BLACKBURN Rovers head coach Eric Kinder cut a delighted figure after his under-strength side made the perfect start to the new U21 Premier League Division Two season with an impressive 2-0 win at new boys Brighton.
Second-half strikes from Jordan Preston and full U21 debutant Modou Cham, set up by Dean Rittenberg and John O’Sullivan respectively, earned Rovers a fully deserved victory.
Kinder, who was without Hyuga Tanner, Jordan Slew, Connor Mahoney and Devarn Green through injury and illness, said: “I am absolutely delighted. To come down here with a young side and perform like that was exceptional.
“We stared like a house on fire and really we should have been 4-0 up at half-time, we were wondering at the break if the chances had passed us by. Thankfully we went out in the second half and got the goal straight away.
“We were on the front foot for probably all but 10 minutes of the match.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them with the way they played, it was a vibrant performance.
“The way we saw out the last 15 minutes by keeping the ball was superb, 2-0 doesn’t reflect how much domination we had.”
Kinder paid particular mention to the debut performance produced by former Sunderland and Newcastle midfielder David Carson, who Rovers plucked from non-league football toward the back end of last season.
Kinder said: “David Carson really got to grips with the game and enjoyed his best bit of football since he signed, it looked like he has really settled down after a tough few months.
“He broke up play, he made tackles, he got up and down the pitch – I’m delighted with him, he can be proud of his performance.
Kinder added: "The back four were superb, led very well by Darragh Lenihan, with Kellen Daly outstanding for us, and after playing for the Academy on Saturday, Sam Joel came on and made a statement – he’ll certainly get another chance.”
Rovers welcome Aston Villa to Leigh Sports Village on Monday (7pm) for their first home game of the season.
To claim free entry to the match supporters should visit www.leighsportsvillage.co.uk/rovers or email firstname.lastname@example.org.