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The under-21s fell to a 3-0 defeat this afternoon against Wigan Athletic at Leyland in the Professional Development League.

This was almost the men against boys scenario. Since the turn of the year, our under-21s have lost Mark Fleming, who moved to Burton, along with trio Owen Dodgson, Dara Costelloe and Michael Mellon who are now all out on loan.

It has given us an even younger team with four of today’s starting eleven eligible for the under-18 team, and today they came up against a Wigan side who included six first team players with their new manager Shaun Maloney wanting to give them some game time. Those players have played around 120 Championship games between them this season.

It led to a difficult afternoon and Wigan were in front on fourteen minutes when Tom Pearce hammered home. It was the only goal in a first half that saw Wigan always look the more likely but we weren’t being outplayed and still with hopes of coming back in the second half.

Unfortunately, Pearce scored his and Wigan’s second just five minutes in and just past the hour they scored a third through Chris Sze and that, in terms of any sort of result, was game over.

Things went worse for Burnley. New signing Deji Sotona had come on for his debut just before the third goal and three minutes after the goal was yellow carded and very fortunate, in my view, not to see red after putting his head onto a Wigan player’s head.

If he got away with that, then the red followed six minutes from time; this a second yellow for a bad foul and it left us to play the final few minutes with ten players.

Coach Andy Farrell said after the game that the players will benefit from playing against such an experienced team and the Wigan team is the most experienced we’ve come up against this season.

The teams were;

Burnley: Charlie Casper, Keelan Williams, Jack Turner, Dan Sassi, Brad Grant, Renaldo Torraj (Deji Sotona 60), Joe Bauress, Jez Davies (Seb Thompson 71), Marcel Lewis, Ne-Jai Tucker, Joe Westley. Subs not used: Harry Moss, Dane McCullough, Kade Ratchford.

Wigan: Sam Tickle, Jack Reilly, Ethan Mitchell, Curtis Tilt, Joe Bennett, Babajide Adeeko, Tom Naylor, Thelo Aasgaard, Chris Sze, Tom Pearce, Charlie Wyke. Subs: Matthew Corran, Dylan Dwyer, Harry McHugh, Youssef Chentouf, Joe Rodwell-Grant.

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