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Burnley beat Stoke City 2-1 last night at Leek Town’s Harrison Park to clinch the Third Direct Development League Cup and it ended just as it had started way back in September of last year.

In our first game in the competition we faced Fleetwood Town at Gawthorpe and we’d fallen 1-0 behind but five minutes later were level with an outstanding goal. Northern Ireland under-21 international Cameron Dummigan got down the left, played a 1-2 one-two with Steven Hewitt and, as he got into the box as he turned the defender, he fired a shot across the goalkeeper into the far corner.

1617 burnley cup winnersLast night, Dummigan ended what he had started with a goal worthy of winning any final. Playing in an uncustomary midfield position, although one in which he certainly played on a few occasions for Oldham last season, he latched on to a ball played up by goalkeeper Nick Pope. He took control of the ball with his right foot, turned inside a defender and then crashed a superb left foot shot into the far corner that gave the Stoke goalkeeper no chance whatsoever of keeping it out to send the small gathering of Burnley fans into raptures as we moved closer to our first piece of silverware since picking up The Lady at the Town Hall last May.

After the game, Stoke coach Glyn Hodges said: “It was a disappointing outcome. We have been waiting for the fixture for what seems like ages, it was supposed to be played in March. We really wanted to win it and we certainly had enough of the game to win it.

“We’ve got players who can score goals but to be fair to Burnley they played well and were hard to break down. They were well organised and it’s one of them things. It’s just a case of moving the ball quicker and being a little bit braver in our play.”

He was certainly very much correct in his assessment that we played well and we were certainly difficult to break down. Stoke had a big double opportunity in the first half when they, firstly, hit a shot against the post and then saw the rebound blocked on the line. They fired over with a decent opportunity in the second half but overall, apart from their goal, didn’t threaten Nick Pope’s goal too much although he did make one very good first half save down at the foot of his post.

It was in the defence that we opted to field some experience, certainly with Jon Flanagan and Danny Lafferty in the full back positions. Flanagan was certainly all smiles when he came over to sign autographs and pose for selfies with some young fans at the end and joked about him winning one trophy per game in his Burnley career.

Between those two in defence were Tom Anderson and recent recruit Jimmy Dunne and how well they both played against a big Stoke attack, and they certainly stood up to the late bombardment as Stoke continued to hit the ball into the box in search of a second equaliser to take the game either into extra time or straight to penalties (none of us knew which).

Our best chance in the first half came almost on the whistle when Nashé Chakwana got free in the box. He didn’t do a lot wrong but was denied by an excellent save by home keeper Daniel Bachmann. However, when his next chance came, just past the hour, he took it to open the scoring.

In truth, it was all down to Stoke who sold the goalkeeper woefully short with a back pass. Ntumba Massanka, who had certainly had a frustrating night to the point, latched onto the ball. Last season, when the goals were flying in, I’d have expected him to fire in a shot but, instead he opted to slide the ball into the path of Chakwana and he had the simplest of tasks of firing into an empty net.

I’d thought that maybe whoever got the first goal would go on to win it 1-0, but on 70 minutes the home side were level. They got a ball in from the right that went beyond the far post for Julien Ngoy to fire home.

But Burnley just stepped it up again and with 13 minutes to go won it with Dummigan’s goal. We did have some defending to do as Stoke got the ball into the box as often as they could, but not once did we look as though we were going to surrender the lead and it was Aiden O’Neill, who had been forced off with an injury, who went back to collect the trophy.

There was certainly some food for thought for Sean Dyche who headed our team in the stands alongside Ian Woan, Tony Loughlan, Billy Mercer and Terry Pashley. They will certainly have been pleased with some of the performances out there in a team which featured no less than nine teenagers including the used substitutes.

Well done lads, it was an enjoyable evening. It always is when you win the cup.

The teams were;

Stoke: Daniel Bachmann, Lewis Banks (Johnville Renee-Pringle 53), Joel Taylor, Sergio Molina (Tyrese Campbell 78), Liam Edwards, Ryan Sweeney, Thibaud Verlinden, Jake Dunwoody, Julien Ngoy, Oliver Shenton, Daniel Jarvis (Hakim Abdallah 60). Subs not used: Daniel Gyollai, Tom Edwards.

Burnley: Nick Pope, Jon Flanagan, Tom Anderson, Jimmy Dunne, Danny Lafferty, Cameron Dummigan, Aiden O’Neill (Arlen Birch 67), Mark Howarth, Brad Jackson, Ntumba Massanka (Robbie Leitch 85), Nashé Chakwana (Dwight McNeil 78). Subs not used: Conor Mitchell, Taofiq Olomowewe.

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