Newcastle United U23s 1 Blackburn U23s 2
Newcastle United FC
Ten-man Newcastle United Under-23s suffered a 2-1 Premier League 2 loss at the hands of Blackburn Rovers on Friday afternoon.
Yasin Ben El-Mhanni put the Magpies ahead at Little Benton, but they held their lead for barely two minutes before Daniel Butterworth levelled the scores.
And Butterworth's second just under 20 minutes from time sealed the win for Rovers, condemning United - who had Stuart Findaly sent off late on - to defeat.
A Liam Gibson cross almost produced the first goal early on as Haris Vuckic headed goalwards, but Joshua Powell got down well to turn it away.
In a largely uneventful opening to the game, Rovers - managed by former Blackburn midfield duo Damien Johnson and David Dunn - threatened sporadically through Butterworth, but it was the hosts who again went close to breaking the deadlock when El-Mhanni's shot after Vuckic's lay-off was blocked.
But just seconds later, the Magpies did take the lead. When the ball ran kindly into his path, El-Mhanni curled home with his left foot, leaving Powell with no chance.
Rovers responded by going close through Joseph Rankin-Costello's low shot which flashed wide, and when Rob Elliot miscued a clearance they seized their opportunity just two minutes after Newcastle's opener.
Butterworth's fine effort found the top right-hand corner, leaving Elliot helpless and drawing the visitors level just before the half-hour mark.
Victor Fernandez's wayward shot flew over before Powell picked up a backpass close to his own goalline under pressure from El-Mhanni, but United couldn't profit from the indirect free kick as the first half ended level.
Butterworth tested Elliot quarter of an hour after the restart, firing in a low drive which the Republic of Ireland goalkeeper did well to hold.
Then El-Mhanni went close to a second at the other end. When Fernandez was brought down, the 21-year-old stepped up to whip in a free kick which Powell did well to turn wide.
Fernandez's pace down the left almost created a tap-in for El-Mhanni, but a retreating Rovers defender did well to get in front of the winger and clear.
And they were made to pay with 20 minutes remaining, as Butterworth grabbed his second of the game with a low shot that found its way in via the upright after Newcastle had failed to clear the danger.
Centre back Findlay saw red with seven minutes remaining when he picked up his second yellow having been adjudged to have pulled back Stefan Mols and, while Vuckic almost rescued a point when his sliding effort drew Powell into a save late on, the Magpies couldn't find a leveller.
Newcastle United Under-23s: Rob Elliot; Callum Williams (Lewis Cass 61), Curtis Good, Stuart Findlay, Liam Gibson; Dan Ward (Matty Longstaff 79), Dan Barlaser; Jamie Holmes, Yasin Ben El-Mhanni (Owen Bailey 85), Victor Fernandez; Haris Vuckic.
Subs not used: Nathan Harker, Craig Spooner.
Blackburn Rovers Under-23s: Joshua Powell, Lewis Travis, Jack Doyle, Joseph Grayson, Tyler Magloire, Charley Doyle, Stefan Mols, Lewis Hardcastle, Lewis Mansell, Daniel Butterworth, Joseph Rankin-Costello.
Subs not used: Andrew Jackson, Matthew Campbell, Tre Pemberton, Lewis Thompson, Callum Hendry.