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Close Encounter between Blackburn and Blantyre ends in Rovers victory

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Blackburn Rovers
Under-16 LFDA
Hamilton Palace
27 Apr 2014
Blackburn managed to edge ahead of Blantyre in this closely contested game, with some clinical finishing on the part of the Motherwell based team being the difference at the end of a game which was tighter than the score suggests.
The teams were met with blazing sunshine and a perfectly manicured pitch at Hamilton Palace, weather conditions that are unfortunately a rare experience for most LFDA games this season. And it was Blantyre who came out of the starting blocks sharpest, winning a corner in the first minute which was whipped in to the six yard box. With the Blackburn defence static, the ball fell to the feet of an alert Blantyre player left with an easy tap in to goal.
Blantyre were buoyed by this early advantage and took control of the game, causing Blackburn continual problems in defence. Blackburn showed occasional danger up front when they managed to get the ball forward, and with 10 minutes left in the first half a hopeful shot from the edge of the box was deflected into the net by Craig, catching the Blantyre goalie out at the last minute.
Half Time: Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Blantyre BC
At half time Blackburn were still in the game without having played particularly well and started the second half with much more energy, knowing they had carried a degree of fortune from the first half. Within 10 minutes a cross from the right wing found Craig unmarked at the back post and has first time volley was well struck into the back of the net.
Blantyre showed no signs of feeling sorry for themselves and within 5 minutes they were deservedly level. A shot from inside the penalty box looked net bound until Blackburn goalie Higgins pulled off an excellent save, only for the rebound to fall to the Blantyre striker, who showed excellent composure to slot the ball calmly past the keeper.
With level scores both teams felt the game could be theirs and it was clear to everyone watching the next goal would be crucial. Blantyre had some good chances with the woodwork saving Blackburn, and some stalwart defending to keep Blantyre at bay.
The breakthrough came midway through the second half when Blackburn found a spell of pressure on the Blantyre defence rewarded with a shot lashed in from the edge of the box by striker Closs. Blantyre continued to threaten in spite of this setback, but the advantage gave fresh inspiration to Blackburn’s attacking play and within 5 minutes they pulled further ahead. Closs, who had played with vigour all game, chased down the Blantyre defender and harried him on the ball at the outside edge of the penalty box, when there seemed little purpose. He managed to win the ball and with a deft flick, gave himself space to shoot from the tightest of angles. His left foot shot exploded from the right hand side of the box, striking the underside of the bar before going into the far corner of the net with the goalie helpless. This was the goal of the game and took the wind out of Blantyre.
It showed as they gave more space and time to the Blackburn players on the ball. Blackburn’s Taylor took full advantage of this when he found himself in space 20 yards out and curled a delicious strike into the top corner, finishing the game as a contest with 15 minutes left.
Blantyre will no doubt feel the score flatters Blackburn and will regret missing some good opportunities in front of goal. However Blackburn were deadly in the second half as an attacking team and their three goals in a 15 minute spell finished the game convincingly. This was as competitive a game as you are likely to see in youth football but played in an excellent spirit with hardly a bad tackle in the match and nothing but positive contributions from players, coaches and parents. Perhaps the sunshine brings out the best in everyone!
Full Time: Blackburn Rovers 5-2 Blantyre
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