First's reach the quarter final
By Gary Brigden
The First team progressed to the Quarter Finals of the Premier Challenge Cup courtesy of a 2-0 win over FC Deportivo Galicia on Wednesday.
With suspensions and injuries Darren Salmon and Donny Rennalls rested the majority of the squad from Saturday, with only Marlon Pinder and Matt Farrell retained, the rest of the squad was made up of U23's, the returning Daryl Cooper-Smith and a couple of lads from the reserves.
The side started brightly, and were ahead inside three minutes when a free kick by Billy Vanstone was bundled goalwards by Marc Agou and fired home by Daryl Cooper-Smith.
We kept on the front foot, and further good work by Vanstone and Cooper-Smith set up Ben Senior but he saw his shot well saved by the keeper. Cooper-Smith fired over, and Senior bought another excellent save out of the keeper. Felipe Melgaco was the next denied by an in-form keep when his snapshot was brilliantly tipped over the bar.
Buoyed by our wastefulness in front of goal, Deportivo started to grow into the game, and for the first time our backline was starting to be worked, with the excellent Jevontae Hylton and Agou in excellent form.
Ollie Ellaway did well to turn away a dipping low cross from the right, and a couple of efforts from distance drifted harmlessly wide of our goal, and we went in at the break 1-0 to the good.
A barnstorming run by Hylton, who had switched to the right when Vanstone was forced off, teenage reserve team full back Kane Oram came on for his first team debut, early in the second half led to a coming together in the area, and the referee pointed to the spot. Cooper-Smith stepped up and fired low to the keepers right.
Deportivo were having more possession this half, but our defence was dealing comfortably with all they could throw at them, although Ellaway did have to come sharply off his line to make a good one on one save midway through the half.
The excellent Mason Seagroatt twice had chances to open his account for the first team, when late runs left him through one on one with the keeper, but both times his finish was poor and the hosts survived.
Tyler Chambers, in charge for the game, made a couple more changes in the second half, introducing Alfie Carney for Melgaco, and another debutant in Boe Fowler for Senior.
Ellaway got down well to save low to his right from a late Deportivo free kick, and a glancing Cooper-Smith header drifted just wide of the right hand post, as Rovers secured a place in the quarter final with a 2-0 win.
Well done to the lads, especially the youngsters from the U23s and Reserves who came in and did not look out of place.