A late breakdown in communication cost Rovers Under-23s the chance to go top of Premier League 2 as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton at Leyland.

Brad Lyons’ first half volley, and a disciplined defensive display, looked set to move Rovers top of the pile, only for Tyler Onyango to equalise with six minutes to play.

That came about after a defensive mix-up between Joe Grayson and goalkeeper Jordan Eastham, with Lyons mixing an excellent chance to snatch another late winner, as Rovers were made to settle for a point, and stay third in the standings.

Billy Barr made four changes from the side that forced a last-gasp win at Brighton on Monday, with Harry Chapman keeping his place in the side, having been on the bench at Preston North End, a day after his 60 minute outing in Sussex.

On what looked a heavy pitch, Rovers, in their 3-4-3 formation, were looking to make the running, Chapman seeing an early shot blocked.

Rovers played the second half of their win against Brighton with a man advantage, and  Onyango will have had his heart in his mouth as he caught Brad Lyons late, with the referee only deeming it a yellow card offence.

While Rovers were in the ascendancy when it came to territory, Everton did threaten on the break, Nathan Broadhead breaking forward on the left, with Jordan Eastham equal to his effort, and Joe Grayson alert to the danger as Ellis Simms hunted down the rebound.

A Grayson corner presented Rovers with a decent opening, as Harry Tyrer flapped at the inswinging delivery, and Sam Burns nodding just wide from inside the six yard box among a raft of bodies.

A clearer opening fell the way of Chapman, a loose ball falling his way eight yards out, but Tyrer was quickly off his line to throw himself in the way.

Chapman was having a mixed night, dispossessed at the end of several breaks, but one burst forward six minutes before the break did create the opening goal. The quick-thinking of keeper Eastham released the winger, who had looked to have been closed down, only to roll his man and deliver a cross that was neatly volleyed into the corner by Lyons.

Lyons was on the receiving end of another challenge, this time from Matthew Pennington early in the second half, as he was shown Everton’s second yellow card.

Broadhead had showed his shooting prowess in the first half, and did 10 minutes into the second, this time from 25 yards out, Eastham flying across to his right to palm it away.

Everton made a double switch in a bid to find a way back into the game, but Rovers were looking compact, and thought they had a good shout for a penalty when Lewis Thompson went down under Pennington’s challenge, but that was waved away by the referee.

Chapman had been starved of the ball, but did well to collect a McBride pass before having his shot deflected wide by Pennington as the game ticked into the final quarter.

The visitors were having more of the ball, but Rovers were disciplined in their shape, with openings continuing to be at a premium.

A Sam Burns overhead kick with 15 minutes to play livened up proceedings, trying to acrobatic effort after taking down a Dan Pike cross, with Tyrer watching it just over the bar. Lyons volleyed wide, after Tyrer opted to punch a free kick clear.

The visitors were gifted a way back into it though with six minutes to play. Grayson and Eastham looked to have the situation under control, that until the Rovers defender played a backpass which ran beyond the keeper and into the path of Onyongo who had the simple task of tapping home from three yards.

That appeared to spur Rovers back into life, and they missed a golden chance to win it in the dying seconds, Thompson teeing up Lyons who side-footed wide from six yards out unmarked.

Rovers: Eastham, Pike, Barnes, Annesley, Grayson, Thompson (Garrett, 90), Lyons, Whitehall, McBride, Burns Chapman (Durrant, 90)

Subs: Stergiakis, Saadi, Harlock