Brave youngsters bow out at Blackburn

FA YOUTH CUP Fourth Round Blackburn Rovers 1 Leyton Orient 0 ORIENT S hopes of a fifth round tie with Manchester United came to an end on Monday night when they bowed out of the FA Youth Cup after a battling display at Premier League side Blackburn Rovers

FA YOUTH CUP Fourth Round

Blackburn Rovers 1 Leyton Orient 0

ORIENT'S hopes of a fifth round tie with Manchester United came to an end on Monday night when they bowed out of the FA Youth Cup after a battling display at Premier League side Blackburn Rovers.

In front of a crowd of 561, the O's were always in this fourth round tie, but Jason Banton's penalty 20 minutes from time finally ended their dream.


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O's youth team manager Andy Edwards acknowledged it was always going to be a tough test for his side.

"Looking at Blackburn's results this year they are probably one of the top two or three Academy teams in the country, so it was always going to be a real test for us," he said.

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But the O's, who had seen off Bromley, Swindon Town and Milton Keynes Dons in previous rounds, were not overawed by their Premier League hosts.

Indeed, the O's were quick out of the blocks and Joe Boakye fired in a low shot after just two minutes that was well- saved by home keeper Josh Swann.

In a game of few chances, Blackburn almost broke the deadlock just after the half-hour, but Orient keeper Jack Giddens made an excellent save from Tom Hitchcock.

While, at the other end, Harry Beautyman's searching free-kick eluded everyone and just missed the far post.

Blackburn's youth team have been in excellent form this season and currently sit top of the Premier Academy League Group C, ahead of Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

But Orient relished the challenge of playing on the Ewood Park pitch and Louis Crowther headed wide from a Moses Odubajo cross as the visitors continued to give as good as they got.

After working so hard in the first half, Orient were disappointed not to have gone in at the break in front.

The second half followed a similar pattern and Beautyman went close again with a free kick that curled just past Swann's post.

As O's continued to press, substitute Chris Benjamin stepped inside Josh Morris and forced a good stop from the home keeper.

But Orient's dream of a match with United was ripped from their grasp midway through the second half. Banton wriggled away from Josh Millwood on the left and as he clipped the ball over the advancing Giddens the Rovers player was sent crashing to the ground.

The referee pointed to the spot, although it was harsh on the visiting keeper, and Banton kept his nerve to send Giddens the wrong way.

The young O's keeper denied Michael Potts late on when he saved his free kick, but there was no way back for the O's, although they were able to leave the pitch with their heads held high and drew praise from all quarters.

Rovers under-18 coach Gary Bowyer admitted: "Leyton Orient came and had a right good go at it."

Orient: Giddens, Millwood, Babbs, Mike, Nelson, Odubajo (Benjamin 62), Boakye, Beautyman, Manneh (O'Hara 77), Argent, Crowther. Subs: Bygrave, Richardson, Mabuyaku.

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