Ball’s brace leads Rovers to cup glory

Doncaster Rovers claimed the Football League Youth Alliance Cup with a thumping 4-0 win at Exeter City’s St James’ Park last night.

Rovers were far superior than their hosts and dominated almost from start to finish. Jordan Ball led the way with two for Rovers, while captain Brett Lucas and substitute Joshua Meade added second half goals in a comfortable win.

With kick-off delayed due to crowd congestion – 1,516 were in attendance – the game was late in starting Patrick Mullen’s corner kick was headed onto the roof of the net by Liam Wakefield, but it was an early warning for Exeter of the aerial dominance they enjoyed.

Wakefield flicked on a long throw only for James Husband to nod wastefully wide, but when the opening goal came on 18 minutes, it was no surprise it came from a Rovers head. Evan Finnigan delivered a fine free kick on the right and Jordan Ball glanced the ball beyond Exeter goalkeeper Jake Viney.

Luke Roper saw a shot deflected into the arms of Doncaster goalkeeper Jonathan Maxted, while Reid missed his second decent chance when the Doncaster defence failed to deal with Steven Carvell’s cross, and the ball drifted harmlessly out of play.

Doncaster started the second half looking to slow play down as much as possible, much to the frustration of those in attendance. But there was no need as they went on to dominate the second half. The second goal came soon after half-time and it was textbook stuff. A corner was delivered into the six yard box and Lucas powered in to nod emphatically past Viney.

Exeter looked a beaten team now and after Patrick Mullen’s shot was saved by Viney, Rovers duly grabbed their third on 65 minutes. Finnigan got the better of Exeter right-back Sam Brown and crossed to the far post where Ball had peeled away and volleyed a fine third.

Spirited Exeter battled on gamely, but they were toothless in attack. Reid’s free kick, which was easily held by Maxted was as close as they came to a consolation and it was left to substitute Joshua Meade to finish things off with a low finish under Viney after a well-worked move.

ROVERS (4-4-2): Maxted; Davison, Wakefield, Lucas, Finnigan; Mullen (Whincup), McCormick, Middleton (Meade), Husband; Ball, McMahon. Substitutes (not used): Busby Binns.

Goals: Ball 18, 65, Lucas 51, Meade 90.