he did a good job, especially in the second half when Smallwood came on he was helped having that rock next to him.

Smallwood for Nyambe (45th minute) – Nyambe was the only one with proper first team experience but it certainly made the defence a lot more solid when he came off due to an ankle injury. Smallwood who did a far better job standing in at centre back, and the fan favourite was as solid as always. He spent a lot of time mopping up at the back, but you always feel safe when Smallwood has the ball.

Nuttall for Gladwin (64th minute) – I was hoping to see more of Nuttall last night and as time was ticking down, I was ready to give Mowbray a shout to make the change! When he finally got his chance, he repaid Mowbray by scoring the winner. He now has 7 goals in 4 games this season. He certainly gave the game a bit of life and was close on another occasion as well. He seemed confident on the ball and used that speed to cause the back four problems and ultimately beat the keeper for the goal.

Nuttall took his chance in the first team with a goal in the 77th minute, continuing his goal scoring run.

Overall, the boys come together and picked up the win, and that’s all that matters on the night.

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