By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Remie Streete was left to bemoan the bad luck of Newcastle United's youngsters as they crashed out of the FA Youth Cup on penalties - but also felt the team were a long way from their best in the first half.
Despite taking the lead through Michael Hoganson, the Magpies were outplayed for much of the opening period by Blackburn, who levelled through Ryan Edwards.
JJ Hooper put United in front for a second time but Robbie Cotton's goal forced extra time and penalties, when Rovers prevailed after converting all three of their kicks while Newcastle missed each of theirs.
Captain Streete, who spoke exclusively to nufc.co.uk after emerging from a dejected dressing room, said: "We didn't play as well as we could have and it's luck, at the end of the day, when it comes to penalties.
"We'd practised them, but on the day it's completely different. The first few lads who stepped up were first-choice penalty-takers and you'd expect them to score. In training they've been bagging them but obviously on the night, it's different.
"In the first half, I think we were as bad as we've played this season but in the second half we picked it up.
"In extra time we still weren't at our best but as I say, it's luck at the end of the day with penalties.
"It was a great atmosphere and the most fans I've played in front of. The fans were great tonight but I thought we didn't really show in the first half, and I thought that was what seperated us at the end of the day."
Ben Sayer and Hoganson both had spot-kicks saved by Blackburn goalkeeper Matthew Urwin while JJ Hooper blazed his effort over the bar as the visitors went through to face Fulham or Burnley in the semi-finals.
Skipper Streete - who was brilliant alongside Louis Storey at the heart of defence - will now be tasked with helping to pick up his team-mates ahead of Saturday's Premier Academy League fixture at Wolves.
"It'll be hard," he admitted. "It's a long journey down as well, plus we're staying over on Friday night. But we've just got to go out there and do our best, and see what happens on Saturday."