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Burnley’s opening game in the Professional Development League ended with us losing 3-1 in a disappointing performance against Charlton Athletic this afternoon

By the end of the game we couldn’t really complain about the result having given away some soft goals and failed to take our chances on an afternoon when we saw a new face in the technical area, when we had a trialist defender from Everton in the team and when Burnley fans arrived being asked to pay £5 each for the privilege.

Arriving early at the County Ground, it was a shock to find that our season ticket holders were being charged £5 for the game, the first time in over sixty years that I’ve been asked to pay for what, in effect, is a reserve team game. There weren’t even any concession prices for seniors so this septuagenarian, after much discussion with a Lancashire FA representative who was very keen to lay the blame at Burnley’s door, paid up while vowing to make this his last ever game at this level should this charge continue.

The Burnley team had been picked up on the way and it was very much a surprise to see none of Finn Armstrong, Jacob Bedeau, Adam Phillips, Ne-Jai Tucker and Owen Dodgson playing. It left us with a very inexperienced looking team, more so with Jake Rooney, Ben Woods and Rob Harker having opted to leave the club since the end of last season.

This was a very young team, including the 16-year-old Joe Bauress, alongside a mystery trialist and with Michael Jackson now involved with the first team, a new coach on the touchline. It took some time to work out who they were but thanks to a visiting scout and a member of the club staff for the information.

Former Blackpool, Liverpool and Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam was the man assisting Andy Farrell on the touchline. We understand he’s just helping out while he takes his first steps on the coaching ladder having secured his badges up to A licence, although that could change with Jackson no longer involved.

The trialist, playing in the centre of defence was Sebastian Kristensen, a player released by Everton at the end of last season. The 19-year-old has been training with Leicester but it was a difficult afternoon for the Dane, who joined Everton three years ago, as it was for us as a whole defensively.

We conceded a goal in just the second minute. Goalkeeper Sam Waller couldn’t hold a shot and after a poor ball from one of our defenders, Tolu Ladapo struck.

It took us a while to recover but when we did, the centre of attention was striker and captain Lewis Richardson (pictured). He failed to score with two opportunities but on the half hour made no mistake with a smart shot from the edge of the box.

It looked certain that we’d go in at half time with the scores level but in the second minute of stoppage time, Charlton regained their lead when Jason Adigun took advantage of some poor defending.

Richardson was so close to equalising for a second time early in the second half but struck the bar with a superb effort but it didn’t signal another Burnley response and we lost our way completely. Midway through the half, Charlton hit the post and Jeremy Santos got onto the rebound. It looked as though the ball went in off Dan Sassi for an own goal but Charlton were 3-1 up and never looked as though they would relinquish that lead.

A 3-1 defeat it was but there was good news to come. Future under-21 games will be free of charge to season ticket holders and I’d like to thank our chief operating officer Matt Williams for his assistance in dealing with this. It was not a Burnley FC issue on a day when just twelve supporters, including myself and a former Burnley director, were forced to pay.

As for the game, this really was such a young team that we shouldn’t read too much into the result.

The teams were;

Burnley: Sam Waller, Keelan Williams, Sebastian Kristensen, Dan Sassi, Dean McCullough, Jacson Coppack (Will Hugill ht), Joe Bauress (Ben Ward 77), Mark Helm, Kade Ratchford, Lewis Richardson (Joe Westley 77), Joe McGlynn. Subs not used: Lewis Thomas, Ryan Tioffo.

Charlton: Nathan Harness, Harris O’Connor, Matt Dench, Zach Mitchell, Charlie Barker, Naz Bakrin, Jason Adigun, Jeremy Santos, Dylan Gavin, Euan Williams, Tolu Ladapo. Subs: Henry Molyneux, Seydil Toure, Sam Oguntayo, Sahid Kamara, Ryan Viggers.

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