Blackburn Rovers 4 Preston North End 2 - 10 man PNE U18s bow out of FA Youth Cup

Preston North End's FA Youth Cup journey ended at the fifth round as they were beaten 4-2 by Blackburn Rovers, finishing the game with 10 men.

Tuesday, 18th February 2020, 9:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th February 2020, 9:52 pm
Ethan Walker on the ball at Ewood Park. Credit: PNE.

Three goals past the 78 minute mark gave Rovers their 4-2 advantage after Preston had spent much of the game as the better side before controversially going down to ten men.

Ethan Walker, briefly back from his youth loan at Stalybridge Celtic, gave Preston the lead after just eight minutes, cutting inside to find the far corner before the visitors were pegged back five minutes before the break by D'Margio Wright-Phillips.

Tyrhys Dolan capped a lively display by putting PNE back into the lead after 57 minutes, with Ben Dooley sent off after 70 minutes for violent conduct, before goals from Jalil Saadi, Zak Gilsenan and Sam Burns saw Blackburn home inside the final 12 minutes.

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North End started the game as the better side, being quicker to the ball and having more pace about their play, shown when Tyrhys Dolan was fouled inside two minutes picking up a loose ball ahead of the Rovers midfield.

Walker had the first strike on goal, PNE winning a free kick down he right form right back Daniel Pike who handled the ball going towards his own goal, but it caused no threat.

But the no.7 found the target just three minutes later and opened the scoring eight minutes in. He collected the ball down the right wing, carrying it into the area and creating space for an effort on goal; his left footed strike bent into the far corner.

Blackburn had their first chance just a couple of minutes later, Georgie Gent finding the feet of Harry Leonard who fired into the side netting.

PNE came forward next, just short of a quarter of an hour in, Walker picking the ball up down the right, carrying it across to the left and playing a one two with Lewis Coulton before flashing an inviting ball across the face of the six yard box on the run. The ball cleared away just before Louis Potts could apply the finishing touch.

Rovers began to apply pressure of their own and have more of the running.

Leonard’s low cross was blocked well by Tyler Williams before he was at it again to prevent a short Jared Harlock corner resulting in an equaliser.

Potts had a chance to double PNE’s lead, with space on the edge of the box, and a run from Brian McManus ignored, he shot at goal but couldn’t beat Jordan Eastham in the Blackburn net.

Walker continued to cause problems, getting in behind and being brought down by Flavien Enzo Boyomo on the edge of the box, the young defender receiving a yellow card but nothing coming from the free kick.

Blackburn pulled level five minutes before the break, Jimmy Corcoran coming for a ball and being beaten to it by Harlock, who managed to pull it back into the path of Wright-Phillips who slotted into an empty net.

North End started the second half the brighter of the two sides, Coulton’s corner whipped into the middle where Dolan headed towards goal but could only direct it into the floor, where Eastham gathered after the bounce.

They got their rewards just short of the hour, Potts laying the ball into Walker who drove from range, his effort parried into the path of the onrushing Dolan who put the Lilyhwites into the lead.

Blackburn pressure followed but again Williams was on hand as the last line of defence, before the game was turned on its head.

Ben Dooley drove forward from right back and received a hefty challenge from behind from Georgie Gent, with the pair tangling legs as they went to ground. Dooley got to his feet and gave the left back a tap on the head as he walked past, swinging his right arm in his direction but not seeming to make much contact. The left back went down holding his face and Kristian Silcock produced the red card.

With a man advantage, Blackburn levelled on 75 minutes. A corner from the right by Jared Harlock turned in at the near post by Jalil Saadi, which McFayden could do nothing to stop on the line.

Just three minutes later they would have the lead, another corner from the right turned home, this time at the far post by Zak Gilsenan.

As PNE pushed for an equaliser they were punished, four minutes into five added on, Sam Burns took advantage of a three on two situation to fire past Corcoran.

Blackburn: Eastham, Pike, Gent (Cirino, 86), Whitehall, Boyomo, Saadi, Burns, Harlock, Leonard (Lonsdale, 73), Wright-Phillips (Gilsenan, 73), Brennan. Subs not used: Dowling, Wyatt, Weston, Durrant.

PNE: orcoran; Dooley, Earl, Williams (Blanchard, 90+4), McFayden; Nolan, McManus; Walker, Dolan (Bennett, 90+1), Coulton; Potts (Holland-Wilkinson, 66). Subs not used: Nicholson, Lombard, Huddart, Rodwell-Grant.

Referee: Kristian Silcock.