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#U21 #PL2 #MatchReport #Blackburn

Lucas on target but Under-21s fall to Blackburn

Blackburn Rovers 3-2 Spurs (Premier League 2)

Sat 15 April 2023, 15:00|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-21s suffered an agonising 3-2 defeat at Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League 2 on Saturday.

Despite missing a number of regular starters, we put ourselves into a commanding position at the Leyland County Ground, leading 2-0 by half-time. First, a composed finish from Romaine Mundle had us ahead on 13 minutes before Lucas Moura, who travelled with the squad as he serves his Premier League suspension, doubled our lead from the penalty spot 12 minutes before the break.

Blackburn came out fighting in the second half though and were level within 10 minutes of the restart, Ethan Walker twice converting from the penalty spot before Harley O’Grady-Macken headed in the winner on 79 minutes.

Such was the importance of this fixture given the respective league positions, us sitting 13th with Blackburn a place and a two points above us, it was cagey in the opening stages with little attacking threat shown from either side until Blackburn’s Walker came closest on 13 minutes with an attempt that had Alfie Whiteman at full stretch as the ball skimmed the crossbar.

Despite our relatively laboured start, we had the lead four minutes later through a moment of pure quality from Mundle. Back in the side after featuring on the bench for our first team in recent weeks, the attacker latched onto Jamie Donley’s lay-off and showed brilliant skill to evade the last defender before finishing coolly past Jordan Eastham. We were thankful to Brooklyn Lyons-Foster on 28 minutes though as he headed off the line to deny O’Grady-Macken an equaliser.

After a scrappy opening half an hour, where we found it difficult to build a rhythm, it took another moment of individual quality to double our lead. Moura was at the heart of it this time as he picked up the ball on halfway and weaved his way through the heart of Blackburn’s defence before being chopped down 25 yards out. A penalty was then awarded when his free kick struck the outstretched arm of a defender in the wall with the Brazilian placing the resulting spot kick low past Eastham. We came agonisingly close to our third just before the break, Muir’s close-range header was somehow kept out by Eastham before Mundle saw his follow-up attempt crash against the post.

Blackburn made a change to their personnel and shape at the break, Sam Burns replacing Harrison Wood as they put two upfront in their search of a lifeline. This attacking shift altered the home side’s momentum and they had one back just four minutes after the restart. Substitute Burns latched onto Eastham's long kick over our backline before being tripped by Whiteman just inside the area. The penalty was awarded and Walker stepped up to half the deficit from 12 yards. Three minutes later, Rovers were awarded their second penalty when Muir fouled Georgie Gent on the right of our box and Walker made no mistake again from the spot, finishing low under a diving Whiteman, who had guessed the right way.

As we pushed to regain the lead, Mundle continued to threaten down our right and came inches from scoring on the hour mark but his first-time strike from just outside the area was tipped around the post. However, Rovers wrestled back the initiative and O’Grady-Macken twice volleyed narrowly wide before he rose highest to nod in Edun’s deep cross 11 minutes from time. With three minutes to play, the energetic and impressive Moura looked to have been fouled inside the area to strong appeals but referee Parsons waved away the protests as the equaliser eluded us in the closing stages, leaving us in 13th place and three points behind 12th-placed West Ham United.

Blackburn Rovers 3-2 Spurs (Premier League 2)

Blackburn Rovers: Eastham, Duru, Mola, Gamble, Phillips, Montgomery (Weston 71), Wood (Burns 45), O’Grady-Macken, Edun, Gent, Walker (Gilsenan 71). Substitutes (not used): Dowling, Pratt.

Spurs: Whiteman, Muir (Sayers 80), Cesay, Dorrington, Lyons-Foster, Craig, John (Williams 87), Mundle, Donley (Ajayi 74), Moura, Santiago. Substitutes (not used): Keeley, Cassanova.

Match data

Goals: Blackburn - Walker 49 (pen) & 52 (pen), O'Grady-Macken 79; Spurs - Mundle 17, Moura 33 (pen).

Yellow cards: Blackburn - Edun 26, O'Grady-Macken 36, Weston 76; Spurs - Muir 26, Whiteman 49, Cesay 54.

Referee: Gary Parsons.

Venue: Lancashire FA County Ground, Leyland.

Weather: Overcast with sunny spells, 12 degrees.