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Burnley have beaten Barnsley 1-0 tonight in the Professional Development League and no one at Curzon Ashton tonight could deny that we were fully deserving of the points.

We’ve seen us win one league game there against Leeds and then take a hammering at the hands of Sheffield United, but tonight, and with a very young team, we turned in as good a performance as any this season to take our run of league and cup games unbeaten to four.

1718 burnley olatunde bayode 00 500x500With players such as Harry Flowers, Oliver Younger and Dwight McNeil having played in the behind closed doors game against Oldham two days earlier, and such as Khius Metz and Mark Howarth both injured, it really was a younger team than usual. We started the game with nine teenagers, including two 17-year-old central defenders, and the only two players in their 20s were 20-year-old Jamie Thomas and captain Arlen Birch who is 21. Even the two players who came on a substitutes were just 18, one of them, Oliver Younger, celebrating that particular birthday just two days ago.

We looked the more likely side in the first half. We were close to opening the scoring in the first couple of minutes and posed a threat throughout while Barnsley only once came close to troubling goalkeeper Aidan Stone who had nothing more than a routine save to make.

By half time, with the score still at 0-0, we had probably deserved to be in front but in the second half we stepped things up and controlled it for virtually the rest of the game.

Tunde Bayode (pictured) was causing them problems with his pace and twice came close, one of them with a chipped effort that just cleared the bar, but the closest we came was from a Thomas free kick that was Robbie Blake like. Expected to fire in a shot to the left of the wall, his effort went low and to the other side. It looked to be curling into the bottom corner until Barnsley keeper Jack Walton got across to make a fine save to deny him.

But we weren’t to be denied and 16 minutes from time we got the goal that counted. Rahis Nabi played a superb ball from the right for Bayode to run on to. This time, having got past the defender, his shot counted into the bottom corner.

Barnsley tried to get back into the game. They got the ball into our box a couple of times and they did force Stone into one save, but a second goal for us could have come on more than one occasion before we closed the game down really well in the closing minutes to ensure this third league win of the season.

The performance pleased coach Michael Duff. “I thought we were excellent,” he said. “It was a good game. The first half was cagey but it was an enjoyable game to watch and we bossed it second half.”

He added: “The most pleasing thing was the performance. I’ve said all the time while we are in this league it’s important to win games and when you’re 1-0 up with five minutes to go it’s important to see it out. But it’s probably the first time we’ve had a performance and a result.”

For now, the win has taken us up to seventh in the league and we are back at Curzon Ashton in four days time when Bolton are the visitors.

The teams were;

Burnley: Aidan Stone, Arlen Birch, James Clarke, Scott Wilson (Oliver Younger 60), Ali Koiki, Tunde Bayode, Jamie Thomas, Christian N’Guessan, Rahis Nabi, Tinashe Chakwana, Harry Limb (Tommy Wood 72). Subs not used: Connor King, Kian Yari, Tristan Jumeau.

Barnsley: Jack Walton, Will Smith, Louis Wardle, Romal Palmer (Sam Tingle 80), Sam Fielding, Adam Lund, Kane Swinburn, Matthew Wolfe, Victor Adeboyejo, Jacob Brown, Rhys Dolan (Louis Rowe 84). Subs not used: Jake Greatorix, Cameron Simpson, Tom Clare.

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