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YOUTH: United 0 - 1 Rovers

Report from the FA Youth Cup third round fixture

8 December 2020

It was a third night under the lights for United's under-18 side as they faced Category 1 club Blackburn Rovers in the third round proper of this season's FA Youth Cup competition.

The Blues had seen off Chester and Bradford City in rounds one and two respectively to set up the mouthwatering clash, with Rovers entering the competition for the first time at this stage.

United started well as they looked to get the ball into the opposition box early and the hosts created the first opening when Walton picked out Bell with a measured pass. A drilled effort had venom but it arrowed just over the bar.

Rovers responded with a neat move when play was switched from left to right. Wharton took it on his toe when a pass from Wood zipped his way, but a snapshot could only find the side netting.

Back at the other end and Fishburn held play up as Ellis burst through. Garvey called for it but he popped his effort straight at Goddard.

The visitors kept the ball well but it was United who went close again when Bell stepped inside before clipping the cross towards the penalty spot. Keeper Goddard sprinted out to get there, but Ellis met it first with a cushioned header. The stranded stopper was relieved to see it bounce beyond the upright.

Disaster struck for the young Blues midway through the half when Pleavin and Harlock combined to release Gent on the overlap. He took a touch then stroked a beauty of a finish into the top corner to give his side the lead.

Rovers were lifted by the strike and they went close again when Cirino whipped an early ball into the mix. Gilsenan got on the end of it but he sent his header high and wide.

Carlisle struggled to see any meaningful possession and Robinson was busy as he dealt with deliveries from left and right. And there was a moment of relief before the break when Gent found the back of the net only to be flagged for offside.

It needed some kind of spark for the hosts and it almost came on the stroke of half time when tenacity from Walton saw him work a way through with Bell in close attendance. Garrett did enough to make a block just as the shot came in.

Leslie flighted a free kick at Steele in time added on for the half, and the right back was disappointed when it skipped off the surface, making it comfortable for Goddard to gather.

Blackburn kicked off the second period on the front foot but Gamble was wasteful as he slashed a half volley from a Day clearance into the night sky.

Things suddenly started to click for the Cumbrians and Elliott Day couldn't have done any more as he made a dipper from Bell his own. His 12-yard header had power and accuracy but Goddard somehow got there to make an unbelievable save.

The lively Bell started seeing more of the ball but he wheeled away in disgust at himself as he beat his man before clipping it over the target.

United went within a whisker of pulling the scores level when a corner from Rooks was guided towards Fishburn. His downward header brought a ripper of a volley from Kilsby but Haddow was in the right place at the right time to clear it off the line.

Another chance came the way of the now dominant hosts when Bell wound his way down the left flank. A dropped shoulder created space for a cross and Fishburn jumped acrobatically to meet it on the dive. His connection flew past Goddard but it was always too high. 

Momentum was with the hosts but more bad luck dogged them as Day jumped highest to nod goalwards. The keeper was out of it, but three defenders converged to stop the ball before it could do the damage.

Day was a real problem for the defence as he won almost every high ball, but it wouldn't go in as frustration continued to mount. 

And there was a let off at the other end when Gent finished off a lightning quick move, only to be greeted by his second offside flag of the night.

The closing stages saw cross after cross pepper the box, but it started to feel like it just wasn't a blue night, with that feeling confirmed when the final whistle blew.

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Goals

Blackburn Rovers - Gent (20)

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Bookings

Blackburn Rovers - Garrett (55)

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Teams

Carlisle United - Robinson, Steele (Taylor 73), Barnett, Day, Kilsby, Ellis (Watt 62), Walton, Leslie, Bell, Garvey (Rooks 30), Fishburn. Subs - Breeze, Simons, Hill.

Blackburn Rovers - Goddard, Haddow, Cirino, Pleavin, Garrett, Gamble, Wood (Chmiel 67), Harlock, Gilsenan, Wharton (Weston 76), Gent (Biniek 90). Subs - Blease, Pratt, Montgomery, Fyles. 

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Referee - Christopher Joyce


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