Share this page :

A much changed Burnley team proved much too good for League Two Salford last night in the third round of the League Cup with us recording a comfortable 4-0 win.

The tie was over as a contest once we’d gone two goals ahead with just twenty minutes gone. Number three following soon after that and although we had to wait until close to the end for the final goal, this had been as comfortable a passage into the next round as was possible.

Ahead of the game, names such as Rushden & Diamonds, Hartlepool, Swindon, Accrington, Port Vale and Burton came into my mind. These are all teams who have knocked us out of this competition from 2002 onwards, some proof that we shouldn’t really get excited when drawn against a smaller club in this competition.

I couldn’t help think that this might just be another banana skin that we might go sliding on, but first ever Burnley goals for Sander Berge, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Dara O’Shea and Wilson Odobert ensured there was to be no repeat.

Embed from Getty Images
Back in the 1990s, I drove past Salford’s Moor Lane ground on a regular basis on my way to work, the old non-league ground with its concrete stand. I always wondered whether we might play a pre-season reserve team friendly there but I could never then have thought that it would be a League Cup tie against a team who only won promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Division in 2015, a year after they’d been taken over by a group of former Manchester United players.

So from driving past, to finally seeing Burnley play there last night, becoming the first top flight club to play there too. It was one of the shortest trips of the season for us and one for which we had our pre-match pub stop around a mile away from the ground.

I’m not sure my legs and back are appreciative of it this morning, but this was one of those rare occasions when we can go back in time and stand on terracing behind the goals. We got ourselves positioned just to the left of goal; making sure we were early so the older members of our group (me) would have a barrier to lean on.

It’s a shame that horrible, ugly, concrete stand has gone though. That’s progress I suppose with the now named Peninsula Stadium a small but modern ground with new stands on all four sides.

Embed from Getty Images
For the previous round at Nottingham Forest, Vincent Kompany had made ten changes from the team that had started the previous league game. We discussed how many he might make this time and guessed at maybe around seven our eight. It was eleven, a complete change from the Manchester United line-up which at least ensures I don’t have to work out which players started both.

As for the team news, I’m not sure that many Burnley fans in that away end were aware that Salford had named an ex-Claret in their team but, one Trophy substitute appearance apart, Tosin Olopade was named at right-back. He signed for Salford in the summer having completed his scholarship with Burnley.

Once hearing our team, we were trying to work out just who would be playing where with just three defenders named alongside four wingers. We had the defence sorted with Jack Cork going alongside O’Shea in the centre. As for the wide men, Manuel Benson and Odobert got those berths with Bruun Larsen in a more central position and Anass Zaroury starting in the number ten role although by the end of the game he’d played right, left and centre.

We were defending our end in the first half so much of the action was down at the other end of the ground and it didn’t take too long before that action was well and truly underway yet the opening goal didn’t come in the way we might have expected with us having set the sort of pattern to our play that we saw so often last season although it was a move started by goalkeeper Arijanet Muric, who now seems to have reached cult status with Burnley fans, that led to Salford conceding a corner from an Odobert cross. Our two best players on the night combined when Zaroury’s corner from the left was met by Berge, my man of the match, just beyond the far post to head home.

Embed from Getty Images
Both players were involved again when that lead was doubled. Having received the ball from Zaroury, Berge played a ball forward to Jay Rodriguez who neatly laid it back into Zaroury’s path. He superbly dinked the ball over the defenders and there was Bruun Larsen to get in and lob the goalkeeper. It looked good from the far end; even better when seen since.

It was at this point that I declared that we were through to the next round. I know it’s not the wisest of things to do with only twenty minutes gone, but we were so much in control I didn’t see how on earth Salford could get back into the game.

They couldn’t, and soon afterwards it was three, this time from a free kick following a foul on Odobert. Zaroury knocked it in low, it seemed to come off either a defender or the goalkeeper or both before O’Shea got the final touch.

We scored again before half time when Rodriguez set up Mike Trésor, who had come on as a substitute for the injured Benson. That one was ruled out for offside but we remained in total control up to the break. It was now going to be a matter of how many more goals we might add in the second half.

Embed from Getty Images
Goal number four almost came immediately after the restart only for goalkeeper Alex Cairns to deny Odobert. Cairns was to play a prominent role in the second half, making at least three more good saves as the score continued to remain at 3-0.

Midway through the half, we got the first opportunity to see Han-Noah Massengo who came on as a substitute with Connor Roberts and so it all continued although Salford did win one corner and did have a break that was quickly brought to a halt.

Then, finally, with under ten minutes remaining, we got a goal in front of the fans with Zaroury getting assist number three. Now on the right, his superb ball across found Odobert. He chested it down, went inside the defender before firing into the roof of the net. It was his final involvement and he left to some applause from the away fans who had enjoyed his first start in Burnley colours.

It was now just a matter of seeing time out and we did that with no concerns whatsoever, and the 4-0 win equalled the biggest I’ve seen from Burnley in this competition away from home, the other coming ten years ago at York.

Embed from Getty Images
There was no Burton, no Accrington or any of the others this time. This was as comfortable as it gets with no sign of a banana skin anywhere.

And so, for the fourth season in succession we’ve reached the fourth round. It’s just the seventeenth time we’ve reached this stage in the history of the competition and only seven times have we gone beyond that; the last time we went even further was in our last semi-final year of 2008/09.

A kind draw would be helpful.

The teams were;

Salford: Alex Cairns, Tosin Olopade (Alfie Henderson 90+3), Adrian Mariappa, Curtis Tilt, Kevin Berkoe, Ryan Watson, Elliot Watt (Liam Humbles 81), Matty Lund, Stephen Mallan, Marcus Dackers (Djavan Pedro 80), Conor McAleny (Kelly N’Mail 58). Subs not used: Joe Wright, Matt Smith, Ben Collins, Sandro Da Costa, Jordan Fankwe.
Yellow Card: Tosin Olopade.

Burnley: Arijanet Muric, Vitinho (Connor Roberts 66), Dara O’Shea, Jack Cork, Hannes Delcroix, Sander Berge, Jacob Bruun Larsen (Han-Noah Massengo 66), Manuel Benson (Mike Trésor 27), Anass Zaroury, Wilson Odobert (Aaron Ramsey 83), Jay Rodriguez (Ameen Al-Dakhil 82). Subs not used: James Trafford, Charlie Taylor, Josh Cullen, Luca Koleosho.
Yellow Card: Jay Rodriguez.

Referee: Anthony Backhouse (Cumbria).

Attendance: 3,305.

Click HERE to vote for your man of the match.
Click HERE to post your player ratings.

Follow UpTheClarets:

Share this page :