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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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28 July 2018 Venue The Crown Ground Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

Accrington Stanley
1 - 0
Blackburn Rovers

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Match Reports

Report: Accrington Stanley 1 Rovers 0

Billy Kee's early goal the difference between the two teams at the Wham Stadium

28 July 2018

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Rovers' pre-season schedule ended with a 1-0 defeat away to near neighbours Accrington Stanley.

Stanley's star striker Billy Kee netted the only goal of the game on 11 minutes, rifling Kayden Jackson's cut-back into the roof of the Rovers net.

In wet and wild conditions at the Wham Stadium, a much-changed Rovers side dominated for long spells, but couldn't make the breakthrough, with Jacob Davenport going closest on a couple of occasions. 

But it was another worthwhile workout for Tony Mowbray's men, with more members of the senior squad getting 90 minutes under the belts ahead of the big Championship kick-off in seven days time.

Rovers named an entirely different starting XI to the one that beat Everton 3-0 at Ewood on Thursday night, with striker Joe Nuttall again given the chance to impress after scoring the winner at Lincoln City six days ago.

The 21-year-old was joined in the starting line-up by summer signings Joe Rothwell and Davenport, as well as Derrick Williams, who missed the midweek victory with a slight knock.

Craig Conway and Peter Whittingham provided experience, whilst Paul Caddis was given his first run-out of pre-season for the first team. 

Rovers started brightly, with Davenport playing a precise through ball to Nuttall inside four minutes, but he just couldn't connect as Jonny Maxted came out to smother and moments later, Rothwell fired over from long range.

However, it was the hosts who opened the scoring on 11 minutes. Jackson got in behind Williams down the right and his cut-back from the byline was fired high into the roof of the net by Kee.

Stanley came close to doubling their lead five minutes later as Sean McConville's free-kick looked destined for the top corner, but Jayson Leutwiler pulled off an impressive diving save.

As the heavens opened, both sides struggled to create any meaningful chances, until Willem Tomlinson unleashed a stunning 30-yard strike on 28 minutes, which was a whisker wide.

Rovers ought to have drawn level on 34 minutes, as Tomlinson and Nuttall both saw goal-bound efforts blocked, before Whittingham fired over on the follow-up.

The visitors continued to push forward in search of an equaliser, as Tomlinson and Conway both failed to hit the target from distance, before Rothwell saw a shot deflect wide.

Rovers introduced goalkeeper Andy Fisher for Leutwiler at the break and it wasn't long before they were back on the front foot.

On 52 minutes, Conway's cross was palmed up into the air by Maxted, but Davenport could only head over the bar from close range.

Moments later, Whittingham's long-range drive was straight at the Stanley stopper, before Nuttall headed Caddis' cross just wide.

Davenport was beginning to get into some promising positions for Rovers and on 58 minutes, his attempted left-foot curler was tipped just past the post.

As both sides rang the changes, Stanley substitute Piero Mingoia saw a low drive deflect just wide of the far post and Ben Richards-Everton headed the resultant corner into Fisher's arms.

Rovers brought on youngsters Stefan Mols, Lewis Hardcastle and Dan Butterworth during the closing stages and it was Under-23s captain Hardcastle who had the best chance to equalise in the 88th minute.

After a poor clearance from Maxted, Conway found the feet of Nuttall, who flicked the ball into the path of Hardcastle, who was one-on-one with the Stanley keeper, but he somehow saw his shot saved.

Attention now turns to the start of the Championship campaign, which gets underway at Ipswich Town next weekend.

Accrington Stanley: Maxted, Johnson, Hughes, Wood, Sykes (Richards-Everton 46), Conneely (Finley 62), Clark (Sousa 71), Brown, McConville (Williams 71), Jackson (Trialist 76), Kee (Mingoia 62).
Subs not used: Savin.

Goal: Kee (11)

Rovers: Leutwiler (Fisher 46), Travis, Downing, Williams, Caddis, Davenport (Mols 74), Tomlinson (Hardcastle 77), Whittingham, Conway, Rothwell (Butterworth 82), Nuttall.
Subs not used: Platt, Evans.

Attendance: 2,716 (1,337)

Referee: Darren Bond

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