Tranmere Rovers U18s got their competitive season underway on Saturday with a respectable 2-2 draw away at Bolton Wanderers.
Andy Parkinson had just 11 fit players to choose from going into the game but that didn’t stop an encouraging performance from the young Rovers side.
First year scholar Jamie Timlin netted a brace in Lancashire as Rovers were pegged backed twice on the day with Bolton scoring right at the end of both halves.
Despite the late disappointment, Manager Andy Parkinson was more than pleased with his side’s efforts.
“The challenge of the first game of the season was really tough but the players came through it with flying colours.
“We haven’t finished our recruitment yet and we only have 11 available players due to injuries and other circumstances so we were down to our bare bones but the players did really well.
“We took the lead twice and Bolton scored with 30 seconds to go at the end of the game so that was hard for the players to take but the performance was really strong.
“The players stuck to the principles that we’ve put in place which fall in line with the first team so we have that correlation in the identity and how we want to play so that was pleasing.”
After a six month break, Parkinson says that the team have had to adjust and adapt to a different kind of pre season.
“It’s been tough like it has for everyone. None of the players have played for six months before coming back and the programmes they were given to follow away from the club are mainly fitness based and not football specific.
“We’ve had to get through a four week pre season which is obviously reduced from the normal pre season.
“Especially with that in mind, we were really pleased with the performance that the lads gave on Saturday and gives us something to build on moving forward.”
The U18s are next in action against Oldham Athletic this Saturday. This game is being played behind closed doors.