BLACKBURN Rovers Under 21s manager Eric Kinder admitted his side were beaten by the better team after they were knocked out of the Premier League U21 Cup by giant-killers Exeter City.
Rovers, for whom only John O’Sullivan and Paulo Jorge had first-team experience, took an undeserved lead at St James Park on Tuesday night thanks to Jordan Preston’s 21st goal of the season.
But Exeter, whose line-up contained 10 players who have played senior football, fought back to win 2-1 and secure their place in the quarter finals.
Kinder said: “Fair play to them, they were better than us on the night.
“In the first half we got away with a few moments in our box but we did okay and Jordan Preston has scored a great goal.
“But everything we talked about at half time we didn’t do and we were put under tremendous pressure in the first 20 minutes of the second half and conceded silly goals.
“But for David Raya it could have been more, he made five outstanding saves.”
The prolific Preston put Rovers in front in the 42nd minute when he met a Raheem Hanley cross and sent a header into the net.
But they were pegged back two minutes after restart when an under-hit back pass from Hugo Fernandez led to Scott Bennett equalising.
And four minutes later the Grecians – who had knocked out Crystal Palace and Southampton to set up the last 16 tie – completed the comeback as Jimmy Keohane punished a poor O’Sullivan pass.