Monday 14th September 2015 â€“ Barclays Under-21 Premier League Division Two
Blackburn Rovers Under-21 4 v 3 West Ham United Under-21 - By Parsonblue
Blackburn Rovers Under-21 (1) 4
Green 20, Forrester 55, Mahoney 79, Mahoney 83
Simon Eastwood; Ryan Nyambe, Darragh Lenihan, Scott Wharton, Jack Doyle; Connor Mahoney, Sacha Petshi (Willem Tomlinson 72), David Carson, Modou Cham; Anton Forrester, Devarn Green.
Subs not used: Ryan Crump (gk), Sam Lavelle, Connor Thomson, Dean Rittenberg.
Manager: Damien Johnson
West Ham United (2) 3
Knoyle 10, Samuelson 32, Cullen 64
Tim Brown; Kyle Knoyle, Doneil Henry (Josh Pask 46), Emmanuel Onariase, Stephen Hendrie; Djair Parfitt-Williams, George Dobson, Josh Cullen, Martin Samuelsen; Marcus Brown (Amos Nasha 71); Elliott Lee.
Subs not used: Danny Boness (gk), Jordan Brown, Grady Diangana.
Manager: Terry Westley
Referee: Mr. J. Hunt
Bookings: Blackburn Rovers Under-21 â€“ Devarn Green
West Ham United Under-21 â€“ None
The Rovers first under-21 League match of the season at Ewood Park turned out to be a real cracker with the Rovers youngsters edging a seven goal thriller.Â Â The Rovers made several changes from the starting eleven which beat Barrow last week in the Lancashire Senior Cup.Â Simon Eastwood, Darragh Lenihan Modou Cham, Anton Forrester and Devarn Green were all drafted into the team as Damien Johnson and John Filan rotated the players available to them.Â The West Ham team included Doneil Henry, who had such a successful loan spell at Ewood last season and who was returning from injury.
The visitors were the first to threaten when Elliott Lee, the son of England international Rob Lee, broke through with some nimble footwork and forced Eastwood to make a good save at his near post.
However, after ten minutes Eastwood was beaten by a tremendous effort from Kyle Knoyle.Â Lee played the ball out to Knoyle on the right and, after having got past Cham, the full-back hit a thunderbolt of a shot from distance which flew past Eastwood into the net.
Ten minutes later and the Rovers were level after Forrester headed the ball on into the path of Green who raced past Henry into the area and then beat Tim Brown with a shot which went in off the post.
It was proving to be a hugely entertaining game with the visitors playing some very neat football but often being let down by a poor final ball into the area.Â Just before the half-hour mark Marcus Browne hit a long range shot which flew past Eastwoodâ€™s post.Â However, moments later West Ham took the lead.Â Martin Samuelson, the Norwegian youngster signed from Manchester City in the Summer and incorrectly listed as seven on the teamsheet, struck an effort from outside of the area which took a deflection and found the top right hand corner of the net.
In truth, West Ham deserved their lead at the interval for they had produced the better attacking football up to that point.
Henry, who was having his first outing after a recent injury, didnâ€™t reappear after the break and was replaced by Josh Pask.Â West Ham began the second half as they had ended the first â€“ on the attack.Â Browne broke down the right flnak before he pulled the ball back from the byline to Lee.Â The West Ham striker showed a distinct lack of composure and blasted his shot high over the bar from about twelve yards out.
The Rovers gradually started to get back in the game and Lenihan was unfortunate to see a powerful header saved by Brown following a corner from Connor Mahoney.Â Sacha Petshi, who had been very quiet in the first half, started to get forward more and showed excellent ball control before he cut in from the left and curled a decent effort just wide.
On fifty-five minutes the Rovers drew level with a wonderful goal from Forrester.Â A Cham free-kick was headed away for a corner which the Rovers winger took.Â Forrester got his head to the ball but his effort was blocked and came back to him.Â He showed a fantastic touch to control the ball and then hit a powerful shot on the turn which flew into the bottom left hand corner of the net from the edge of the box.Â It was a wonderful piece of opportunism from the young striker.
Another excellent run from Cham presented Forrester with another chance but this time his well struck shot was deflected wide for a corner.Â Mahoneyâ€™s corner was met by the head of Lenihan but his effort was well wide of the goal.
On the hour mark, Cham sent a free-kick over the wall and forced Brown to dive full length and catch the ball, a really outstanding piece of goalkeeping.
On sixty-four minutes it was the Hammers who took the lead when Josh Cullen curled a wonderful free-kick around the Roversâ€™ wall and into the top left-hand corner of the net.
