Mike Sheron always felt Rovers would find a way through Preston’s resistance but admits the visitors going down to 10 men was a big turning point in their FA Youth Cup tie.

Rovers trailed 2-1 going in to the final 20 minutes, but two goals in the space of three minutes shortly after the visitors had a player sent off, and a late Sam Burns strike booked a quarter final meeting with Arsenal.

Preston scored early in both halves, with Rovers equalising just before the breakthrough D’Margio Wright-Phillips. A clash between Preston full back Ben Dooley and Rovers’ Georgie Gent saw the former sent off, with Jalil Saadi heading in the equaliser with 17 minutes to play.

Zak Gilsenan came off the bench to head home another Jared Harlock set play as the Rovers midfielder chalked up a hat-trick of assists. The game was eventually made safe in stoppage time as Sam Burns finished off a counter-attack.

And a delighted Sheron said: “I was (confident), but it’s easier saying that now. I thought first half we had 16 to 17 entries in to the box but didn’t test their keeper with any real intensity.

“Second half, I was pleased to see us score twice from corners, it’s something we’ve been asking them to do and practised a hell of a lot. It came up trumps.

“There are all different ways of winning, it’s something we have been working on, it’s frustrating myself and (coach) Ryan Kidd who does a lot of work on that.

“The lads appreciate his work and to see us win a game of football under the lights at Ewood Park I thought it was great. And Arsenal await now.”

Rovers have now made it past Newport, Charlton and Preston, all at Ewood, to set up a last eight meeting with the Gunners.

The tie, played in front of almost 1,000 fans, had a real cup feel to it, with Sheron pleased with how his side built on their performance in the earlier rounds.

And he admits a run in the Youth Cup, after losing in the third round last year, is great reward for their efforts beyond the scenes.

He added: “Obviously delighted, really pleased for the lads and everyone involved in the Academy. It’s a lot of effort that goes in.

“When you’re in the Youth Cup it’s what people look at and judge you on. Obviously there is a bigger picture and we want to try and get players through to the first team but it is nice to have a little cup run.

“Credit to Preston, they came they were focused with a competitive spirit and scored two good goals. I was really pleased with the way our lads reacted.

“I felt there was a lot more control, composure, bravery. We got through in the last round against Charlton and didn’t think it was a very good performance.

“We’ve been working on that and I’m really pleased the lads showed that bravery and the composure and making things tick.”

Sheron revealed in the build-up to the game that the players hadn’t taken well to the criticism of their performance in the Charlton win.

With a three week wait for the fifth round tie, the Under-18s boss admits that can become draining, given the level of anticipation.

But he couldn’t hide his delight as Rovers moved in to the last eight of the competition.

“They’re buzzing. It’s great to see because I felt sorry for them last time. We weren’t happy, but they had got through,” Sheron said of the feeling in the dressing room.

“We wanted more from them, it was the right thing to do and they came through with flying colours so I’m delighted for them and everyone at the Academy.

“We try and encourage them to make these memories and sometimes your heart can rule your head. We kept our heads and stuck to the game-plan. It was nice to get a goal just before half time which got us back in and gave us confidence an belief.

“We kept passing and moving, plenty of opportunities and I think they put the ball in the net with not too many opportunities.”