Folarin Balogun hit a hat-trick of penalties in our opening fixture of the Premier League 2 season on Monday night, as we ran out 3-1 winners over Blackburn Rovers.
Rob Holding played 63 minutes as he continues to regain match fitness, while Emile Smith Rowe made his first start since returning from injury.
With that in mind, there were plenty of positives ahead of kick-off - but it was the hosts who opened the scoring when Stefan Mols raced behind our defence and coolly slotted into the bottom corner.
However, their lead would last all of three minutes, as Balogun forced a foul from Louie Annesley inside the penalty area, leaving the referee with no other choice than to point to the spot. The 18-year-old’s initial effort was saved, but he made no mistake with the follow up.
Shortly after the break James Hillson produced a stunning diving save to deny Jack Vale from close range, before Zak Swanson failed to apply the finishing touch to a promising attack.
The Rovers defence had given a good account of themselves throughout the evening, making a number of last-ditch tackles and vital interceptions - but in the end our pace and movement proved decisive, as Balogun and Trae Coyle won two penalties in the final 10 minutes.
Balogun stepped up for both and showed great composure to complete his first hat-trick at under-23 level.
Steve Bould’s side are set to face Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday, August 16.
The game will take place at Meadow Park with kick-off at 7pm (UK time).
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