Jack Vale hit four to boost his chances of featuring on the bench for the first-team against Birmingham City next weekend.

For Vale it was a third hat-trick in nine games, making it 13 goals in 14 Premier League 2 appearances as Rovers Under-23s signed off their season with an entertaining 4-3 win against Chelsea at Ewood Park.

Rovers were twice behind, but battled back to finish the season with a ninth victory of the campaign that moved them up to ninth, losing only one of their final 11 fixtures.

Chelsea have one more game to play, and will need to win to preserve their Premier League 2 status.

The visitors led through a Jayden Wareham penalty before a composed finish, a fine individual goal, from Vale put Rovers ahead.

Yet two goals in four minutes before the break from Thierno Ball restored the visitors’ advantage.

Rovers were enjoying plenty of chances however, and levelled through a penalty of their own in the 58th minute, as Vale struck after Georgie Gent was brought down in the box.

And Rovers had one final break forward that brought the winner, Vale heading in a Brennan cross to sign off the season in style.

 

 

ACTION

7 – Rovers enjoy the early possession, but Chelsea have the first chance as Bashir Humphreys arrives unmarked in the box to meet a right wing free kick, but from six yards out he gets his header all wrong and fails to find the target.

 

11 – Lewis Hall cuts in from the left on his right foot and has a go at goal from 25 yards, but Felix Goddard able to watch it over the top of his crossbar.

 

13 – Jack Vale gets away from the Chelsea defence, not for the first time, and this time picks out Harry Leonard making ground into the box, his touch takes him towards goal, but the referee deems the block on him not to be a foul and waves away the penalty appeals.

 

16 – Jake Garrett is tripped on the edge of the box, with Vale curling the free kick just over the top.

 

17 – Jared Harlock’s square pass is intercepted, allowing Hall to break forward from inside his own half. He makes good ground before sliding in Jayden Wareham whose shot from a tight angle finds the side netting.

 

18 – Ball worked out to Harvey Vale on the right, his clipped cross from the edge of the box evades the heads of three attackers to drift just wide of the upright.

 

20 – GOAL: Chelsea open the scoring from the penalty spot as Wareham finds the corner, despite Goddard getting close to it. Penalty was awarded after Harlock, on the stretch, was adjudged to have tripped Brooking who made a break into the box (0-1)

 

23 – Vale closes down Humphreys who drags the striker back and goes into the book.

 

25 – Harlock delivers a cross from the left which defender Dylan Williams swings a boot at, and is fortunate to see his sliced clearance go just wide of the post.

 

29 – Left wing corner from Williams is met by the head of Xavier Simons, and headed off the line by Dan Pike, though Goddard may well have had it covered.

 

31 -  GOAL: Jack Vale intercepts a back pass to run through and confidently find the corner. The linesman for some reason raises his flag for offside, but thankfully the referee puts him right to give the goal.

 

32 – A carbon copy of the fourth minute chance, Humphreys unmarked to get his head to a right wing free kick, and while it’s not as far wide, he’ll have been disappointed not to have at least hit the target for a second time.

 

39 – GOAL: A superb goal from Vale. Collects a Garrett pass inside the box, shows neat footwork to work an angle to shoot, and calmly slots the ball into the corner. A real piece of quality.

 

41 – GOAL: The visitors hit back as a clipped ball in from the right is met by the head of Thierno Ballo and he guides it out of the reach of Goddard.

 

45 – GOAL: Slack from Rovers, Saadi not able to stop the cross from the byline, the ball pulled back and fired into the roof of the net by Ballo.

 

50 – Harlock gets in down the left, his cross into the box is sliced towards his own goal by Xavier Mbyamba but kept out by a smart reflex save by Teddy Sharman-Lowe

 

58 – GOAL: Vale grabs his hat-trick, converting from the spot, after a brilliant run down the left from Georgie Gent saw him tripped by Brooking who was booked.

 

64 – Rovers close to a fourth as Wharton’s inswinging corner is met by the glancing header of Sam Barnes, but it goes just wide of the post.

 

70 – Sub Sam Burns does well to win the ball back, before Vale rolls it to Wharton who works the ball onto his right foot and sees a shot from the edge of the box beaten away by Sharman-Lowe.

 

73 – Cross from the right met by Wareham, but backtracking, he can’t guide his header on target.

 

75 – Jake Garrett lines an effort up from distance, but Sharman-Lowe able to watch it wide.

 

79 – Leonard has a go from a 25-yard free kick, but it’s straight at Sharman-Lowe who is able to hold.

 

88 – Vale close to a fourth, found on the left by Garrett he cuts inside his man and sees his shot deflected, and loop just over the top.

 

TEAM NEWS
Rovers made just one change from the side victorious in Monday’s game with Crystal Palace as Dan Pike returned at right back in place of James Brown.

It meant Felix Goddard remained in goal, with Pike and Georgie Gent as the full backs and Jalil Saadi and Sam Barnes making up the central defensive pairing.

Adam Wharton and Jake Garrett made up the central midfield pairing, with Harrison Wood and Jared Harlock on the flanks and Harry Leonard playing just off Jack Vale.

Rovers’ first change came at the midway point of the first half, with Sam Burns back from his loan spell at Scunthorpe United, and on to replace Wood on the right flank.

Rovers’ second change came with two minutes of normal time remaining, Luke Brennan on in place of Leonard, with Joe Ferguson for the closing stages in place of Pike.

 

Chelsea: Sharman-Lowe, Brooking, Mbuyamba, Humphreys, Williams, Simons, Vale, Elliott (Webster, 65), Wareham (Soonsup-Bell, 76), Ballo, Hall (Haigh, 65)

Subs: Bergstrom, Rankine