Rovers Under-23s went close to pulling off a dramatic comeback before eventually falling to defeat to Manchester City.

The game looked to be over at half time with City 3-0 ahead before they added a fourth early in the second half.

However, excellent finishes from Adam Wharton and Connor McBride and a freak own goal offered them a route back into the game.

They pushed for an equaliser, as substitute Jay Haddow had an effort saved, before City added a fifth on the break with the final kick of the match.

The result leaves Rovers still rooted to the bottom of the Premier League 2 table with only two wins all season, but boss Mike Sheron was encouraged by the fight showed by his players.

They were unfortunate to trail at the break, with City more clinical with their chances as Kyky scored twice after Oskar Bobb opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

James McAtee scored a classy fourth early in the second half before Dapo Mebude made it 5-3 in injury time.

Inbetween Rovers put City under real pressure, a fine Wharton effort from the edge of the box made it 4-1 before McBride came off the bench to reduce the deficit further with a fine lobbed effort.

A misplaced pass found its way into the net to make it 4-3 as Rovers sensed an unlikely comeback.

That spirit pleased Sheron, who said: “I was fairly pleased with the mentality and the approach from our boys.

“We were disappointed to go in at half-time 3-0 down and we were our own worst enemy.

“We gave them a couple of goals and it put us on the back foot.

“Our mentality at Rovers is that we never give in and we keep going to the end.

“I was pleased with how we fought

"We showed quality at times and Connor McBride’s finish was a really good goal.

“The momentum of the game changed from there on in and it was a shame we couldn’t get anything out of the game.”

  • All five outfield players unused in the FA Cup defeat at Wigan Athletic started at Brockhall.

Tyler Magloire captained the side and played in the centre of the back three which also included Ash Phillips.

Jake Garrett and Adam Wharton lined up alongside each other in central midfield while Joe Rankin-Costello played in advance of them.

Elsewhere, James Brown got his first minutes since signing as a free agent and played the opening 45 minutes at right wing-back.

Jack Vale, back from his loan spell at FC Halifax where he made 10 National League appearances, started up front.

Injuries are continuing to hurt the Under-23s, with Isaac Whitehall a long-term concern, while left back Lenni Cirino is also unlikely to play again this season because of an injury.

Alex Baker also missed the game having been in impressive form in back-to-back Premier League Cup wins over Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough.

Jay Haddow, who replaced Brown at half time, Phillips, Wharton and Georgie Gent are all expected to start the FA Youth Cup tie with Stoke City on Wednesday. That game will be played at Leyland (7pm).

Jake Batty and Harry Leonard feature in both of the Premier League Cup wins but didn’t feature against City with the Youth Cup tie in mind.