BLACKBURN Rovers were knocked out of the Premier League Under-21 Cup last night after losing 2-1 to a more experienced Exeter City side at St James Park.

Rovers, for whom only John O’Sullivan and Paulo Jorge had first-team experience, took an undeserved lead into half-time thanks to Jordan Preston’s 21st goal of the season.

But Exeter, whose line-up contained 10 players who have played senior football, hit back after the break to secure their place in the quarter-finals.

An under-hit back pass from Hugo Fernandez led to Scott Bennett equalizing.

And five minutes later the Grecians – who had knocked out Crystal Palace and Southampton to set up the tie – completed the comeback as Jimmy Keohane punished a poor O’Sullivan pass across his own box.

The final scoreline would have been more emphatic had it not been for outstanding performance by Rovers goalkeeper David Raya.