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The first team are preparing for their first league game this Friday against Manchester City and the under-21s, while not playing for almost two weeks, ended their pre-season last night with a 3-2 defeat at Ashton United.

It was just my second visit to Hurst Cross having previously seen our friendly there eight years ago and it’s a club that has moved with the times with contactless entry at the turnstiles. It was good to meet up with some fellow Clarets I’ve not seen since the end of last season and there were a decent number in a healthy crowd.

We do seem to be small in numbers at this level compared to previous seasons and some of that group are out on loan with others known to be injured. There was also no sign of a number of other players, key players at this level like Alex Healy-Byrne, Dan Sassi, Jez Davies, Tom Tweedy and recent signing Basilio Rieno Socoliche which meant opportunities for some of the under-18 squad.

It all started well enough but then we fell behind on twenty minutes when Marcus Cusani opened the scoring for the home team with a neat header, and just past the half hour the same player doubled Ashton’s lead, this time scoring from close range.

The scoreline didn’t reflect the game but we quickly pulled one back with a goal that left us posing the question as to whether a Burnley player had ever scored a goal against a team with the same name. It came from a free kick on the left which Joe Ashton got to and headed home.

It was all square early in the second half. It came from a Lucas Wane cross that was knocked back into the middle for Kian Le Fondre to finish with ease from just a yard or two out.

Just past the hour, we made five substitutions and before they’d got into the game, we had to make a further change when Renaldo Torraj was helped off following an injury. We might have lost our grip on the game somewhat but it was still a surprise when Ashton won it with a Dan Cowan header following a corner.

The under-21s now have a wait before their Professional Development League season kicks off at Millwall a week next Monday.

The teams were;

Ashton: Simpson, Dan Cowan, Newton, Lonsdale, Trialist A, Trialist B, Alex Byrne, Brad Abbott, Kielen Adams, Marcus Cusani, George Milner. Subs: Louis Potts, Trialist C, Trialist D, Trialist E, Trialist F, Trialist G.

Burnley: Charlie Casper, Will Hugill, Joe Ashton, Jack Turner, Brad Grant, Marcel Lewis, Lewis Richardson, Jack Rogers, Lucas Wane, Renaldo Torraj, Kian Le Fondre. Subs: Jon Ander Vilar Robinson (not used), Dylan Sime, Oliver Sweeney, Marley Leuluai, Sonny Pickup, Callum West (all used).

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