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      U23s Report: Resilient Rovers overcome dominant Palace

      Blackburn Rovers U23
      Barnes 21'
      Leonard 40'
      Crystal Palace U23
      Rak-Sakyi 90+1'

      On a sunny evening at Ewood Park, Crystal Palace Under-23s fell to two first half goals from Blackburn Rovers.


      • Paddy McCarthy made two changes to the side, as Scott Banks and Kaden Rodney came in for Jack Wells-Morrison and Nya Kirby

      • Rodney hit the bar from distance 20 minutes in

      • Blackburn took the lead through Sam Barnes moments later

      • In the 25th minute, Killian Phillips’ effort was cleared off the line

      • Harry Leonard doubled Rovers’ lead five minutes before the break

      • Half-time: Blackburn Rovers 2-0 Crystal Palace

      • Noah Watson blocked two goalbound efforts from Leonard early on in the second-half

      • David Ozoh and Ademola Ola-Adebomi made their PL2 debuts as substitutes

      • Jesurun Rak-Sakyi pulled one back for the Eagles in the 90th minute

      • Full-time: Blackburn Rovers 2-1 Crystal Palace

      Paddy McCarthy’s Eagles were back in action after three weeks, as they travelled to Ewood Park for their final away game of the season.

      Scott Banks and Kaden Rodney came into the side in place of Jack Wells-Morrison and Nya Kirby, meanwhile Palace Under-18 regulars Ademola Ola-Adebomi and David Ozoh featured on the bench for the first time.

      With two minutes on the clock, the Eagles nearly got off to the perfect start. David Omilabu was slipped in behind by John-Kymani Gordon and nearly put the Eagles ahead, however his shot across the face of goal was parried behind by Felix Goddard in the Blackburn goal.

      This set the precedent for the opening 20 minutes as the Eagles fashioned a number of chances. Banks nearly capped off an excellent passing move from back to front, though his effort from the edge of the box was saved.

      A quarter of an hour in, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi won the ball from a loose header and drove into the box past a number of challenges, however his shot was deflected out by a recovering Blackburn defender.

      The pick of the chances fell to Rodney in the 20th minute. The midfielder had a go from 25-yards out and managed to beat the ‘keeper, but he was denied by the frame of the goal.

      Rovers pressed straight down the other end and after initially forcing Joe Whitworth into a save, they managed to open the scoring through captain Sam Barnes.

      Palace looked to respond immediately and nearly did so through Killian Phillips. The January signing found himself free inside the box after a Banks free-kick and fired a shot on goal, only to be denied by a combination of ‘keeper and defender on the line.

      The hosts doubled their lead five minutes before the break from a set piece. Striker Harry Leonard headed in from close range after getting on the end of a Scott Wharton free-kick.

      After the break the Eagles were almost caught out as Rovers started brightly. Astute defending from Noah Watson saw him block two goalbound efforts from Leonard in quick succession to prevent a Blackburn third.

      Banks came close to pulling one back for the Eagles a couple minutes after Leonard’s attempts, surging towards the edge of the box, though his effort was parried away by Goddard.

      The game ebbed and flowed as the half went on, with neither side fashioning any clear cut chances. Rak-Sakyi and Phillips both saw goalbound shots blocked, whilst Whitworth was equal to an effort from James Brown at the other end.

      In the dying embers of the game, Palace went all out to salvage a point. Goddard saved Rak-Sakyi’s shot inside the box with five minutes of normal time remaining, though he was no match for a follow up effort as the clock ticked into stoppage time.

      Watson’s floated ball into the box was cleared out into the path of Dan Quick, who played it towards Phillips. The Ireland U21 international flicked it on neatly for Rak-Sakyi to latch onto and score his 16th goal of the season.

      Palace pushed for an equaliser in the five minutes of stoppage time, though it was to no avail. The referee's whistle brought an end to proceedings and the result means Paddy McCarthy’s Eagles stay in 8th place, level on points with Brighton & Hove Albion and three behind Spurs.

      Blackburn Rovers: Goddard, Brown, Saadi, Barnes, Gent (Pike, 76), Garrett, Wharton (Brennan, 86), Wood (Phillips, 66), Harlock, Leonard, Vale.

      Subs not used: Stergiakis, Haddow.

      Crystal Palace: Whitworth, D. Boateng, Adaramola, Rodney, Quick, Watson, Omilabu (Ozoh, 45), Phillips, Gordon (Ola-Adebomi, 77), Banks (Akinwale, 77), Rak-Sakyi.

      Subs not used : Siddik, Shala.