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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

06 February 2018 Venue Ewood Park Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

Blackburn Rovers U18
5 - 1
Nottingham Forest U18

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Match Reports

FAYC: Rovers U18s 5 Nottingham Forest U18s 1

Vale hat-trick and further Carter and Connell goals secure safe passage to the next round for ruthless Rovers

6 February 2018

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Jack Vale hit a hat-trick as Rovers progressed to the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup with a dominant display against Nottingham Forest at Ewood Park.

It could have been more for Rovers and Vale, who tore Forest's defence apart throughout the game.

His first two strikes sandwiched a Forest penalty, before skipper Hayden Carter put Rovers in a commanding position at the break.

Vale completed his hat-trick prior to substitute Kyle Connell adding gloss to the scoreline late on at a chilly Ewood Park.

Billy Barr made two changes to the lineup from the last round against Watford, with George Wilson and Callum Dolan coming in for the sold Callum Wright and Ben Paton, who missed out through injury.

Incidentally, it was the returning Dolan who hit the winner against Tranmere in round one of the competition.

It was an encouraging start from the visitors as Yassin En-Neyah tested Matthew Campbell with a curling effort before skipper Riley Harbottle headed wide after getting on the end of a deep corner.

Rovers did have the ball in the net on 13 minutes when Vale touched a ball down on his chest before rifling into the bottom corner with his left foot, but the Welshman was adjudged to have been offside.

But Vale wasn't to be denied and just five minutes later he did hand Rovers the lead.

After latching onto a ball over the top, Vale saw his attempted chip denied by Forest stopper Rudolfs Soloha, but the winger smashed home the rebound from the edge of the box.

But the lead didn't last long, as just two minutes later Forest were awarded a penalty.

After being taken down in the box, Brennan Johnson dusted himself down to place his spot kick low to the bottom right corner, beating Campbell, who went the right way.

Rovers responded excellently though, and Wilson's cross-shot found Vale at the back post who slid in and touched home for his and Rovers' second of the game.

Rovers were in confident mood now and an excellent set piece routine saw John Buckley's corner find skipper Hayden Carter, whose bouncing volley nestled nicely into the corner just 10 minutes before the interval.

It was a quieter start to the second half from both sides, with Jayden Richardson prodding wide the best chance in the opening 15 minutes after the break.

Richardson again came close to finding a goal back for the visitors with 20 minutes to go, but Campbell did excellently to beat away his low drive.

But a moment later Rovers had their fourth as Vale completed his hat-trick.

Dan Butterworth played him in with a neat ball before Vale swivelled and scooped the ball over Soloha.

And it could have been more for Vale just a couple of minutes later. The Welshman lobbed the 'keeper from 35 yards but somehow Ethan Stewart cleared magnificently off the line.

It was the Vale show and he fired just wide from a narrow angle after being played in by substitute Connell.

And Connell managed to get his name on the scoresheet too with just five minutes to go as he scrambled home from close range after the ball was hit across goal.

Further opportunities came and went for Rovers, but a dominant performance earned deserved progression and Barr's charges will play Blackpool at Ewood in the next round, on a date TBC.

Rovers U18s: Campbell, Carter (c), Thompson, Buckley, Jones, Barnes, Vale (Whitehall, 82), Evans, Butterworth (Burns, 89), Wilson, Dolan (Connell, 65).

Unused substitutes: Boyomo, Winterbottom.

Goal: Vale, 18, 27, 73, Carter, 35, Connell, 85

Booked: Buckley, 31, Butterworth 74

Nottingham Forest U18s: Soloha, Richardson, Preston, Smith, Stewart, Harbottle (c), Appiah (Bondswell, 89), Charlesworth (Barnes, 85), Johnson, En-Neyah, Cormick (Mighten, 67).

Unused substitutes: Shelvey, Ram.

Goal: Johnson, 21 

Attendance: 480

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