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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

22 August 2016 Venue Leyland County Ground Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

Blackburn Rovers U21
0 - 0
Middlesbrough U21

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Match Reports

PL2 report: Rovers 0 Middlesbrough 0

Goalless at Leyland

22 August 2016

Rovers and Middlesbrough played out a goalless draw on Monday evening.

It was a competitive fixture between two hardworking sides, but neither were able to find a breakthrough at the County Ground.

Of the chances that were created, Rovers had the better of them, Connor Thomson and Joe Rankin-Costello both going close, whilst Boro's Joao Morelli and Arnel Jakupovic both saw efforts saved as the match ended all square.

Damien Johnson made two changes from the side that was narrowly to Fulham seven days ago as former Manchester United and Sunderland defender Wes Brown was given the opportunity to get some game time under his belt. He and Josh Askew both came into the defence in place of Tyler Magloire and Jack Doyle.

There was little between the two sides in the first half as they both cancelled each other out for long spells.

Connor Thomson had an early effort easily saved by Joseph Fryer in the Middlesbrough goal, before great determination from Lewis Mansell saw the forward close down the keeper, but as the ball rebounded it went away from the Rovers man and the chance was gone.

With Brown cool and composed alongside youngster Matty Platt at the heart of the Rovers defence, they restricted the opposition to little in the way of goalmouth opportunities.

The best of those came from Joao Morelli and Arnel Jakupovic but Andy Fisher saved both efforts comfortably.

Rovers ended the half forcing the opposition on the back foot with a couple of dangerous deliveries from Joe Grayson, but the home side couldn't make the most of them.

The start to the second half was disrupted by injury concerns as Rankin-Costello and Fisher both needed treatment from. But once play got going it was Rovers with the greater possession.

On 70 minutes the home side went close with a Thomson ball across the box, but once more fortune wasn't with the home side as the ball rebounded between two Middlesbrough defenders before being cleared.

Aside from a free-kick from Jakupovic that deflected high for Fisher to claim, it was the side in blue and white forcing the pace in the closing stages, with the best opportunities coming in the final five minutes.

On 86 Rankin-Costello showed great energy to get onto the end of a ball inside from Thomson, but he couldn't keep his effort down.

Then the two young Rovers would combine once more a minute from time as Thomson got around the back to find Rankin-Costello racing into the box, but his goalbound shot deflected of a Boro man to fly over the bar.

That prompted a flurry of late corners for the home side, but they couldn't find that elusive goal.

"I thought the lads did reasonably well, I thought they worked really hard for each other," said assistant development squad coach David Dunn.

"I still feel that we can maybe pass it a bit better at times but overall it was a decent result. Middlesbrough are renowned for their Academy and the players they bring through, they've got some really good players.

"I thought the clean sheet was the most pleasing thing about us, we had a really good shape and to be fair to the group they are resilient and they stick together so it is pleasing to see.

"As the game went on we were getting some decent chances towards the end, but a draw was probably a fair result."

ROVERS: Fisher, Nyambe, Askew, Travis, Platt (c), Brown (sub Magloire 61 mins), Thomson, Tomlinson (sub Hardcastle 41 mins), Mansell, Grayson (sub Howarth 87 mins), Rankin-Costello.

Subs not used: Ascroft (GK), Rittenberg.

Goals: None.

Booked: Travis 67 mins.

MIDDLESBROUGH: Fryer, Halliday, Espinosa (sub Fry 73 mins), Jackson, McGinley (sub Tavernier 27 mins), Morris, Morelli, Tinkler, Jakupovic, Cooke, Mondal (sub McAloon 67 mins).

Subs not used: Pears (GK), Fewster.

Goals: None.

Booked: None.

Attendance: 308

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