FA YOUTH CUP
Blackburn Rovers moved ominously into the last eight.

Rovers' late winner

By David Barber. Wednesday, 25 February 2004.
Blackburn Rovers, who have reached the FA Youth Cup Final twice in the last six years, moved into the quarter-finals of this season’s competition at a freezing Morecambe last night. They now have a home tie against Manchester United, the current holders.

In a particularly hard-fought match the home side had a player stretchered off as early as in the second minute. After a quick one-two with Sergio Peter, Rovers’ Joel Byrom beat Gillingham ‘keeper Knowles with a 38th-minute header but the ball thudded against the bar and away to safety. In the last seconds of the half the Gills, conquerors of Liverpool’s youth side at Anfield, took the lead when Edusei flicked in Jarvis’s cross at the near post.

Rovers had to wait until the 72th minute before they got on level terms, Knowles making a mess of Andy Taylor’s free-kick that bounced up over his head. Taylor’s corner nine minutes from time was expertly back-headed into the net via the bar by Joe Garner and despite concerted Gills pressure in the four minutes of added time, Rovers held on for a 2-1 victory.

Sunderland take on Crewe Alexandra in another FA Youth Cup Fifth Round tie at the Stadium of Light tonight (7.00). The Black Cats’ youngsters have already seen off Charlton and Ipswich and will face Swindon in the quarter-finals if they win tonight.

Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy said of the Youth Cup: "It’s a fantastic competition and a great chance to see some top quality football. Our lads have done really well to get this far - they’ve had two great wins away from home, so they’ll relish the chance to play at the Stadium of Light. I know how magnificent our fans are and their support will make a tremendous difference to the lads".

             

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