Lancashire Senior Cup quarter-final
Blackburn Rovers vs. Manchester United
Venue: Leigh Sports Village
Date: Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Kick-off: 19:00 BST
A strong Manchester United side booked their place in the Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final with an emphatic 5-0 win against Blackburn Rovers.
They face an away tie versus Wigan Athletic next, thanks to goals from Will Keane, Ander Herrera, Andreas Pereira and a brace from substitute Joe Rothwell.
Adnan Januzaj and Jonny Evans also played, as United looked to get some important game time under the belts of those recently back from injury or who have been sitting on the sidelines in recent weeks, as a busy festive period approaches for the first team.
Less than a minute on the clock and Marnick Vermijl’s threaded through ball found Keane, whose left foot shot was saved behind by Ryan Crump at his near post.
Devarn Green then beat the offside trap and took on a spectacular volley, which needed to be turned behind by the experienced Anders Lindegaard at the other end.
The opening goal then came just after a quarter of an hour.
Herrera spread the ball out to Januzaj, who cut inside from the right-hand touchline, before feeding the overlapping Saidy Janko with a weighted through ball, and Janko’s low first time cross into the box was turned home by Keane (Vine).
A little under 60 seconds later and Keane saw a shot blocked before Januzaj hit the rebounded loose ball just wide.
A rare Blackburn attack saw Green have a shot held by Lindegaard in the United goal and captain Tom Thorpe crucially block a certain tap in for veteran striker Chris Brown a minute later.
Josh Harrop fired over moments before being forced off through injury, but he was able to see United double their lead before being withdrawn and replaced by Rothwell.
Janko won a free-kick on the by-line, and Januzaj took it short, as Herrera ran onto the end of it, and fired the ball into the back of the net with a neat first time strike (Vine).
A melee of United chances then followed, with Januzaj forcing Crump to palm his corner away from goal, before the latter tipped the former’s left-footed strike from distance behind for another corner.
Janko’s audacious volley fell wide without troubling and another first time strike by Herrera, this time from Andreas Pereira’s lay-off, was held.
And it was Pereira who made it 3-0 just before half-time, bringing the ball forward and firing a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area and past the helpless right hand of Crump (Vine), as United stormed into the break with an unassailable lead.
Into the second half and Herrera could’ve had two in the space of as many minutes.
A left-foot shot treacled wide before his first time effort from Vermijl’s cut back fell just over the bar.
A fourth was added, however, with Herrera the instigator in the move.
His pass into the box found Rothwell, who teed up Keane, whose shot was blocked, but Rothwell was on hand to fire home the rebound (Vine).
A loose header from Rovers’ left-back Adam Henley fell kindly to Keane, who set himself for the volley, but could only find the hands of Crump, low down to his left.
Thorpe was then booked for a foul on the edge of the box, but Lindegaard held Connor Mahoney’s resulting free-kick with ease.
Ben Pearson was going about his business nicely, under the radar considering the other talents on show, and his deflected shot found the outside of the post.
Januzaj and Pereira both saw shots blocked but with 10 minutes to go, United’s number 16 made it five, as Rothwell rounded off an excellent display for the Red Devils.
Just minutes after being grounded by an injury, Rothwell’s clever give-and-go between him and Pereira was flicked on delicately by Pearson for Rothwell to unleash a first time shot into the top corner, with the intricate passing very pleasing on the eye (Vine).
A sour note to end the match, with United playing the final eight minutes plus stoppage time a man light, after Thorpe was forced off through injury and United having already used up their quota of substitutes.
Nonetheless, a performance and result that Warren Joyce can be proud of, with United one step away from the final.
Having won this competition 14 times, beaten only by Blackburn themselves with 18, Joyce will be keen to add this trophy to his CV, and get these youngsters a taste of more silverware, having lifted the Manchester Senior Cup just a few months previous.
Back to league action next Monday for this crop of players, with a tasty trip to Southampton on the agenda, as United aim to keep a grasp on top spot in Division 1.
Manchester United: Lindegaard; Janko (Grimshaw 68), Thorpe, J. Evans (Love 65), Vermijl; Pearson, Herrera, Harrop (Rothwell 29); A. Pereira, W. Keane, Januzaj.
Subs: Love, J. Pereira, Grimshaw, Weir, Rothwell.
Manager: Warren Joyce
Blackburn Rovers: Crump; Nyambe (Doyle 59), Tanner, Songo’o, Henley; Daly, Taylor (Preston 78); Mahoney, Green, Rittenburg; Brown (Bauress 51).
Subs: Bauress, Williams, Doyle, Preston, Lavelle.