The Rovers responded immediately with another excellent run by Cham into the area and when he got to the byline he pulled the ball back to Forrester but the former Everton youngster hit his shot over the bar.Â Lenihan then headed another Mahoney corner over the bar as the Rovers increased the pressure on the visiting defence.
On seventy-two minutes the Rovers replaced Petshi with Willem Tomlinson and seven minutes later the youngster earned the Rovers a free-kick some 25 yards from goal.Â Mahoney stepped up to take the kick and bent the ball around the wall and into the bottom corner of the net with Brown unable to get down quickly enough to save it.
Having pulled level, the Rovers went all out for a winner as West Ham visibly tired and wilted under the sustained pressure.Â It was Mahoney who had suddenly sprung into life and was causing West Ham untold problems on the right wing whilst Cham was doing the same on the left.Â Scott Wharton fed Mahoney and the winger fired in a shot from distance which just flew inches past the far post.
However, on eighty-three minutes the Rovers took the lead with Mahoney replicating virtually the exact goal that he scored at Barrow last week.Â After beating a defender in the area, he skipped along the byline before he rifled in an effort from the narrowest of angles into the top right hand corner of the net.Â It was a fantastic end to what had been a splendid game of football.
Several performances from the Rovers youngsters caught the eye.Â Connor Mahoney and Modou Cham proved to be a lively pair of wingers in the second half who caused West Ham no end of problems with their direct running and willingness to get into the opposing penalty area.
Darragh Lenihan and Scott Wharton defended well in and around the penalty area and Lenihan was always a threat at corners.
Anton Forrester and Devarn Green proved a hardworking combination up front who linked up well together throughout the game.
In midfield, David Carson was his usual tenacious self although wasnâ€™t at his best by any stretch of the imagination.Â Sasha Petshi grew into the game and got better as it went on.Â He is still raw there are flashes that there is a talent within his sizable frame.
Tuesday 8th September 2015 Lancashire Senior Cup 1st Round
Barrow 3 v 3 Blackburn Rovers Under-21
(Blackburn Rovers Under-21 won 5-4 on penalties)
Barrow (2) 3
Cook 13, Livesey 41, Pilkington 57
(Pens: Symington, Alex Newby, Walker, Ashton)
Aaran Taylor; Brad Carroll, Danny Livesey (Ben van den Broek 46), Niall Cowperthwaite, Neil Ashton; Mo Fofana, David Mellor; Dave Symington, Elliot Newby, Dan Pilkington (Alex Newby 66); Andy Cook (Jason Walker 72).
Subs not used: Danny Eccles (gk), Andy Haworth.
Manager: Darren Edmondson
Blackburn Rovers Under-21 (2) 3
Oâ€™Sullivan 18, Mahoney 37, Mahoney 53
(Pens: Rittenberg, Carson, Lavelle, Thomson, Oâ€™Sullivan)
Luke Simpson; Ryan Nyambe, Sam Lavelle, Scott Wharton, Jack Doyle; Sacha Petshi (Connor Thomson 79), David Carson; Connor Mahoney, John Oâ€™Sullivan, Luke Wall (Modou Cham 90); Lewis Mansell (Dean Rittenberg 46)
Subs not used: Ryan Crump (gk), Mark Edgar.
Coach: John Filan
Referee: Mr. K. Evans
The last time the Rovers and Barrow met in this competition was way back in April 1967, when Barrow beat the Rovers Reserve team 1-0 at Holker Street at the semi-final stage.Â The Barrow team that day contained a couple of well-known faces to Rovers fans in the form of the late Fred Else and Tony Field whilst the Rovers included the likes of Andy McEvoy and Mike Harrison in their starting line-up.Â Forty-odd years later â€“ where does the time go?- the Rovers were back at Holker Street, or the Furness Building Society Stadium as it is now called, for a 1st round tie and under the rules of the competition fielded their Under-21 side against Barrowâ€™s senior squad.
The Rovers boosted their usual Under-21 squad with John Oâ€™Sullivan whilst Luke Simpson was given his first outing in goal after spending the past few weeks on trial at the club.Â Simpson featured with Accrington Stanley last season and has, more recently been with the development squad at Crystal Palace.Â With Damien Johnson away on international duty, it was left to John Filan to look after things whilst former Rover Andy Haworth was on the bench for the home side.
The Rovers started brightly with Oâ€™Sullivan seeing plenty of the ball but not being able to open up a well organised defence.Â However, after thirteen minutes the Rovers suffered an early setback when they fell behind to a well worked goal by the home side.Â Elliott Newby and Andy Cook exchanged passes down the right and when Newby played the ball across the six yard box, Cook was on hand to sweep the ball home with Simpson having no chance of making a save.
