Mark Challen’s U18 side returned to Merit League Division 1 action at the weekend, returning with a point to preserve their unbeaten start to the campaign. With both sides taking the opportunity to field U16 players and offer them further valuable match experience, it was a competitive contest and one for both coaches to caste an eye over their squads.
The Young Glovers set up with playmakers Hughes and Stephens adopting deep lying roles, allowing Skiverton and Heaton to play up in support of lone front-man Lloyd.
After an early chance and spell of possession for Rovers, their confidence grew and it was no surprise to see them take the lead in the 15th minute. After the Glovers gave away possession in defence, the ball fell out toward the edge of the box and a fine strike was soon nestling in the net, 1-0. With a few further defensive lapses, Yeovil were lucky not to concede again as they struggled to settle.
At the midway point of the half, the Glovers woke from their slumber and following a great run and pass from Stephens, Lloyd put a good chance just past the post. Heaton was next to try his luck and drew a fine save from the keeper. With Yeovil now firmly in the ascendancy and Lloyd proving to be a menace with his probing runs down the channels, the in-form marksman headed a route one clearance from goal past the onrushing keeper before coolly slotting home to finish, 1-1.
A great team move, which started with Corrbridge at the back and involved Constanza, Stephens and Heaton, nearly resulted in a further goal when Skiverton squared to Haste who saw his shot deflect narrowly wide. As the half drew to a close there was still chance for Lloyd to smash a shot against the post after masterfully taking down a high through ball.
Rovers began the second half as they did the first, in confident fashion and probing for opportunities, but the Young Glovers soon found their stride and after a sustained period of possession Stephens clipped a ball forward from a defensive position which set Lloyd on his way to beat the offside trap and grab his second goal of the game, 1-2. The young striker has now notched 7 goals in 3 games of Merit League football and is clearly in a rich vein of form.
As the half wore on, Challen made some changes with Brito coming on for Lye and slotting into a left back position and Haste moving into a more central defensive role. Andrews then came on for Skiverton as the match entered its final quarter. There were further chances at either end before Rovers grabbed their equaliser after some uncertainty in the Yeovil defence, 2-2.
Stephens almost snatched a late winner after a mazy run through the defence, but it was not to be and the game ended a tie.
The Young Glovers are back in action midweek with a home game against Plymouth Argyle on 20th April.