PHOTOS: Blackburn Youth 1, Burnley Youth 0

CLARETS Youth team boss Terry Pashley wanted his young guns to be in the tie after the clash at Ewood Park - so it's mission completed as we effectively enter the half-way stage of the FA Youth Cup semi-final.

Friday, 23rd March 2012, 8:33 am

A valiant and, at times, Herculean effort ensured that a place in the final is still a reality as the Clarets look to overturn the 1-0 deficit at Turf Moor on Wednesday.

It was a clash were physicality overcame technicality but there was certainly no shame in defeat against their rivals. What Rovers had in athleticism and pace the Clarets matched with energy and determination.

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Striker Raheem Hanley's glancing header in the 32nd minute decided the first leg as he reacted quickest to Osayamen Osawe's floated cross to beat keeper Josh Cook in front of the Darwen End, housing 3,000-plus Clarets fans.

Osawe had the first effort of note but he miscued when well placed just outside the six-yard box.

At the other end, Cameron Howieson's sublime pass fell into the path of Shay McCartan who lifted his effort high and wide when under pressure on the edge of the penalty area.

Rovers continued to pump deep crosses in to the box but the young Clarets defended superbly and quelled the danger with great composure. John O'Sullivan sliced a half-volley wide as the Clarets rearguard closed him down 20 yards from goal.

Osawe's pace was causing problems as he cut in from the left flank, and a sudden injection caused full-back Aryn Williams problems as the Rovers forward hit the byeline and pulled the ball back for Curtis Haley who blazed over at the near post.

Steven Hewitt and Luke Gallagher went close for the Clarets prior to the opener; the former's 25-yard drive was splendid but creeped above Matthew Urwin's bar before Gallagher opened his body inside the area and searched for the corner, but his effort was blocked en-route to goal.

Hanley struck in the 32nd minute, sending the home crowd in to raptures, before Archie Love signed off from the first half with a measured strike that floated past the post.

At half-time it's Rovers Youth 1 Clarets Youth 0.

The second half had a similar ring to the tale. Rovers continued to power forward, while the Clarets engineered a tight unit that frustrated their foes before looking to counter. Williams went close early on but his unconvincing effort on the volley from Hewitt's corner sailed wide, despite bamboozling goalkeeper Urwin.

Moments later Gallagher pounced on a defensive lapse, beat Adam Henley for pace, but dragged a low effort across Urwin and wide of the far post. But Rovers' imposing presence continued to show and after winning a battle in midfield, Osawe darted towards the edge of the box and clipped a pass in to Hugo Fernandez who headed in to the arms of Cook at the back post.

Pashley's side looked to stretch the home side's back line on the break and they were almost rewarded when an intricate one-two between Luke Conlan and Howieson inside the area resulted in the full-back's centre being diverted in to the side-netting. Williams headed the resulting set-piece from Hewitt straight at Urwin.

Rovers went close to doubling their advantage on two occasions when goalscorer, and ultimately match-winner, Hanley saw his header deflected on to the bar with Cook rooted to the spot before dangerman Osawe's header in to the ground looped over the bar.

The game took a twist with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining when referee James Adcock dismissed Jack O'Connell for a second bookable offence. The Clarets, despite being wary of conceding another, press in hope of an equaliser but the Rovers youngsters had the legs to cover the necessary ground to nulify Burnley's push forward.

The full-time whistle prompted admirable applause from both sets of supporters, the attendance being just over 10,000, who had witnessed a high octane opening to this tie. It finished Rovers Youth 1 Clarets Youth 0.