U23 Report: Blackburn 1-0 Saints

By SFC Media Tue 20 Mar Blackburn v Saints
Photo by James Bridle | Olufela Olomola
Tue 20 Mar 7PM
Premier League 2 - Division 2
Blackburn
1
Southampton
0
Evans [90']
Magloire (16') Simmonds (73')
Slattery (20') Johnson (30') Hesketh (86')
Referee: Marc Edwards | Venue: Lancashire County FA | Attendance: 171

Jack Rose saved a penalty for the second time in a row against Blackburn on Tuesday night but it was not enough to prevent Saints from slipping to defeat in Leyland on Tuesday night.

A string of fine saves from Rose earned his team a draw in the same fixture a month previously in the Premier League Cup and the ‘keeper was in excellent form once more here to deny the home side until second-half stoppage time.

A point-blank block on Rovers’ William Tomlinson kept the visitors level before half-time and a low diving save to parry Joseph Grayson’s late spot-kick looked to have ensured the visitors returned to Staplewood with something to show for on the night, but it was not to be.

Jack Evans curled home from the edge of the box after 90 minutes to snatch victory for the PL2 league leaders in what was the match’s only real moment of attacking quality.

Comprehensively beaten by a fine Leicester side in the PL Cup on Friday, Radhi Jaïdi’s Saints responded with greater resilience here and their determination all over the field before Evans’s last-gasp strike will have pleased the former Saints centre-back in spite of the result.

Both sides had opportunities to win the game in a first half which promised plenty but gave way to a scrappy affair as the evening drew on.

Beginning the brighter, Tyreke Johnson crossed for Siph Mdlalose to volley wide on the run at the back post for Saints but it was Blackburn who ought to have struck first. 

After a spell of territorial dominance and control of the second balls in midfield, a deflected shot spun kindly into the path of Evans who sliced wide unmarked from the middle of the penalty area with Rose beaten.

Saints fashioned a gilt-edged chance of their own from nothing shortly afterwards.

The high pressing of the energetic Mdlalose forced a mistake in the home defence and the South African squared for Jake Hesketh to side-foot wide via a deflection with the goal at his mercy.

The missed opportunity almost cost Jaïdi’s charges immediately; a sweeping breakaway from right to left at the other end was denied brilliantly by the legs of Rose from William Tomlinson’s snapshot at the near post.

Johnson headed clear from the under the crossbar from the resulting corner as an even and competitive opening period drew to a close.

The contest recommenced in much the same fashion: loose balls aplenty in the middle with decisive touches in the final third at a premium; it wasn’t until the 73rd minute that Saints tested Rovers keeper Andrew Fisher for the first time, Callum Slattery tamely curling into his arms from a free-kick.

Coach Jaïdi sent on 16-year-old Enzo Robise – on the scoresheet in style in the U18s’ 1-1 draw with Reading at the weekend – in place of Mdlalose in search of a winner yet the biggest moment of the encounter occurred in the visiting penalty area.

A trip from Ben Rowthorne sent Blackburn’s Grayson to the spot with a chance to seal all three points six minutes from time. Rose’s one-handed save low to his right was worthy of at least a point for Saints but Rovers soon bounced back to net the game’s deciding goal.

With the Saints defence packed tightly before him, Evans dug a loose ball out of his feet to curl into the corner from the edge of the area to settle proceedings in stoppage time.

Blackburn

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    58
    42
  • Shots
    15
    5
  • Shots on target
    6
    1
  • Corners
    6
    4
  • Passes Complete
    270
    157

Blackburn Rovers PL2

1
Andrew Fisher (GK)
6
Joe Grayson
2
Matthew Platt
Lewis Thompson (63′)
5
Tyler Magloire
10
Willem Tomlinson
3
Jack Evans
7
John Buckley
11
Lewis Travis
4
Charley Doyle
8
Lewis Hardcastle (C)
9
Okera Simmonds
15
Nathan Moore
14
James Connolly
16
Lewis Thompson
13
Charlie Albinson
12
Samuel Barnes

Southampton PL2

1
Jack Rose (GK)
3
Tyreke Johnson
6
Aaron O'Driscoll
2
Ben Rowthorn
Christoph Klarer (88′)
5
Alfie Jones (C)
10
Jake Hesketh
8
Callum Slattery
4
Armani Little
11
Nathan Tella
9
Olufela Olomola
7
Siphesile Mdlalose
Enzo Robise (81′)
12
Christoph Klarer
13
Kingsley Latham
15
William Smallbone
14
Harry Hamblin
16
Enzo Robise
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