The Rovers responded with a shot from Connor Mahoney which was blocked but, in truth, were struggling to make many clear cut chances despite some good distribution from Sacha Petshi.
On fifteen minutes the home side might well have increased their lead when Simpson did well to push away a long range effort from Cook.
The Rovers drew level on eighteen minutes when Oâ€™Sullivan picked up the ball in midfield, took it forward and then struck a powerful effort which took a deflection off Mo Fofana and beat Aaron Taylor.
Petshi then found Mahoney with a wonderful sweeping pass which enabled the winger to get in a cross which was blocked.Â A similar cross at the other end saw Simpson having to punch the ball away despite being under heavy pressure from a Barrow forward.
The Rovers had a glorious chance to edge ahead on the half hour mark when a corner from Mahoney went across the face of the goal with nobody able get a telling touch on the ball.
Simpson was again called into action to make a good save, at the foot of the post, from Dan Pilkington, whose shot skipped off the surface at pace and could well have embarrassed the â€˜keeper.
The Rovers took the lead on thirty-seven minutes and, once again, a wonderful pass from Petshi started the move.Â Deep in his own half he swept an inch perfect ball out to the right wing for Mahoney to run onto.Â As the winger began to cut inside, Oâ€™Sullivan made a move to the wing which dragged the centre-back out of position and Mahoney moved into the newly created space and beat Taylor from around 25-yards out.Â It was a very well worked team goal.
However, on forty-one minutes the home side drew level following a shot Newby which was blocked for a corner.Â A short corner resulted in Ryan Nyambe being turned rather too easily and when Newby sent the ball into the near post, Danny Livesey was on hand to force it over the line.
If the football in the first forty-five minutes had not always been of the highest quality it had certainly produced an entertaining game with both sides looking to attack at every opportunity.
After the break both sides made a change.Â Lewis Mansell, who had been very subdued during the first halfÂ was replaced by Dean Rittenberg whilst Livesey, who had left the field with an injury or possible cut just before the interval was replaced by Ben van den Broek for Barrow.
Simpson had to be on his toes at the opening of the second half when a ball played back to him bounced badly and he did well to make a clearance under pressure.Â The home side certainly looked quicker off the mark after the interval and yet, it was the Rovers who edged ahead thanks to a fine individual goal from Mahoney after fifty-three minutes.Â The winger moved down the right flank before cutting inside once he got to the byline.Â Â However, instead of crossing at this point, he skipped past a defender and then found the net from the tightest of angles with a well struck shot.
To their credit the Vanarama National League side hit back after fifty-seven minutes when Pilkington fired a cross-cum-shot into the area and Sam Lavelle totally missed his attempted clearance with the result that the ball flew into the bottom corner of the net with Simpson completely wrong-footed by Lavelleâ€™s error.
Both sides made changes as they pressed for a winner.Â Mahoneyâ€™s perfectly placed free-kick was just missed by Lavelle whilst a good run by Neil Ashton resulted in the full-backâ€™s cross being blocked.Â Petshi then found Oâ€™Sullivan on the left but when he cut inside to shoot his effort was blocked by some brave defending.Â Mahoney then gave the ball away in midfield but fortunately, the Barrow forwards were unable to profit from the error and Simpson was then forced to dive at the feet of an oncoming forward to collect the ball.
Simpson was then called upon to make another good save at the near post from Walker but Alex Newby really ought to have scored when he cut inside and pulled his shot narrowly wide with Simpson completely wrong-footed and unable to move towards the ball.
Barrowâ€™s New Zealand international, van den Broek, then found the side-netting when he really might had done better whilst at the other end Modou Cham forced a finger-tip save from Taylor with an intelligent lob which almost caught the home â€˜keeper out.
With the game moving straight to penalties it proved a fairly nervous affair for the supporters of both sides and yet, the first eight penalties were all perfectly struck.Â Symington, Alex Newby, Walker, and Ashton all beat Simpson with ease whilst Rittenberg, Carson, Lavelle and Thomson gave Taylor no chance with any of their spot kicks. Â The decisive penalty proved to be the fifth one for home side when Simpson guessed correctly and dived to his right to beat away the effort from Niall Cowperthwaite.Â Despite some barracking from behind the goal, Oâ€™Sullivan stepped up and calmly slotted home his penalty to put the Rovers through to the next round.
Luke Simpson had an impressive debut and couldnâ€™t be faulted for any of the goals.Â His handling was sound and his kicking good and, of course, he made the vital penalty save.
