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FAYC Report: Rovers U18s 4-2 Preston U18s

Rovers youngsters twice come from behind to defeat 10-man Preston 4-2 at Ewood Park

18 February 2020

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Rovers Under-18s twice came from behind to book their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup courtesy of a 4-2 victory over Preston North End at Ewood Park.

The visitors took an early lead when Ethan Walker fired past Jordan Eastham inside eight minutes, before D’Margio Wright-Phillips levelled just before the break.

Preston again took the lead when captain Tyrhys Dolan tapped home the rebound after Walker’s shot was saved, before the turning point arrived when defender Ben Dooley was shown a straight red card.

And Rovers made the numerical advantage count with two carbon-copy goals in quick succession, as Jared Harlock supplied corners from the right for first Jalil Saadi and then substitute Zak Gilsenan to head home.

Sam Burns kept up his record of scoring in every round with a clinical strike deep into added time and Rovers will now be at home to Arsenal in the last eight of the competition.

Ahead of the game, Mike Sheron made three changes to the side that defeated Charlton Athletic 1-0 in the last round.

Under-16s duo Georgie Gent and Harry Leonard, as well as new loan signing Wright-Phillips, came in for their first starts in the competition, with Lenni Rae Cirino, Brandon Lonsdale and Gilsenan dropping to the bench.

After a cagey opening from both teams, it was Preston who made the early breakthrough. Just moments after firing a free-kick high and wide, Walker picked up possession in space on the right and after cutting inside, he bent a left-foot shot into the far corner.

Rovers almost responded immediately, but Leonard’s shot from an acute angle could only find the side-netting.

The hosts went close again on 21 minutes when Leonard fizzed over a cross from the right and Sam Burns’ first-time shot deflected behind.

On 35 minutes, Walker’s well-struck free-kick went into the arms of Jordan Eastham and straight down the other end, Wright-Phillips centred from the right, but Burns mistimed his kick in front of goal.

Rovers were beginning to get on top and threatened again shortly after when Harlock played in Leonard, who couldn’t quite get his shot away.

The equaliser eventually arrived on 40 minutes when a hopeful ball forward saw Harlock get there ahead of the Preston keeper and he set the ball back for Wright-Phillips to calmly stroke his shot into the empty net.

On the stroke of half-time, Leonard saw a shot blocked and Harlock blazed the follow-up over the bar.

The first chance of the second half went Rovers’ way, as Wright-Phillips cut in from the right, but fired over left-footed.

A minute later and Preston regained the lead. Walker’s shot from the edge of the area was parried by Eastham and Dolan netted the rebound.

Rovers came close to an equaliser on 63 minutes when Gent delivered a cross into the area and Harlock’s lopping header was plucked out of the air by Jimmy Corcoran.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men with 20 minutes remaining when Dooley was shown a straight red card for raising his hands to Gent and Rovers made a double change soon after, with Lonsdale and Gilsenan replacing Leonard and Wright-Phillips.

And just five minutes later, Rovers were back on level terms. Burns’ shot went out for a corner, Harlock delivered the ball into the box and Saadi’s header ended up in the roof of the net.

Three minutes later and Rovers took the lead for the first time in the game. Harlock again sent over a corner from the right and Gilsenan planted a free header past the keeper.

The visitors twice went close to an equaliser right at the death, as Brian McManus’ shot on the turn went just past the post, before Walker saw a shot parried to safety.

As Preston pushed players forward, Burns wrapped up the win in the 96th minute, smashing a shot past Corcoran after good work by Luke Brennan down the left.

ROVERS: Eastham, Pike, Saadi, Boyomo, Gent (Cirino 86), Whitehall (c), Harlock, Wright-Phillips (Gilsenan 73), Brennan, Leonard (Lonsdale 73), Burns.
Subs not used: Dowling, Wyatt, Weston, Durrant.

Goals: Wright-Phillips (40), Saadi (78), Gilsenan (81), Burns (90+6)

Booked: Boyomo (34)

PRESTON: Corcoran, Dooley, McFayden, Nolan, Williams (Blanchard 90+4), Earl, Walker, McManus, Potts (Holland-Wilkinson 66), Dolan (c) (Bennett 90+1), Coulton.
Subs not used: Lombard, Nicholson, Huddart, Rodwell-Grant.

Goals: Walker (8), Dolan (57)

Booked: Corcoran (71), Walker (75)

Sent off: Dooley (70)

Attendance: 978

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