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A goal from Samuel Bastien, one of the new signings, and two more from Ne-Jai Tucker and Bobby Thomas, gave Burnley a 3-1 win at Shrewsbury last Friday in what is our only pre-season friendly to be played in front of spectators.

It was Friday, and that meant travelling isn’t ever going to be the easiest. We went by car with a final pickup in Prestwich, and that meant a route via the M62, M6 and M56 and then via Chester and Wrexham. It was busy at times, but not too bad and we were parked up in good time just a few minutes walk from the ground.

Obviously the chat on the way there had been about the new signings, any potential further new signings and how we were likely to line up in this friendly. By the time we’d got there, the new signings had been increased with the loan capture of Chelsea’s Ian Maatsen and we then learned that three of the six previously signed would start, they being defender CJ Egan-Riley and midfielders Samuel Bastien and Josh Cullen. Liam McNally was on the bench but both Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Scott Twine were both ruled out along with Kevin Long, Ashley Westwood, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Dwight McNeil and Scott Twine.

Although some of the faces in the Burnley technical area were recognisable, certainly new manager Vincent Kompany and his assistant Craig Bellamy, the home team area was more recognisable for us with their manager Steve Cotterill alongside goalkeeping coach Brian Jensen.

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Our starting eleven, along with the many substitutions, is listed below within the line-ups and when we kicked off we were quickly trying to establish who was where and what formation we were playing. It looked very much like a 4-2-2-2 system with Cullen and captain on the night Jack Cork in the first pair with Bastien and Josh Brownhill in front of them and Jay Rodriguez and Ashley Barnes providing a very experienced front two.

We defended the end occupying the Burnley fans in the first half. We were rarely troubled to be honest and didn’t see much of the action at close quarters. There was one effort from Shrewsbury that landed on the top of the net but any nervy moments came from us passing the ball out from the back, something I think we are going to have to get used to.

At the other end, we did seem to be causing Shrewsbury some problems and eventually took the lead when Josh Brownhill, who was to become our top pre-season assister by the time the game was over, played the ball through for Bastien who finished smartly with a left foot shot into the bottom corner.

It should have been 2-0 almost immediately when Ashley Barnes finished, but the referee had blown far too quickly and awarded us a free kick on the edge of the box rather than the goal standing.

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We left the pitch at half time with a 1-0 lead and expected some changes. There were just three initially with more to come as the half progressed; Will Norris, Luke McNally and Ne-Jai Tucker were the three to come on.

If we were expecting more of the play to be directly in front of us, we were disappointed initially with the home side equalising just seconds into the half. Trying to play the ball out, Cullen failed to control a pass out from McNally and when Shrewsbury got the ball back in it allowed Jordan Shipley to score with a shot from the edge of the box.

Although we didn’t dominate as we’d done in the first half, we did go back in front and it was a lead that we never looked like losing. Our second goal was the pick of the bunch. We worked the ball down the right with Barnes eventually playing the ball inside for Cullen who switched it to Brownhill. The midfielder played the ball across to the far post and it was Tucker’s luck as he got on the end of the pass to finish from close range.

We went on to add a third and the finish was almost identical to the second goal. This time it came from a corner involving Owen Dodgson and Brownhill. The result was another Brownhill ball towards the back post and this time Bobby Thomas, one of three players to play throughout, was there to score.

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That was it for the scoring, a 3-1 win, and the Burnley fans, who had started the evening with chants of “Vinnie Kompany’s Claret & Blue Army” prepared to acknowledge the players, but the first to come down was home boss Cotterill. Having shaken hands with all of our backroom staff he legged it down to the away end and applauded the Burnley fans, a terrific gesture from the former manager who still has so much affection for our club.

The players did come down, Kompany applauded from a distance and then we all left having watched an enjoyable game of football. It’s difficult really to pick out players but I was very impressed with Egan-Riley and Bastien in the first half while Tucker did really well in the second half.

The return journey wasn’t a good one. Because of the drop offs, we had to go back via Prestwich and we were caught up for some considerable distance on the M60 with three of four lanes closed for non-existent road works. A sign of things to come I suppose.

Now, with the players off to Portugal, all we can do is enjoy our few days of ridiculously hot weather while we wait for Huddersfield and the start of the season in two weeks time.

The teams were;

Shrewsbury: Marko Marosi, Luke Leahy, Matthew Pennington, Taylor Moore (Charlie Caton 80), Daniel Udoh (Tom Bloxham 72), Julien Dacosta (Rekeil Pyke 69), Ryan Bowman, Chey Dunkley, George Nurse, Jordan Shipley (Kade Craig 90), Tom Bayliss. Subs not used: Harry Burgoyne, Aiden O’Brien, Josh Barlow.

Burnley: Bailey Peacock-Farrell (Will Norris ht), Connor Roberts (Luke McNally ht), CJ Egan-Riley (Matt Lowton 80), Bobby Thomas, Charlie Taylor (Owen Dodgson 80), Josh Cullen (Mark Helm 62), Jack Cork, Josh Brownhill, Samuel Bastien (Ne-Jai Tucker ht), Jay Rodriguez (Dara Costelloe 62), Ashley Barnes (Lewis Richardson 80). Sub not used: Joe McGlynn.

Referee: Steve Martin (Stoke).

Attendance: 1,978 (including 534 Clarets).

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