The back four looked rather uncomfortable at times with Ryan Nyambe and Sam Lavelle not performing as well as they can do.Â Scott Wharton did well in the centre and Jack Doyle was steady at left-back.
David Carson and Sacha Petshi did well as the holding midfield pair.Â Carson worked hard but wasnâ€™t quite as effective as he can be in going forward.Â Petshi impressed with the range of his passing although at times he was caught out with passes which went astray and put the Rovers in trouble.Â Like Koita, Petshi is raw but looks to have more than enough about him to develop into a useful acquisition given time to adjust to English football.
Connor Mahoney had some good spells on the right wing but at times let himself down with some indifferent passing.Â He took both his goals extremely well and at this stage of his career one canâ€™t help but feel that a loan spell in the lower divisions would help the development of his game.
John Oâ€™Sullivan, as the attacking midfield player behind the main striker, had a mixed evening.Â At times he looked a real threat and at others faded out of the game.Â Kept his nerve to score the vital important penalty.
Luke Wall had a difficult night on the left and struggled to make any impression against a very good full-back.
Lewis Mansell made little impression in the first half before being replaced by Dean Rittenberg at half-time.Â One cannot help but feel that Mansell needs a full season with the Under-18â€™s at this stage of his fledgling career.
Rovers have confirmed this morning that Swansea City have recalled Modou Barrow due to injuries to their first team squad, under the terms of the loan agreement they are allowed to terminate the loan within 28 days of the player joining Rovers.
Barrow joined Rovers last month and made 5 appearances.
Monday 24th August 2015 â€“ Barclays Under-21 Premier League Division Two
West Bromwich Albion Under-21 1 v 0 Blackburn Rovers Under-21
West Bromwich Albion Under-21 (1) 1
Nabi (penalty) 39
Ethan Ross; Josh Ezewele, Jack Fitzwater, Shaun Donnellan, Robbie McCourt; Joe Ward; Tyler Roberts (James Smith 90), Samir Nabi, Kyle Edwards, Andre Wright (George Cleet 56); Tahvon Campbell (Zack Elbouzedi 65).
Subs not used: Matthew Hall (gk), Sam Field.
Manager: James Shan
Blackburn Rovers Under-21 (0) 0
Ryan Crump; Connor Thomson, Sam Lavelle, Scott Wharton, Mark Edgar; Willem Tomlinson, Joe Grayson; Connor Mahoney, David Carson, Jack Doyle (Lewis Mansell 67); Devarn Green.
Subs not used: Andrew Fisher (gk), Luke Wall, Lewis Hardcastle, Modou Cham.
Manager: Damien Johnson
Referee: Mr. A. Dallison
Bookings: West Bromwich Albion Under-21 â€“ Andre Wright, Joe Ward, Shaun Donnellan
Blackburn Rovers Under-21 â€“ Willem Tomlinson
The meetings between these two teams at The Lamb Ground, Tamworth produced a very entertaining game which was only decided by a highly debatable penalty late in the first half.
Within the first three minutes Andre Wright showed speed down the left wing but his attempt to centre was cleared for a corner which came to nothing.
The Rovers responded with a cross of their own but Connor Mahoneyâ€™s centre was easily claimed Ethan Ross.
Mahoney then ran at the home defence before passing inside to David Carson who pulled his shot narrowly wide from just inside the penalty area.Â Mahoney then tried to go on another run down the right but having beat one defender he tried to beat a second and was robbed of the ball.
Ten minutes into the game the ball fell to Carson in the area who took it to the side of one defender before he blasted a powerful shot which Ross did well to save.
The Rovers had dominated the game up to this point and looked threatening whenever they moved forward.Â However, on thirteen minutes the home side had their first really dangerous move which ended when Sami Nabi blasted the ball high over the goal when in an excellent position to find the back of the net.Â Six minutes later Nabi was played through by Kyle Edwards but Ryan Crump was quick off his line to claim the ball at the feet of Nabi.
The Rovers broke quickly down the right on twenty-four minutes and Devarn Green had to literally push the linesman out of the way as raced past a defender and cut inside into the area.Â Sadly, his final touch proved a little strong and a defender was able to hit the ball back against Green and out for a goal kick.Â Nonetheless, it had been a very encouraging opening by the youngsters who had dominated most of the first half up to that point.
Wright became the first name in the book when he felled Carson with a crude challenge when the Rovers were attempting to mount yet another attack.
