Doncaster Rovers U23s cruise past Aston Villa to reach Premier League Cup knockout stages
Doncaster Rovers U23s booked their place in the knockout stages of the Premier League Cup with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Aston Villa at the other goal.
Max Watters – who has been named as a substitute in 11 of the last 13 first team matches – netted a brace with trialists Dion Pereira and Jack Storer grabbing the other two goals.
Gary McSheffrey’s young side were comfortable throughout and never looked like being pegged back after going ahead.
Rovers featured three trialists in the game, with the trio comprising the attacking midfield three which mirrored that of the senior side.
Watters saw a near post header from a corner deflected into the sidenetting as Rovers started with real intent, knowing a point would be enough to see them qualify from the group stages.
Rovers took the lead on 20 minutes. Watters and AJ Greaves combined to send Periera weaving his way into the box before he curled a fine effort into the bottom corner.
The lead could have been doubled inside a minute when Pereira picked out Storer from the byline only for the shot to be blocked on the line by Isaiah Bazeley-Graham.
While Villa produced some smart, zippy passing play, they had little to trouble Rovers who were in complete control.
Storer crafted a chance from nothing, flicking up the ball and volleying on goal with the ball dropping narrowly over the bar.
The advantage was doubled on 28 minutes. Some neat passing play saw Watters released into space and he drilled a low effort in from the edge of the box.
Villa went close to pulling a goal back on the stroke of half time. Jack Clarke received a pass with an excellent touch and stabbed a shot narrowly wide of the far post.
Rovers moved further ahead three minutes into the second half. Pereira touched a ball forward first time with Watters racing into the box and lashing a superb shot home.
Tyreik Wright cut inside off the right and lashed a shot which ricocheted off the far post.
The fourth goal came just after the hour mark. Pereira cut a ball back from the byline to Storer, who saw his initial effort blocked only to fire home at the second attempt.
Louis Jones, who had a quiet evening in goal, produced a stunning one handed stop to keep out a rasping drive from Clarke from 25 yards.
And moments later he kept out a snap shot at his near post as Villa pushed in vain for a late consolation.
Rovers: Jones; Walker, Horton, Blaney, Amos; McGowan, Greaves (Hasani 71); Trialist A, Pereira (Smith 71), Storer; Watters (Gibbons 77). Subs: Bottomley, Blythe.
Villa: Sinisalo; Kesler, Bazeley-Graham, Bridge (Birch 50), Revan; Guy; Wright (Archer 69), Clarke, Ramsey, Philogene-Bidace; Vassilev. Subs: Odutayo, Searle, Hooper.