THE ACADEMY

Barclays U18 Premier League
Saturday 8 February 2014
Aon Training Complex

MANCHESTER UNITED 2
(Rashford 49, Goss 58)

BLACKBURN ROVERS 4
(Joel 28, 92; Cham 44, Wall 55)

08/02/2014 13:01, Report by Nick Coppack
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U18s: United 2 Blackburn 4

Blackburn Rovers clung on somewhat in the second half but eventually beat 10-man Manchester United 4-2 in a dramatic encounter at the Aon Training Complex.

Blustery conditions had a marked impact on the game, with goalkeepers’ kicks barely travelling 30 yards at times and set-pieces proving tricky as the breeze often blew the ball off its mark.

The visitors, playing with the wind in the first half, took a 2-0 lead into the interval, but the change of ends at the break was always going to suit United in the second period.

By the hour mark, another three goals – two to United – had been scored, although Callum Evans’ dismissal meant the Reds faced an uphill task (albeit with the wind at their backs) to salvage anything from the game.

Blackburn’s two first-half goals both came from outside the penalty area – Sam Joel curling in a superb free-kick on 28 minutes before the lively Mo Cham doubled the advantage with a low strike that crept inside the upright on the stroke of half-time.

After the break, it took United just four minutes to pull a goal back, courtesy of a horrendous error by left-back Mark Edgar. Under no pressure, Edgar played a pass across his goal straight to Marcus Rashford, leaving the striker to simply roll the ball past goalkeeper Andrew Fisher.

United’s task was then made tougher when Callum Evans was shown a second yellow card for bringing down Cham on a Rovers counter-attack. Two minutes later, it got even worse as Blackburn restored their two-goal advantage thanks to a fine finish into the roof of the net by Luke Wall.

Another Blackburn error, this time by goalkeeper Fisher, on 58 minutes gifted United a route back into the match. Sean Goss’s speculative left-foot effort from 25 yards was tame and yet somehow squirmed underneath Fisher, making his Under-18s debut, and into the net.

Ten-man United then turned up the heat: Goss hit the crossbar and Ben Barber shot just over the top before Paul McGuinness made a double substitution, bringing on Rauairi Croskery and debutant Axel Tuanzebe for Joe Riley and Marcus Rashford.

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