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Steve Stone was hoping to have some of his more senior players available for the under-23’s game today at Cheltenham and he got just what he wanted in a 3-2 win for the Clarets against the League Two club’s first team.

Central defender Jimmy Dunne, full back Ali Koiki and midfielder Josh Benson have all been with the first team thus far in pre-season, all three going on the trip to Portugal, but all three were in the under-23 team today, three players Michael Duff, in the opposition dug out, knows all about.

1920 burnley josh benson 01 500x500We twice went in front only for Cheltenham to equalise in the first half. Our two goals were scored by two of the three trialists on view with both Benson (pictured) and Dunne playing a part in the second. Cheltenham, though, came back both times with goals from the experienced Luke Varney whose last appearance against Burnley came in January 2016 for Ipswich when he came on as a late substitute.

Cheltenham were the more progressive side in the first half but it was Burnley who got on top after the break, scoring a third and winning goal just six minutes in when Benson’s free kick was headed home by Bobby Thomas.

There were very different reactions from the two dug outs after the game. Cheltenham boss, and former Claret, Michael Duff was far from happy. He said; “I was disappointed that every time the ball went in our box one of them headed it and not us.

“They’ve had three shots on target in the game. You don’t expect an academy team to be physically better than us in the box which tells me it was just the mentality. Generally we’re pretty good at those sorts of things. We’re a big tam, nine of our players are over six foot, and they just wanted it more than us.”

Steve Stone said of his players: “I said beforehand it was about finding their level. This was a game against proper men, a League Two side, and they showed what they can do. That will give them huge belief and that’s what you’re looking for. Playing under-23s football you’re never quite sure where they’re going to get to. That gives them a little bit of a barometer today, which is pleasing for them.”

Our next, and final, pre-season game is at Curzon Ashton this Wednesday. Kick off 7:45 p.m.

The teams were;

Cheltenham: Scott Flinders, Sean Long, Charlie Raglan (Grant Horton 82), Ben Tozer, Dan Bowry, Ryan Broom (Jake Gray 62), Rohan Ince, Chris Clements (Conor Thomas 73), William Boyle, Luke Varney (Alex Addai 82), Tahvon Campbell (Jonte Smith 62). Subs not used: Rhys Lovett, Archie Brennan.

Burnley: Adam Legzdins, Jordan Cropper, Bobby Thomas, Jimmy Dunne, Scott Wilson, Trialist (Cricky Conn-Clarke 52), Trialist (Christian N’Guessan 73), Josh Benson, Ali Koiki, Trialist (Lewis Richardson ht), Rob Harker. Subs not used: Kai Calderbank-Park, Joel Senior, Vinnie Steels, Will Harris.

Referee: John Busby.

Attendance: 548.

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