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Report: Bristol Rovers 2-6 U18s

29 February 2016

The Under-18s secured their third straight victory in Youth Alliance Merit League 2 with a 6-2 triumph away at Bristol Rovers.

Sam Nombe and Brandon Thomas-Asante both netted braces for Mike Dove’s young side while Joe Steele and Adam Hunt added goals of their own in a thoroughly convincing win in the South West.

The young Dons started brightly and they the lead after only three minutes, with both of their double-scorers Nombe and Thomas-Asante heavily involved.

After the Rovers defence failed to deal with Kevin Owusu’s cross, Thomas-Asante stung the palms of the Rovers keeper. Nombe pounced on the loose ball and, after taking a touch to compose himself, finished cooly to put his side ahead early on. 1-0.

Six minutes later Thomas-Asante netted his first of the afternoon by firing home a first-time shot from 15-yards from captain Hunt’s pass. 2-0.

Striker Thomas-Asante then doubled his afternoon’s tally, nipping in after some strong work by Nombe in the box to drill into the bottom right corner from 12-yards. 3-0.

The Dons were able to add a fourth goal to their name before half-time when Steele latched onto Jack Hadden’s delightful cross-field pass, played a headed one-two with Nombe and lashed a low shot beyond the out-stretched arm of the Rovers keeper. 4-0.

Soon after the re-start, their lead increased with a perfectly executed counter-attack. The move started on the edge of the Dons’ penalty area with Hunt, who played into Hadden. He quickly found Nombe’s feet and after turning and driving at the Rovers defence, he found the bottom left corner from the edge of the D. 5-0.

Although the victory was all-but secured, the Dons’ hopes of a clean sheet were dashed within minutes of the kick-off when Rovers converted from the penalty spot after a foul from Peter Kioso, who got caught the wrong side of his man in the area. 5-1.

Dove’s side then restored their five-goal advantage in the 73rd minute with their sixth and final goal of the afternoon – a great finish from Hunt, who was played through by the excellent Nombe. 6-1.

Rovers grabbed another consolation goal before full-time but that didn’t take away from another impressive display and result from Dove’s Under-18s. 6-2.

Speaking to mkdons.com, Dove said: “I thought were comfortable for the whole game. It was a slow, 3G surface but the football we played at times was excellent – I never felt we would lose it at any point.

“If there were any complaints, it would be that some of the players took our foot off the pedal in the second half. When we play against bigger teams they never let up and that’s what we need to learn.”

Starting XI: McCorkell (Pickworth 74); Stratton, Steele, Jackson (Logan 74); Hunt (c), Hadden; Kioso (Trialist 59), Furlong, Owusu; Thomas-Asante, Nombe.

Unused subs: Osei-Bonsu, Omar

Booked: Jackson

Goals: Nombe (3, 51), Thomas-Asante (9, 34), Steele (41), Hunt (73)

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