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Kick off 12:00 (UK)

08 March 2021 Venue Leyland County Ground Attendance

Kick off 12:00 (UK)

Blackburn Rovers PL2
5 - 1
Southampton PL2

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Match Previews

Preview: Rovers Under-23s v Southampton B

A look ahead to this afternoon's meeting between the sides a

8 March 2021

Rovers Under-23s will be aiming to keep the pressure on table-topping Manchester City when Southampton visit Leyland this afternoon.

Billy Barr's charges have had a fine season so far, and will be aiming to earn a league double against Dave Horseman's side later today.

Connor McBride's early strike earned the points down in Hampshire in the last meeting back in October, and the Scot is likely to be a part of the squad for today's clash.

That will provide a boost for Barr, with the striker scoring braces in his last two outings, the latest of which came in the 4-1 win over West Ham United the last time the team played at Leyland.

The Development Squad earned a good point at Tottenham Hotspur last time out thanks to Sam Burns' second half spot kick in north London.

Burns is likely to continue in attack for Barr's boys, as he has done in the last two games.

Dan Pike is also expected to come back in having missed out on the trip to Spurs due to being with the first team squad.

Sam Barnes will be out of action though following his sending off in that 1-1 draw against Tottenham, with Jake Garrett looking likely to join Louie Annesley at centre back.

Another definite absentee will be Luke Brennan, with injury keeping the winger out of contention.

Garrett's potential switch back to defence could open up a slot in central midfield, with Ben Paton, Jalil Saadi and Jared Harlock set to battle it out to fill the void.

A win will put Rovers within two points of table-topping Manchester City, who face West Ham United later in the day

As for the Saints, they came back from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw against Arsenal at the Snows Stadium last time out thanks to Will Ferry's second-half brace.

They've struggled for consistency this term, but the three points today will see them leapfrog Leicester City and move out of the bottom two.

They're not in the best form either, with one win in their last five games, although that did come against a Derby County side who currently sit two points below Rovers in the table.

Kick-off against the Hampshire-based outfit is at 12pm this afternoon.

Fans are reminded that there will be no access to the ground, with the game played behind closed doors at this time.

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Match Reports

Report: Rovers Under-23s 5-1 Southampton B

Goals from Sam Burns (2), Joe Nolan, Louie Annesley and Sam Durrant earn big Rovers win

8 March 2021

Sam Burns bagged a brace, as a rampant Rovers Under-23s kept their title tilt on track with a superb 5-1 victory over Southampton at the County Ground.

All the damage was done in a fantastic first-half, as Rovers raced into a three-goal lead inside 35 minutes.

Burns opened the scoring on five minutes, drilling the ball into the bottom corner after being played in by Joe Nolan. The same duo combined again midway through the half, as Burns prodded the ball goalwards and Nolan’s fancy flick found the back of the net.

Burns grabbed his second of the game when goalkeeper Jack Bycroft’s clearance ricocheted in off the Rovers striker, before Jayden Smith reduced the arrears just before the break.

Rovers made the points safe on 73 minutes when Lenni Cirino’s centre was turned home by Louie Annesley at the far post, before the hosts added a fifth 10 minutes later courtesy of Sam Durrant’s superb solo strike.

The convincing victory sees Billy Barr’s side keep up the pressure on leaders Manchester City at the top of the Premier League 2 table.

Ahead of the game, Barr made four changes to the side that drew 1-1 away to Tottenham Hotspur last time out.

Jordan Eastham was preferred to Antonis Stergiakis in goal, Jalil Saadi came in for the suspended Sam Barnes at centre-back, whilst Dan Pike and Connor McBride, who have been involved with the senior squad in recent weeks, were brought back into the team in place of Joe Rankin-Costello and Alex Baker.

In damp and difficult conditions, Rovers made a bright start and opened the scoring inside five minutes with a really well-worked goal. After good play down the right by Durrant, Nolan slipped the ball through to Burns, who fired a low shot across the Saints keeper and into the far corner.

Rovers came close to doubling their advantage on 21 minutes as Durrant skipped past his man and pulled the ball back from the byline, Isaac Whitehall saw his shot blocked and Nolan fired just wide on the follow-up.

A minute later, McBride fed the lively Cirino on the overlap down the left and his centre was fired goalwards by Pike at full stretch, but Bycroft somehow saved the shot on the goal-line.

The second goal was coming and it duly arrived on 24 minutes. Durrant again did well down the right, breaking into the box before pulling the ball back to Burns and his stabbed effort forwards was flicked over the line by Nolan for his fourth of the season.

Rovers almost added a third on 28 minutes when McBride centred from the left and Burns’ first-time shot came crashing back off the crossbar, although he may have just strayed offside.

In a dominant first-half display, the chances continued to come for the hosts. On the half-hour mark, the ball broke kindly to Cirino in the box, but his shot was saved and McBride’s effort was blocked on the rebound. A minute later, McBride crossed from the left, but Burns’ header went just wide.

The young forward was left scratching his head again on 34 minutes when Cirino swung in a cross from the left, but again Burns was unable to direct his header on target.

However, a minute later, the 18-year-old did get his reward, in fortuitous circumstances, as Bycroft’s clearance struck the striker and the ball trickled over the line for Burns’ second of the game.

Southampton pulled a goal back on 41 minutes, as Rovers were guilty of over-playing in midfield. After Jake Garrett was caught in possession, Lucas Defise slipped the ball through to Smith, who slotted a shot past Eastham.

As the rain eased, Rovers created the first chance of the second half, on 52 minutes, as they worked the ball out to Durrant, who danced past a couple of defenders, before seeing his shot saved from close range.

Moments later, Garrett cut the ball back from the byline and McBride’s goal-bound strike was well blocked.

Rovers remained in control as the half progressed and made the points safe with their fourth of the afternoon on 73 minutes. A corner on the left was played out to Cirino and his low cross was swept home by Annesley at the far post.

The hosts pushed for a fifth, with Whitehall twice denied by Bycroft in quick succession on the 80-minute mark, but moments later, Durrant got the goal his display deserved, cutting in from the right before lashing a lovely left-foot shot into the far corner.

It was almost six on 87 minutes, as substitute Jared Harlock’s shot was well saved and Pike’s follow-up was somehow cleared off the line.

It was another impressive home performance from Barr’s boys, who defeated West Ham United 4-1 in their last Leyland outing and up next for Rovers is a trip to Arsenal this Friday, kick-off 7pm.

ROVERS: Eastham, Pike (Connolly 88), Saadi, Annesley (c), Cirino, Garrett (Harlock 82), Whitehall, Nolan, Durrant, McBride, Burns.
Subs not used: Dowling, Gent, Baker.

Goals: Burns (5, 35), Nolan (24), Annesley (73), Durrant (83)
Booked: Garrett (58)

SOUTHAMPTON: Bycroft, Otseh-Taiwo, Morris, Agbontohoma, Tchaptchet, Burnett, Bellis (Smales-Braithwaite 63), Keogh (Kpohomouh 46), Smith, Defise, Olaigbe.
Subs not used: Scott, Payne, Tizzard.

Goal: Smith (41)
Booked: Olaigbe (86)

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