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Two days ago the first team suffered a 5-0 defeat against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, but just down the road this afternoon at Curzon Ashton our under-23s beat Sheffield United 6-0 in the Professional Development League.

This was an afternoon of no controversial decisions, although we did have two goals ruled out for offside, and it was, overall, a terrific performance from the young Clarets who were boosted with the inclusion of Ben Gibson in the centre of defence and Robbie Brady, who was watched by both Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane, on the flank.

1819 burnley tinashe chakwana 00 500x500But this was not a performance inspired by the two experienced players, nor goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard, who made one good save and, otherwise, had precious little to do. It was a performance where no player had a disappointing game but one where some stood out. We just have to mention Tinashe Chakwana (pictured) in that group. It’s rare to see a player score four times in a game and it was four goals he fully deserved in his performance.

Josh Benson, who  played the first half in his first start this season as he continues his return from injury, was outstanding as was his midfield partner Mace Goodridge, and that’s not forgetting the, at times, inspirational Dwight McNeil who showed us just why he’s now part of the first team squad.

Benson it was who played in Chakwana for the opener on just six minutes. It was a superb ball from the former Arsenal midfielder and Chakwana took the chance really well. As Burnley dominated, Brady headed over, Agyei came close as the young Blades struggled to cope with us.

Then, on 32 minutes, we doubled the lead but there was some confusion initially as to who had the final touch. Agyei headed a ball towards goal and from that moment it was difficult to see what did actually happen. Apparently it was blocked on the line and as players from both sides went towards the ball it was Chakwana who got the final touch.

Half time came at 2-0 after a really enjoyable 45 minutes. Benson was replaced ahead of the second half with Mark Howarth coming on. If we feared a comeback by Sheffield United, we soon got the answer. Just 90 seconds into the half we got our third and Chakwana had his hat trick with another really well struck effort into the bottom corner after he’d been set up by Howarth.

A free kick on the right brought goal number four with twenty minutes remaining. The trusted left foot of Brady found Agyei who headed home. We thought we’d got a fifth a minute later but Chakwana was ruled offside, the first of two goals we had disallowed, although on this occasion there was no berating of any officials for getting it wrong.

But Chakwana didn’t have to wait too long to get his fifth and what a goal this one was. Oliver Younger played a lovely ball out to Ali Koiki on the left. He surged forward, looked up, pulled a ball back from Chakwana and again the striker made absolutely no mistake. It was his last bit of action; he was replaced before the game resumed.

It looked as though it was going to be another 5-0 scoreline in two days the east of the city but Howarth put paid to that, heading home goal number six from another ball played in by Brady.

There were so many positives. We were by far the better side, we played some very attractive football and the four young midfielders  who featured all had really good games. Add to that, we saw two first team players get a full ninety minutes in. It was good to see them in action.

It was also good to see Andy Farrell back on the touchline. He was still on crutches at the last under-23 home game following hip surgery but was in charge this afternoon.

That’s a good a performance as I’ve seen from our under-23s since we joined the league last season.

The teams were;

Burnley: Anders Lindegaard, Jordan Cropper, Oliver Younger, Ben Gibson, Ali Koiki, Robbie Brady, Mace Goodridge (Tunde Bayode 77), Josh Benson (Mark Howarth ht), Dwight McNeil, Tinashe Chakwana (Rob Harker 71), Dan Agyei. Subs not used: George McMahon, Anthony Glennon.

Sheffield United: Marcus Dewhurst, Harry Sheppeard, Harry Boyes, Jordan Doherty, George Cantrill (David Parkhouse 17), Reece York, George Broadbent, Oliver Greaves (Harrison Neal 27), Simeon Oure (Tom Williams 73), Jordan Hallam, Stephen Mallon. Subs not used: Jordan Amissah, Harrison Foulstone.

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