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Report: Blackburn Rovers U23 2-1 Liverpool U23

Report by Owen Thompson (UCLan)

Early goals from Jacob Davenport and Jack Evans handed Blackburn their first win of the season, as Liverpool fell to their third successive defeat.

The visitors had a nightmare start to the game as they went close to conceding an own goal. Neco Williams directed a header towards his own net whilst trying to deal with a Blackburn cross. However, Grabara was on hand to make a superb save and prevent an early Rovers lead.

Just seconds later and the home side had gone in front. A well hit strike from Davenport, outside the box, found the bottom right corner of the Liverpool goal to put Damien Johnson’s men ahead.

Rovers immediately began to pile on the pressure and push for a second - a testing ball from Nuttall towards Simmons was well dealt with by the Liverpool defence.

The home side’s persistence would pay off just minutes later as they doubled their lead on the 20 minute mark. A dangerous low driven cross from Nyambe beat every Liverpool defender and found Jack Evans who slid in at the back post to convert with ease.

Liverpool struggled to find any way of getting back into the game as the host’s contained them well for the rest of the half. Butterworth and Millar both came close with their efforts, but neither were able to score for Neil Critchley’s side.

HT Blackburn U23 2-0 Liverpool U23

Liverpool began the second half much more determined.

Adam Lewis rattled the Blackburn bar after catching Byrne out with a superb free kick on the edge of the box.

One minute later and the visitors had struck the woodwork again. An acrobatic save from Byrne tipped Camacho’s strike on to the bar. The ball came back out to Virtue who headed home to get his side back in the match.

The goal was the Liverpool captain’s fourth of the season.

Rovers’ effort to defend their lead was made much harder when goal scorer Jack Evans was sent off for a second bookable offence, to put the home side on the back foot.

Despite being down to ten men, Blackburn were awarded a penalty in the last minute of the game. They were unable to put the fixture to bed however as Butterworth saw his effort saved by Grabara.

Johnson’s side managed to hold on for all three points in a thrilling encounter at the County Ground.

Blackburn XI: Byrne (GK), Nyambe (Buckley 65’), Evans, Doyle, Carter, Grayson ( c ), Lyons, Davenport, Nutall, Butterworth, Simmonds (Mols 57’)

Subs not used: Vale, Eastham, Candlin

Liverpool XI: Grabara (GK), Williams. Lewis, Johnston, Garcia, Chirivella, Adekanye, Virtue ( c ), Millar (Mcauley 71’), Jones, Camacho

Subs not used: Mckenzie-Lyle, Masterson, Christie-Davies, Gallacher