A BLACKBURN Rovers U21s side featuring four first-team players, including the fit-again David Dunn, went down to a 5-0 home defeat to a talented Norwich City team last night.
With a host of players out on loan at Football League and Skrill Premier clubs Rovers boss Eric Kinder was forced to field a side mainly made up of Academy hopefuls for the U21s Premier League encounter at Leigh Sports Village.
His line-up was boosted, however, by the inclusion of Dunn, Josh Morris, David Goodwillie and Jake Kean.
But after the influential Dunn was withdrawn in the 70th minute Norwich – featuring nine players from last season’s FA Youth Cup-winning team – ran riot, scoring three goals to seal a comfortable if flattering victory.
Rovers were the better team for most of the first half and 16-year-old winger Connor Mahoney – fresh from his England U17s call-up – and rusty striker Goodwillie – playing his first competitive match for the club since returning from a six-month loan spell at Dundee Untied – forced Norwich’s former Clitheroe and Rossendale United goalkeeper Carlo Nash into action.
But the hosts fell behind in the 36th minute when shocking marking allowed Jamar Loza to head in Josh Murphy’s corner.
Loza went to complete a well-taken hat-trick after the restart before the highly rated Murphy rubbed salt into the wounds with a quickfire late double.