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It took an extra thirty minutes of extra time, but Burnley won through to the next round of the Premier League Under-23 Cup, beating Bournemouth 3-2 having twice been behind.

The visitors included two players who had previously been with the Clarets. Ben Whitfield was with us at a very young age before moving on to Bradford City and Guiseley before Bournemouth bought him from the West Yorkshire club. The midfielder has recently signed a new deal with them after impressing on loan last season at Kidderminster.

At the centre of their defence was Shaun Hobson who was released by us at the end of last season after a two year scholarship. Shaun was captain of the youth team last season.

Although this competition allows for a team to field three over age (23) outfield players plus the goalkeeper, Burnley, no doubt with Accrington in mind, didn’t make use of that option with Tom Anderson, at 22, the oldest player on the pitch for us.

We fell behind after 12 minutes when a deflection landed fortunately for Bournemouth’s Sam Surridge who blasted home and for a while it looked as though we might have a difficult afternoon.

Freddy Yao scored the winner in extra time
Freddy Yao scored the winner in extra time

But we came more and more into the game and drew level on 29 minutes. Good work from Ntumba Massanka on the edge of the box with his back to goal allowed him to bring the ball under control and play it into the path of 16-year old Dwight McNeil. He needed no second invitation, hitting a strong shot into the bottom corner.

We weren’t level for long; within a minute Mikael Ndjoli fired in a shot from the right across Conor Mitchell and into the far corner and that’s how it remained up to half time.

Being 2-1 down was a little harsh on us. Over the first half I thought it had been very even, but that was certainly not the case after the break with Burnley dominating the game virtually from then until the final whistle.

Just past the hour we drew level again when Nashé Chakwana turned the defender on the edge of the box and fired home and quite how we didn’t go on to win it I’m not sure. Bournemouth did have a little five minute spell but other than that there was only ever going to be one winner.

It took us until ten minutes from the end of extra time and we have the assistant referee to thank. The referee had spent the entire afternoon missing everything and giving nothing. There were some bad challenges, notably on Jimmy Dunne, Cameron Dummigan and Chakwana. This time substitute Freddy Yao went down in the box and certainly showed his displeasure when the referee did what he’d done all afternoon and ignored it. But this time the eagle eye with the flag saw it, attracted the referee’s attention and the penalty was given.

Yao stepped up to take it but it was saved by the Bournemouth keeper Callum Stanton but Yao was quickly onto the rebound and nudged it past the grounded keeper.

Bournemouth had to push forward now and did, but they didn’t really threaten. Mitchell made one routine save but Burnley were in total control and fully deserving of the victory when the final whistle blew.

It had been a very entertaining game with some outstanding performances from some of our players.

The teams were;

Burnley: Conor Mitchell, Taofiq Olomowewe, Tom Anderson, Jimmy Dunne, Arlen Birch (Freddy Yao 43), Brad Jackson, Mark Howarth, Cameron Dummigan, Dwight McNeil (RJ Pingling 63), Nashé Chakwana, Ntumba Massanka (Olatunde Bayode 90). Subs not used: Tony Aghayere, Robbie Leitch.

Bournemouth: Callum Stanton, Jordan Lee, Ollie Hartfield, Jake McCarthy, Shaun Hobson, Callum Buckley, Mikael Ndjoli, Sam Matthews, Sam Surridge, Ben Whitfield, Brandon Goodship. Subs: Patrick O’Flaherty, Tyler Lordner, Matt Worthington, Keelan O’Connell, Kyle Taylor.

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