BWFC v Crewe

Blackburn Rovers U23 2-2 Brighton & Hove Albion U23

Report by Sam Carney

Blackburn came from two goals down to secure a vital point against title-chasing Brighton in a thrilling Premier League 2 Division One game.


Returning captain Max Sanders scored twice as the Seagulls raced into a commanding lead in wet and blustery conditions at the Leyland County Ground.


But Rovers, who squandered a number of first-half chances, pulled one back on 47 minutes through Jack Vale’s deflected effort before Harry Chapman fired home a deserved equaliser.


The home side, looking for a win to pull clear of trouble, nearly got off to the perfect start when Dan Butterworth ran through on goal and poked just wide after only 20 seconds.


It was a golden opportunity and Rovers were made to pay when Sanders nodded the visitors into the lead on 14 minutes after a devastating counter-attack.


Sanders struck again a quarter of an hour later, his shot rattling in off the post to leave Blackburn with a mountain to climb.


The deficit could have been halved within minutes, but Joe Rankin-Costello somehow nudged Stefan Mols’ searching free-kick past Robert Sanchez’s left-hand post.


Brighton continued to threaten on the break through the tricky Soufyan Ahannach but it was Albion’s goalkeeper who was forced into making a smart one-handed stop to deny Mols five minutes before the break.


Rovers’ first-half efforts merited more than the scoreline suggested, and they deservedly clawed their way back into the game two minutes into the second half.


Mols’ cross was met well by Vale but it took a heavy deflection off a Brighton defender before flying into the top corner.


The goal gave Rovers confidence, Butterworth once again finding himself through on goal but this time his shot was well saved by Sanchez.


The Brighton keeper almost made himself a hero at the other end when his goal kick nearly caught out opposite number Charlie Albinson, who did well to tip behind for a corner.


Like Butterworth, Chapman was a handful throughout and the forward finished well from the edge of the box to level the scores on 72 minutes.


And Vale spurned a glorious chance to complete the turnaround just moments later, when Vale – on the stretch and under pressure from Sanchez – missed from just yards out.


The home side move above Tottenham Hotspur - who they face next month in a crunch relegation clash - and up to ninth in the table, 


Attendance: 268


Blackburn Rovers


Albinson, Rankin-Costello, Thompson, Davenport, Doyle (c), Carter, Mols, Buckley, Vale, Butterworth, Chapman.


Unused subs: Eastham, Annesley, Whitehall, Saadi, Pike.


Brighton & Hove Albion


Sanchez, A. Davies, OstigardO’Hora (Collar 80), Cochrane, Sanders (c), Molumby (Longman 85), Roberts, AhannachGyokeresRadulovic (J. Davies 69).


Unused subs: Collings, Moore.


Referee: Garreth Rhodes


Assistants: Michael D’Aguilar and Lewis Raper


Fourth Official: Ian Walsh