Gareth Taylor's undefeated City youngsters started this Under-18 Premier League encounter brightly at a sunny Brockhall Village, knocking the ball around confidently in the early exchanges.
However, it was the hosts who threatened first, with Chanka Zimba testing goalkeeper James Trafford in the ninth minute.
The young Blues continued to have the majority of the possession and scored the opener through right-back Sammy Robinson, who rifled an effort into the top corner from just inside the 18-yard box after a clever short corner.
We almost made it two minutes later, but striker Liam Delap directed his effort just off target after brilliant work on the left-flank by Samuel Edozi.
The hosts levelled the score after Zimba pounced on a defensive mistake to finish calmly beyond Trafford. Rovers were lifted by the goal and took the lead shortly after the half-hour mark, with Zimba doubling his tally from 12 yards after the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
Taylor’s side should have equalised on the stroke of half time, but Delap’s attempted finish was saved expertly by Rovers' goalkeeper Jordan Eastham.
We emerged from the break with great intensity and created two golden opportunities, but Delap and James McAtee fired over from close range.
City were well on top and the hosts were happy to absorb the pressure and attack on the counter. It almost paid off as they nearly netted their third of the afternoon through Luke Brennan, whose angled effort was parried away well by Trafford after a swift attack.
Taylor’s youngsters were offered a route back into the game with 20 minutes remaining, as the referee pointed to the penalty spot. However, skipper McAtee’s effort was saved easily by Eastham.
The Young Blues pressed hard for an equaliser and it almost came from Fiorini in the 90th minute, but his curling drive was superbly saved by Eastham. Rovers saw out the final few seconds and hung on to inflict the first defeat of City’s season.
What it means
Despite the defeat, City remain at the top of the U18 Premier League table with 15 points from six matches, five points ahead of Liverpool and Wolves, who both have a game in hand.
How we lined up
James Trafford started in between the sticks, with Sammy Robinson, Finley Burns, CJ Egan-Riley and Oscar Tarensi making up the back four. Alex Robertson, Lewis Fiorini and captain James McAtee operated in midfield, with Oscar Bobb and Samuel Edozie providing the width for frontman Liam Delap.
Our Under-18 side host Southampton next in the Premier League Cup on Saturday 28th September, with kick-off scheduled for 11:00 BST.