On thirty-three minutes a sweeping move down the right saw Connor Thomson and Mahoney exchange a number of passes before the ball was cleared for a corner.Â Ross struggled to deal with the corner and moments later he was stranded when a ball to the back post was headed wide by Mahoney.
The Rovers almost gifted the home side a chance when Crump played the ball out to Willem Tomlinson and the Rovers midfield man played it back to the â€˜keeper but over hit the back pass and Crump was relieved to see the ball go out for a corner.Â However, when the ball was played in from the corner it fell to Nabi who was unmarked in front of an open goal and inexplicably he sliced his shot well wide of the target.
However, within minutes he had the opportunity to make amends when Mr. Dallison awarded Albion a penalty after thirty-nine minutes.Â Tahvon Campbell chased a ball into the area with Mark Edgar in hot pursuit.Â The Albion forward appeared to lose his footing just as Edgar made a challenge for the ball and the referee, after a momentâ€™s hesitation, pointed to the spot.Â From the spot kick Nabi placed the ball in the bottom right hand corner of the net with Crump diving in the opposite direction.
It was a tough break for the Roversâ€™ youngsters as they certainly didnâ€™t deserve to be behind at this point.Â However, the goal seemed to energise the home side and the impressive Edwards left Tomlinson in his wake with a neat turn and change of pace before he played an inch perfect pass into the path of Tyler Roberts.Â Crump came out to meet the Albion man but as he dived for the ball Roberts merely took it around Crump, but from an acute angle his cross came to nothing.
The Rovers attacked down the right with Thomson charging forward from right-back and he then found Tomlinson with a neat pass but the midfield man fired wide.
West Brom started the second half on the front foot and pressed the Rovers back deep into their own half.Â Edwards was orchestrating the best attacking moves with a series of passes which continually opened up the Rovers defence.Â Nine minutes after the restart Albion really ought to have doubled their lead when Crump did well to save a shot from Nabi only to see the ball fall to the feet of Jack Fitzwater.Â With an open goal gaping in front on him the centre back blasted the ball high over the bar.Â It was an unbelievable miss from such short range.
Albion continued to look dangerous going forward and another cross from Roberts was headed clear by Scott Wharton.Â Mahoney then had another shot which flew wide of the target whilst Tomlinson, on one of his rare forays forward hit a decent effort from outside of the area which was saved.
Albion were then awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area after Wharton brought down Roberts.Â Fortunately, Nabiâ€™s shot was blocked by the wall.
On seventy-six minutes the Rovers had a shout for a penalty when Carson went down under a heavy challenge in the area but the referee was unmoved by the appeals of Rovers players.
The Rovers were now looking more dangerous as an attacking force as the Albion started to sit deeper and deeper to protect their lead.Â However, they simply couldnâ€™t find the key to unlock a packed defence.Â Mahoney had another shot blocked and Carson put the â€˜keeper under pressure when he challenged for a cross which was eventually put out for yet another corner.Â Green fired wide as the Rovers continued to press in search of an equaliser.
In the first minute of added time Mahoney struck of free-kick which beat the wall but was straight at Ross.
Quite how the Rovers youngsters failed to get something from the game is a mystery.Â At times they dominated the game, particularly in the first half, but simply couldnâ€™t find the finishing touch to some excellent football.
Carson again caught the eye playing just behind Green.Â His busy style and non-stop running caused problems for the home side throughout the game.Â Mahoney showed flashes of what he can do but all too often his final ball was lacking.Â Tomlinson worked hard as one of the holding midfield players alongside Joe Grayson who also delivered another decent performance.Â Lewis Mansell had a decent thirty minutes or so when he replaced Jack Doyle â€“ a player who doesnâ€™t look as comfortable playing on the left of midfield as he does at left-back but, in Mark Edgar, the Rovers seem to have found another excellent young defender.
Rovers have announced that Leicester City midfielder Tom Lawrence has signed on loan until 3rd January 2016.
The formerÂ ManchesterÂ United youngster signed for Leicester last year but was restricted to just 4 appearences for the foxes. Â He has previously enjoyed loan spells at Yeovil Town and Rotherham United.
Lawrence becomes Gary Bowyer's 7th signing of this current transfer window. Â Rovers are under a transfer embargo and under the the terms of the embargo the squad is limited to 24 "established" players, any new signings are automatically classed as "established" players, the signing of Lawrence takes Rovers squad size to 23. Â It remains to be seen if manager Gary Bowyer uses his final space before the transfer window closes or keeps it free so that he has the option of bringing in an emergency loan signing should Rovers require it after the transfer window has closed.
Lawrence goes straight into the squad for the game at high flying Brighton tomorrow.