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For long parts of last season, our under-23s were battling to get off the bottom of the Professional Development League, escaping in just the last week of the season, but our 4-1 win against Cardiff last Monday saw us have the biggest victory in this season’s first week of fixtures.

1819 burnley ben gibson signs 2 500x500It was a week when all the teams in the north group were at home. Seven of them were winners with only Nottingham Forest, who lost 4-3 at home against Crystal Palace, on the losing side. Palace were runaway winners of the south group last season when they scored a lot of goals. Two of their goalscorers from last season started the new season well, both James Daly and Jason Lokilo scoring twice.

There were times last season when our young team came up against much more experienced opposition; this week those roles were reversed when we included Tom Heaton, Kevin Long and new signings Ben Gibson (pictured) and Matěj Vydra in our team.

Cardiff coach Andy Legg saw it as a challenge for his young team. “It was a great test for the lads to play against such an experienced team,” he said. “It’s a big learning curve for the players but a great experience. It just goes to show what’s required at this level. Playing against someone like Matěj Vydra, who was the top scorer in the Championship last year and just been brought to this club for the Premier League, that’s the standard the boys have to reach.”

Besides the two Palace players, Sam Dalby scored twice for Leeds in a 2-1 win against Coventry and there were also two goals for Ipswich’s Ben Morris although they were beaten 3-2 at Sheffield United.

This week will see the reverse of the first week with all the south group teams at home. Watford play host to Sheffield United on Friday with the nine remaining games being played next Monday. That includes our trip to Coventry which will be played at Liberty Way, home of Nuneaton Town. Kick off is at 1 p.m.

The League Tables and our Fixtures & Results can again be found in U23/U18 Stats on the top menu.

The first week’s results and the next fixtures are below.

LAST WEEK’S RESULTS

Friday 10th August
Barnsley 2 QPR 2
Nottingham Forest 3 Crystal Palace 4

Saturday 11th August
Birmingham 3 Watford 1

Sunday 12th August
Hull 2 Colchester 0

Monday 13th August
Bolton 3 Bristol City 1
Burnley 4 Cardiff 1
Leeds 2 Coventry 1
Sheffield United 3 Ipswich 2
Sheffield Wednesday 1 Millwall 0

Wednesday 15th August
Crewe 1 Charlton 1

THIS WEEK’S FIXTURES

Friday 17th August
Watford v Sheffield United

Monday 20th August
Bristol City v Sheffield Wednesday
Cardiff v Barnsley
Charlton v Birmingham
Colchester v Bolton
Coventry v Burnley
Crystal Palace v Crewe
Ipswich v Hull
Millwall v Leeds
QPR v Nottingham Forest

LEADING GOALSCORERS

2: Sam Dalby (Leeds), James Daly (Crystal Palace), Jason Lokilo (Crystal Palace), Ben Morris (Ipswich)

BURNLEY’S GOALSCORERS

1: Dan Agyei, Tunde Bayode, Ali Koiki, Matěj Vydra

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