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FAYC report: Rovers U18s 3-1 Newport County U18s

Rovers progress into round four of the FA Youth Cup with a comfortable win over the Exiles at Ewood Park

17 December 2019

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Rovers produced an assured performance to safely book their passage into round four of the FA Youth Cup with a comfortable victory over Newport County at Ewood Park.

First half finishes from Brandon Lonsdale and Luke Brennan put Rovers in command at a chilly Ewood Park as County were restricted to limited chances on the night in East Lancashire.

A third goal from Sam Burns killed off any chance County had to getting through, but the visitors did make sure they got on the scoresheet thanks to Ryan Hillier's second half goal.

Rovers bossed the opening stages and deservedly took the lead after just 18 minutes when Lonsdale capitalised on a mix up at the back to nip in, round goalkeeper Callum Brain and slot into an empty net to hand the hosts the advantage.

It was 2-0 just moments later as another ball over the top of the County backline was latched onto by Brennan, who cooly slotted beyond Brain and in via the inside of the post.

The chances continued to arrive for Rovers and Chanka Zimba went close to adding to the tally from close range, but his connection from Brennan's low cross wasn't strong enough.

The next opportunity came for Flavien Enzo Boyomo, but the big defender fired over from inside the six-yard box after getting on the end of Brennan's deep corner.

Newport were struggling to get out of their own half, and Rovers continued to probe with efforts from Sam Burns and Lenni Rae Cirino coming close with half-time looming.

The second half continued in the same vein, with substitute goalkeeper Louie Cirotto beating away Brennan's powerful effort just five minutes after the interval.

But moments later that advantage was added to as Sam Burns headed home from an excellent right wing cross by the advanced Dan Pike.

The game wasn't done though, and the visitors pulled a goal back just moments after Burns struck.

A cross from the right saw Jordan Eastham save Tom Wright's header, but Hillier was in the right place to tap home the rebound.

A fluid breakaway nearly led to a fourth of the night for Rovers, but after substitute Zak Gilsenan's strike was beaten away, unselfish play from the Australian saw him tee up Zimba who fired wide.

Brennan somehow skewed over with nine minutes left after getting on the end of a Sam Durrant cross, but sent his attempt into the Blackburn End.

Newport had pot shots from range late on, with Eastham holding onto Hillier's attempt from the edge of the box, but Rovers made sure they were safely through following a good performance on home turf.

Rovers will now host Charlton Athletic in the fourth round of the competition, with the tie set to be played in early 2020.

Rovers Under-18s: Eastham, Pike, Cirino (Gent, 82), Saadi, Boyomo, Whitehall (c), Burns (Durrant, 70), Harlock, Zimba, Lonsdale (Gilsenan, 70), Brennan.

Unused substitutes: Dowling, Wyatt, Weston, Wharton.

Goals: Lonsdale, 18, Brennan, 22, Burns, 55.

Newport County Under-18s: Brain (Cirotto, 46), Bates (Livermore, 69), George, Maher (Benham, 59), Wright, Woodiwiss, Jefferies, Evans, Hillier, Watts, Twamley.

Unused substitutes: Jones, Graham, Cirotto.

Goal: Hillier, 58.

Booked: Wright, 86.

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