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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

2-2
14 February 2020 Venue Leyland County Ground Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

Blackburn Rovers PL2
2 - 2
FT
Southampton PL2

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Match Previews

Preview: Rovers Under-23s v Southampton Under-23s

A look ahead to Fridaynight's Premier League 2 encounter at Leyland against the Saints

13 February 2020

Rovers Under-23s return to action on Friday night when they host Southampton's Under-23s at the Lancashire FA HQ in Leyland.

Dave Horseman brings his Saints side north having lost their last six trips away from home in all competitions, the latest of which came at Nottingham Forest in the Premier League Cup.

It could prove to be an interesting team selection for Billy Barr, with the first team heading to Charlton Athletic at the weekend and the Under-18s featuring in the FA Youth Cup against Preston North End on Tuesday night at Ewood Park.

Depending on whether they're included in the travelling party to Charlton, there may be game time for the experienced pair of Charlie Mulgrew and Richie Smallwood against the Saints.

Mulgrew returned to Rovers in the January transfer window with a slight knock picked up during his time with the Latics, and hasn't featured since playing for Paul Cook's side at Luton Town towards the end of 2019.

Now back fit, the Scotland international will now begin working his way back to match fitness, and could view Friday night as the perfect opportunity.

For Smallwood, games in the first team have been few and far between, with the 29-year-old now looking to tick himself over by featuring for Barr's side.

Joe Hilton is expected to keep his place in goal, with ever-present Stefan Mols expected to skipper the side once more after scoring in the Premier League Cup defeat to Middlesbrough a week ago.

Rovers earned all three points in the reverse fixture down on the south coast back in October 2019.

A first half brace from Dan Butterworth came in between Jack Vale's strike to put Rovers in command at the interval down at Staplewood Training Ground.

Although the hosts did pull a goal back through Callum Slattery in the second half, Billy Barr's side managed to see the game out comfortably and secure the victory.

A win will see Rovers move up to sixth in the table for the weekend at least, whilst victory for Southampton will help them in their battle to avoid the drop, but they will remain in the bottom two whatever happens on Friday.

Kick-off at the Lancashire FA HQ is at 7pm, with the game free of charge for Rovers season ticket holders, otherwise admission prices are £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.

We will have full match updates via our social media channels.

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Match Reports

Report: Rovers Under-23s 2-2 Southampton Under-23s

Goals from Ben Paton and Jack Vale earn Rovers a point on home turf against the Saints at Leyland

14 February 2020

A dominant first half display wasn't enough for Rovers, who had to settle for a point in an entertaining Premier League 2 Division 1 encounter against Southampton at Leyland.

Ben Paton's wonder-strike deservedly put the hosts ahead midway through the first half, and that was how it stayed going into half time.

The Saints improved after the break and hit back with two goals in as many minutes thanks to Will Ferry and Daniel N'Lundulu.

But Rovers never gave up, and got a point that their efforts deserved when Jack Vale picked himself up off the turf to level from the spot late on.

With next week's FA Youth Cup game on the horizon and the first team's encounter at Charlton Athletic at the weekend, Barr was forced to name a changed team against the Hampshire side.

There were first league starts for D'Margio Wright-Phillips and Jared Harlock, whilst Charlie Mulgrew earned an outing as he upped his return to match fitness.

Things started encouragingly for Barr's boys, when a long throw from Dan Pike after only four minutes nearly created the first chance for Rovers early on, but after Jack Vale snuck in behind, the Welshman saw Jack Bycroft in his way.

Pike was at the heart of the next opportunity soon after, but after rampaging forward from right back, his effort was put behind by the feet of Jack Bycroft.

Rovers were bossing the early stages, and Luke Brennan cracked the base of the post with a well struck effort from the edge of the box as Billy Barr's side pressed for an early opener.

The hosts continued to dominate, with Stefan Mols latching onto a Lewis Thompson cross, only for Bycroft to save his header, before the Saints stopper beat away an effort from league debutant D'Margio Wright-Phillips.

The visitors did finally have an opportunity, but Joe Hilton acrobatically tipped over N'Lundulu's curling attempt just before the half hour mark.

But just seconds later Rovers did take a deserved lead in stunning style via the left foot of Paton.

The Canadian picked the ball up outside the box before rifling a 25-yard efford beyond Bycroft and into the top right-hand corner to superbly open the scoring.

Dave Horseman's side looked for a quickfire response, but Hilton was out quickly to show bravery to deny Kornelius Hansen when the ball broke kindly in the box for the Norwegian striker.

The second half didn't have too many chances of note before Southampton grabbed an equaliser just after the hour mark.

After dropping his shoulder and working a yard, Ferry flew past Pike before unleashing a shot that was driven past Hilton and into the roof of the net to level things up.

There were only two minutes between Saints' first and their second goal of the night, with N'Lundulu turning the ball home from close range after Hilton could only beat Pascal Kpohomouh's low drive into the striker's path.

Rovers went in search of a way back into the game, but Paton's right-footed strike took a deflection on the way through to Bycroft.

That goal did finally arrive from the penalty spot after Vale was brought down in the box. The Welshman stepped up to slot home to the left of Bycroft and get Rovers back in the game.

That was to prove to be the last notable action of the game, as the sides both earned a point,which was the least Rovers deserved on the balance of play.

Next up is the final group game in the Premier League Cup, with a clash against Burnley set to be played at Morecambe's Globe Arena on Thursday 20th February, kick-off 1pm.

Rovers Under-23s: Hilton, Pike, Annesley (Boyomo, 63), Mulgrew, Thompson, Harlock, Mols, Paton, Wright-Phillips (Gilsenan, 76), Brennan (Saadi, 68), Vale.

Unused substitutes: Eastham, Durrant.

Goal: Paton, 31, Vale pen, 85.

Booked: Saadi, 73, Boyomo, 90

Southampton Under-23s: Bycroft, Kpohomouh, Ledwidge, Chauke, O'Driscoll (c), Olufinwa, Olaigbe, Jankewitz, N'Lundulu (Watts, 80), Hansen (Tella, 60), Ferry.

Unused substitutes: Scott, Bailey, Watts, Keogh.

Goal: Ferry, 64, N'Lundulu, 66

Booked: Olufunwa, 57,Jankewitz, 82, Ledwidge, 83

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