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[Archived] Match Report: Blackburn Rovers Under 21's 0 - 1 Derby County Under 21's

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Parsonblue's match report from yesterday's under 21 match:

Monday 10th August 2015 – Barclays Under-21 Premier League Division Two

Blackburn Rovers Under-21 0 v 1 Derby County Under-21

Blackburn Rovers Under-21 (0) 0

Simon Eastwood; Connor Thomson (Dean Rittenberg 90 + 1), Sam Lavelle, Scott Wharton, Jack Doyle; Lewis Mansell, Willem Tomlinson, Lewis Hardcastle, Connor Mahoney (Joe Grayson 75); David Carson; Anton Forrester.

Subs not used: Ryan Crump (gk), Modou Cham, Luke Wall

Manager: Damien Johnson

Derby County Under-21 (0) 1

Wassall 74

Jonathan Mitchell; Alefe Santos (Jack Tuite 59), Farrend Rawson (Ethan Wassall 65), Tom Koblenz, Max Lowe; Charles Vernam, Callum Guy, Alban Benjaku (Kellan Gordon 71), Ivan Calero; Offrande Aansala, Mason Bennett.

Subs not used: Josh Barnes (gk), Jared Bird.

Manager: Darren Wassell

Referee: Mr. K. Mulraine

Bookings: Blackburn Rovers Under-21 – None

Derby County Under-21 – Kellan Gordon

Attendance: 215

A goalkeeping blunder by Simon Eastwood condemned the Under-21’s to defeat in their opening League encounter at Leigh Sports Village. Ultimately, the difference between two evenly matched teams proved to be the goalkeepers. Eastwood fluffed an attempt to claim a high ball from a corner whilst Jonathan Mitchell looked supremely confident in claiming crosses as the Rovers put him under pressure in the closing stages.

Damien Johnson included Willem Tomlinson in midfield alongside the equally promising Lewis Hardcastle whilst David Carson completed the trio of central midfielders, playing in the hole behind lone striker Anton Forrester.

Derby were on the attack from the off and after only four minutes Mason Bennett shot over the bar. Two minutes later it was Bennett who set up the Spaniard Ivan Calero and his thunderbolt of a shot struck the post before being cleared. Bennett, who was in the thick of the action throughout the opening period, then flicked a clever headed pass into space in the penalty area but no Derby player read it and the ball was cleared.

On sixteen minutes Eastwood had to rush from his goal to beat Charles Vernam to a high looping ball that was played to the edge of the area.

The Rovers first real attacking opportunity came at the end of twenty minutes when Connor Mahoney’s near post corner caused problems for the visiting defence and Sam Lavelle’s shot was blocked for another corner. Once again, Mahoney placed an inswinging corner into a dangerous area but, sadly, although Scott Wharton got to the ball he was unable to keep his header on target.

It had become a very even affair at this point with both sides enjoying spells of possession but without really threatening to dominate the game.

On thirty-five minutes the visitors put the Rovers under intense pressure when Vernam’s shot was cleared off the line by Wharton, only for the ball to strike Eastwood and rebound back to the goal where Wharton again cleared off the line.

On thirty-seven minutes Lewis Hardcastle blasted a terrific effort just wide of the post and six minutes later he struck another powerful long range effort which flew narrowly wide.

It was deadlock at the interval which merely reflected the closeness of the game.

The Rovers were the first to attack after the break when David Carson did well to beat two men in the Derby area but was unable to keep his shot on target. The visitors responded almost immediately when the impressive Calero hit a long range effort from distance which rattled the Rovers’ crossbar.

As in the first half, after these two chances, the match settled into a fairly even contest. Callum Guy sent in a spectacular effort from distance when he ran onto a loose ball and blasted his shot just over the bar from all of twenty-five yards out. At the other end Anton Forrester had a quick shot on the turn which was deflected for a corner.

On seventy-four minutes the visitors were awarded a free-kick and Calero’s powerful effort struck the wall and deflected away for a corner. Calero took the corner and although Eastwood came to claim the ball he couldn’t hold it and dropped it in a crowded goalmouth. Defender Ethan Wassell, who had replaced Rawson, showed the predatory instincts of a striker as he managed to fire home from just a few yards out to give Derby the lead.

The Rovers immediately replaced the ineffective Mahoney with Joe Grayson as they looked to get back into the game. Play was then held up for some time as Callum Guy received lengthy treatment to a leg injury before being stretchered off in some pain. As the visitors had already used all of their substitutes they were forced to play out the final ten minutes with ten men.

The Rovers pushed forward in search of an equaliser and on eighty-eight minutes they had a chance when Forrester worked a good opening in the area but fired straight at Mitchell. With seven minutes of added time to be played the Rovers threatened with a couple of corners but Mitchell came and claimed them under pressure which, ultimately, proved to be the difference between the sides.

The youngsters had probably done enough to earn a point but were undone by a goalkeeping lapse from which they couldn’t recover. Willem Tomlinson, after his recent first team exploits, had a rather quiet night and was overshadowed by the hardworking performances of David Carson and Lewis Hardcastle. Carson was his usual combative self, never giving the opposition time on the ball whilst supporting Forrester whenever the Rovers attacked. Hardcastle worked hard as a box to box player and was unfortunate to see a couple of well struck long range efforts fly just wide of the target.

Lewis Mansell, the main striker for the Under-18’s, had a difficult night on the right of midfield, whilst Mahoney, apart from a couple of corners, had another quiet night before being substituted. Sam Lavelle and Scott Wharton stood up well to an impressive Derby attack. Connor Thomson, again pressed into service at right-back due to Ryan Nyambe being with the first team, had a difficult night against the very impressive Calero but he stuck to his task as did Jack Doyle on the opposite flank.

Anton Forrester worked hard as the lone striker but found chances at a premium and when he did get them he failed to find the power or accuracy to beat Mitchell.

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