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REPORT | Rovers U18s 0 Blackpool U18s 4 (Youth Alliance Cup)

21 August 2023


REPORT | Rovers U18s 0 Blackpool U18s 4 (Youth Alliance Cup)

21 August 2023

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Rovers U18s fell to defeat on matchday one of the Youth Alliance League Cup as they were beaten by north west champions Blackpool at the Hoober Homes Elite Performance Centre.

Despite the youth team competing well in the first-half, goals from Toby Oliver, a trialist and a Danai Hassan brace saw The Seasiders take an opening day three points.

With Rovers’ return to competitive action came three debuts for U16 players, with Deshaun Musgrave making the starting eleven at Cantley Park.

Blackpool made their physical presence known from the off and immediately got themselves on the front foot to call Jake Oram into action after three minutes before putting an effort just wide after 11.

Frank Sinclair’s side then looked to craft opportunities of their own but Kasper Williams had to attend to defensive duties first, blocking the ball with his head to deny what would have been a certain opener.

On 28 minutes, the hosts’ first clear cut chance did come though as Musgrave beat his man on the left brilliantly before playing into Jaiden Campbell-Ryce at the near post, but the latter’s shot was held well down low.

The next quarter of an hour saw an entertaining, end-to-end spell of the game but with no real chances coming, it took until just before the break for the next one to come.

In the 43rd minute, Rovers gave the ball away cheaply on the left and presented the visitors with a golden opportunity to take the lead from a matter of yards out, and the trialist took it to place home.

With a set back just before the interval, the youth team came out for the second-half with intentions of getting back on level terms – but two minutes later the deficit was doubled.

A Blackpool midfielder whipped a cross in from the corner and skipper Oliver rose higher than anyone else to head home into the bottom right corner.

Rovers then had a chance to immediately get back within one goal from a Will Green cross but Freddie Allen’s headed effort was misjudged and sailed over.

Sinclair then made his first changes 56 minutes in, bringing on Jamie Tomlinson and Oliver Piekarski in place of Musgrave and Chris Pooley respectively, looking for a route back into the game.

Three minutes later though, the task in hand got tougher.

The visitors fired a free kick into the goalmouth and, following a scramble amongst players, Hassan was on hand to place home through the crowd and give The Tangerines further daylight.

Then, with 20 minutes left to play, Hassan became the man of the moment again as he picked the ball up on the left wing and went on a very impressive run to dance through the Rovers defence and then finished off the move himself to score Blackpool’s fourth.

U16s Jaydan Clarke-Thompson and Noah Ratcliffe then took the places of Kenzie Dillon and Jaiden Campbell-Ryce late on but the damage had been done and Blackpool took the first cup three points away from Cantley Park.

Rovers U18s will now look to find a response to a disappointing day at the office as they return to EFL Youth Alliance League action with a trip to Rotherham United on Saturday, August 26.

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