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Under-18s win at Blackburn in cup opener

Blackburn Rovers 0-3 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League Cup)

Sat 02 September 2023, 13:10|Tottenham Hotspur

Two goals in a minute on the hour mark finally saw off Blackburn Rovers as our Under-18s began their defence of the Under-18 Premier League Cup with a well-earned 3-0 victory in Lancashire on Saturday morning.

Needing a steely resolve to deal with the home side’s threats in the first half, we were indebted to goalkeeper Carey Bloedorn for a couple of good saves before Mikey Moore set up Oli Irow to give us the lead 10 minutes prior to the interval.

Rovers continued to make life difficult for us, but any hopes they had of mounting a comeback were dashed when a quickfire double ensured it was a winning start to our Group E campaign, Moore’s low delivery converted by the impressive Callum Olusesi, with Moore himself swiftly adding his own name to the scoresheet with a deflected strike from inside the box.

Winners of this competition last season, we had to bide our time at Rovers’ Brockhall Village training base with Bloedorn pulling off an excellent double save to deny Jackson Shorrocks when he’d seemed destined to score, while also beating away Patrik Farkas’ angled drive around the 20-minute mark.

Olusesi soon began causing Rovers problems in the middle of the pitch, though, and it was both he and Moore who were central to most of our noteworthy attacks as Moore sent Tyrese Hall in behind the defence with a through ball, only for the midfielder’s eventual shot to be blocked by retreating defender Rhys Doherty, while Olusesi got on the end of Moore’s cross after Yusuf Akhamrich’s free-kick was blocked and forced a save from goalkeeper Nicolas Michalski, although the offside flag subsequently went up so his effort wouldn’t have counted.

We took the lead on 35 minutes when Moore just kept running and running down the left side before drifting in-field towards the near post and providing a deft cut-back for Irow to convert from close range. Blackburn thought they’d equalised shortly afterwards when Bloedorn rose to collect a high ball but carried it backwards over his line after being knocked off-balance by Joseph Boggan –the referee saw the striker’s challenge on the keeper and awarded us a free-kick, thus ruling the goal out.

The key moment arrived just before the hour mark, as Moore once again roamed down the left flank and saw his low delivery slid home at the near post by Olusesi for 2-0, with Moore himself making it three within 60 seconds, his shot from inside the box deflecting off Doherty and wrong-footing Michalski.

Both sides made a raft of changes soon afterwards and although Herbie James imposed himself down the right at times, nobody could really fashion any further chances, Boggan going closest in stoppage time when his left-angled volley was routinely stopped by Bloedorn.

The margin of victory perched us at the top of the group in the early standings, with Chelsea second after their 4-2 home win over Barnsley.

Blackburn Rovers 0-3 Spurs (Under-18 Premier League Cup)

Spurs: Bloedorn, Black, King (James 64), Chaplin (c), Rowswell, Willhoft-King (Orr 72), Akhamrich, Olusesi, Irow (Lehane 64), Hall (Morgan 64), Moore. Substitute (not used): Krasniqi.