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Report: Blackburn Rovers U23 1-3 Derby County U23

Report by Ryan Smart (UCLan)

Two goals from Cameron Cresswell were the catalyst for a clinical 3-1 win for Derby over Blackburn at the County Ground.

Cresswell put Derby 2-0 up either side of half time before Jack Vale pulled one back for Rovers.

Calum McDonald then scored a superb free kick from 25 yards which nestled into the top right corner.

Blackburn fought hard to get back into the game but ultimately fell to a defeat which keeps them in the bottom two of the Premier League 2, with Derby lifting themselves up to third with victory.

The first chance fell to the visitors on seven minutes, Sven Karic hitting the top of the crossbar from a 30 yard free kick with Blackburn ‘keeper Andy Fisher beaten.

Derby began with a clear style in mind, looking to play out from the back similar to Frank Lampard’s first team.

That approach almost cost them on 10 minutes, ‘keeper Josh Barnes’s attempted pass finding the feet of Matty Platt on the halfway line – his subsequent effort landed narrowly wide of the post.

Rovers then had a half chance on 18 minutes, a floating corner finding Hayden Carter whose half volley on the edge of the box was deflected over the bar.

As the half wore on, Blackburn continued to take control, pressing and winning the ball in higher areas.

Their next chance came on 29 minutes, John Buckley striking a left footed shot from just outside the area which fizzed wide of the opposite post.

They then won a series of corners, one of which was headed towards goal by Platt but the ball was easily caught by Barnes.

Against the run of play, however, it was Derby who opened the scoring on 40 minutes, a counter attack finding its way to Cameron Cresswell inside the box whose left footed drive found the bottom right corner.

There was almost an immediate response from Blackburn on 40 minutes, Stefan Mols’ curling effort from 12 yards saved again by Barnes.

The chances kept coming for the home side, Carter’s right footed effort going wide of the post the final chance of the first half.

Rovers started the second half as they concluded the first, Lewis Thompson attempting a speculative effort off his left foot which flew past the post.

It was Derby that extended their advantage on 50 minutes however, the ball in from the right from Aaron Eyoma finding the head of Cresswell who guided the ball past Fisher from six yards for his second of the game.

Rovers did not give up the fight despite their two goal deficit, and that deficit was halved on 60 minutes, Lewis Thompson providing the cross for Jack Vale to eventually tap home after a goalmouth scramble.

The half then began to follow a similar pattern to the first with Blackburn seeing plenty of the ball - Derby again looked to punish them on the counter attack on 72 minutes but after making space for himself on the right side of the box, Jayden Mitchell-Lawson fired into the side netting.

Mitchell-Lawson was again in the action two minutes later, racing past Tyler Magloire who then brought down the Derby number seven 25 yards from goal.

Derby took full advantage of the resulting free kick, Calum McDonald brilliantly curling the ball over the wall and into the top right corner.

There was concern for Blackburn on 85 minutes when captain Joe Grayson went down following a strong 50/50, he eventually got to his feet but received a yellow card.


Blackburn XI – Fisher (GK), Platt, Thompson, Doyle, Magloire, Grayson c, Carter (Simmons 71), Tomlinson (Saadi 75), Vale, Mols, Buckley

Subs not used – Winterbottom, Rankin-Costello, Paton

Derby XI – Barnes (GK), Gordon, Karic, Brown, Hunt c, MacDonald, Mitchell-Lawson, Eyoma (Shonibare 75), Cresswell, Babos, McAllister

Subs – Greco, Yates, Rashid, Al-Hussaini

Referee: Mr S Mather