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After a long and bitterly cold Turf Moor night, we’ve gone out of the FA Youth Cup, beaten by Oxford United on penalties after we ended the game with just nine players.

We led 1-0 for most of the game before conceding a late equaliser which also saw one central defender sent off. His partner went in extra time but we brilliantly hung in to take it to penalties but went out 3-2 having missed three out of our five.

1718 burnley michael fowler 00 500x500As expected, the team was almost completely changed from the one that had won at Hull on Saturday with only Edon Pruti retaining his place as players such as Ethan Kershaw, Bobby Thomas and Michael Fowler (pictured) returned.

Fowler it was who had an early impact, giving us the lead in just the eighth minute. He chased fully forty yards to try and close down the Oxford goalkeeper which forced him into an error. His attempted clearance hit Fowler who did really well to compose himself before sliding the ball into the empty net.

If we thought that was going to be the beginning of an excellent performance then we were disappointed. I’ve seen a lot of the youth team this season and they’ve played some terrific football, but we weren’t able to find that sort of form and Oxford were very much the better side in the first half. The one saving grace was goalkeeper Kai Calderbank-Park not having too much to do and I’m not sure he had to make a single save.

We did improve in the second half. Fowler came close with another effort and Kai Smith had a shot cleared off the line. Rhys Fenlon came on as a substitute and started running at Oxford from a right wing position and was causing them lots of problems. If we could have got a second goal at that point then it would surely have been game over.

We didn’t and Oxford were always in the game. They weren’t dominating as they’d done in the first half but they were always a threat. And that threat paid double dividends with just nine minutes remaining when the forced an equaliser. As they celebrated the goal, Bobby Thomas got caught up with some of them and was hold of the ball. I couldn’t see what happened but reports suggest Thomas raised his hand and the referee, who it has to be said had an absolute nightmare of a game, rightly sent him off.

Even with ten men, we were so close to winning it. Five minutes of stoppage time were added during which Dan Moss fired in a screamer from outside the box which hammered against the underside of the bar.

Extra time it was and with around ten minutes to go we conceded a penalty with Pruti handling the ball. Out came the red card again, leaving us without both our central defenders, but Kai Calderbank-Park came to the rescue with a good penalty save.

We really were up against it now. We had been with ten but with nine players on the pitch and some suffering from cramp I feared we’d be beaten. We were superb for the remainder of the game and limited Oxford to just one real chance which hit the bar and that was ruled out in any case.

It all ended 1-1 but then the penalty shoot out proved to be a disaster although it started well. Fenlon scored our first with Oxford blazing over. Matty Rain saw his spot kick saved with Oxford then netting. That was 1-1.

Kian Yari scored to restore the lead with Oxford quickly levelling. Fowler then shot wide, Oxford scored and Ethan Kershaw had his penalty saved.  It was all over, Oxford went through.

The teams were;

Burnley: Kai Calderbank-Park, Dan Moss, Bobby Thomas, Edon Pruti, Matty Rain, Kai Smith (Kian Yari 112), Terry Mupariwa (Lewis Richardson 112), Ethan Kershaw, Cricky Conn-Clarke (Kane Paterson 83), Vinnie Steels (Rhys Fenlon 58), Michael Fowler. Sub not used: Harry Allen.

Oxford: Max Evans, Harry Sampford (Jack Stevens), Fred Niblett, Nico Jones, Michael Elechi, Kyran Lofthouse, Aaron McCreadie, Leon Chambers-Parillon (Tyler Goodrham), Owen James, Slavi Spasov (Jordan Edwards), Fabio Lopes (Ryan Crooks). Sub not used: Connor Ferguson.

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