We secured our place in the second round of the Checkatrade Trophy on Wednesday night, as we ran out 3-1 winners over Forest Green.
The opening exchanges proved to be a tightly contested midfield battle, with Gedion Zelalem and Joe Willock making a number of crunching tackles in the middle of the park.
Shortly after Tyreece John-Jules’ left-footed effort stung the gloves of James Montgomery, before Bukayo Saka beat his man and forced the Rovers keeper into a fine save from inside the six-yard box.
John-Jules and Saka then came close once more from close range, before the latter produced a moment of sheer quality to open the scoring.
The 17-year-old winger carried the ball from just inside the Rovers half and stormed into their box, before forcing a foul from George Williams. Willock stepped up and made no mistake in finding the top corner from 12 yards.
With less than three minutes remaining before the break, Saka played an inch-perfect pass behind the hosts’ defence to pick out Willock, who found the back of the net for his second of the evening.
We maintained our attacking intensity in the second half - and seconds after the restart, Saka and Trae Coyle were denied twice in quick succession by Montgomery.
But despite seemingly taking control of the game, the hosts pulled one back on the hour mark through substitute Dayle Grubb.
Coyle then fired a powerful effort at goal following a fluid passing move, but his first-time volley was turned behind by Montgomery.
We continued to trouble the Rovers defence on the counter as the hosts pushed for an equaliser - and in the 85th minute John-Jules grabbed his reward for an impressive performance. Cohen Bramall delivered a dangerous cross to the far post and the 17-year-old applied the finishing touch from inside the six-yard box.
WHAT IT MEANS
We’ve advanced to the second round of the Checkatrade Trophy
Our under-23s are in action against Derby County in the Premier League 2 on Monday, November 26.
The game will take place at Loughborough University Stadium with kick-off at 7pm (UK time).
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