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The one thing we are beginning to expect when watching our under-23s is goals and yesterday we hit another four to take our total to 14 in the last three games and we are now just one goal short of our final total last season.

Last season, we just crept above Barnsley at the end of the season to avoid finishing bottom. This season, to date, Barnsley are still in bottom place, but we are currently third and I’m sure there will be more goals to come.

It took a while for yesterday’s game to get going. It was an open looking affair right from the start and both sides had their opportunities. What did concern me was the way the referee started the game. He spoke to one of our players in an appalling. I got the impression he might want to be the star of the show, and, my word, he did that in a performance that left much to be desired.

1819 burnley josh benson 01 500x500Eventually, we started to get ourselves on top and just before the half hour went in front when Josh Benson (pictured) played a lovely through ball to Tinashe Chakwana and he made no mistake, netting his eighth league goal of the season to draw him level with Dan Agyei.

Agyei had his chance some eight minutes later when the referee pointed to the penalty spot for the first time in the afternoon. There looked to be a handball from our vantage point although the Barnsley players fiercely protested. Agyei stepped up but Emmanuel Idem, the Barnsley keeper, saved his spot kick only to see right-back Jordan Cropper get their first to tuck in the rebound and double our advantage.

We held that 2-0 lead into half time and beyond but Barnsley had a big chance of their own ten minutes into the second half. By now the whistle happy official seemed to be enjoying himself but his award of a penalty against Ali Koiki looked soft, and that’s if I’m being kind to him.

Louis Wardle stepped up but his penalty smashed against the post, apparently with Adam Legzdins getting a touch on it. As they went in for the rebound, we got in a block. It stayed at 2-0 and eight minutes later the game was over as a contest.

Just past the hour, Benson got his second assist when we won a corner on the left. He hit it to the far post where Dwight McNeil got up to head home, and two minutes later Benson got his own name on the scoresheet.

We won a free kick on the edge of the Barnsley box, and it looked very close to being a third penalty of the afternoon to me. However, it was given outside and it earned Barnsley’s Will Smith a second yellow card. Benson took the free kick and placed it perfectly into the top corner.

Two minutes later and the ball was on the spot again, this time for a hand ball against us and this time it did lead to a goal. Legzdins saved the spot kick but this time, as had been the case with ours earlier in the game. Amir Berkovits took the responsibility this time but he did not better but, as Cropper had done for us, Aidy White was on hand to scored from the rebound.

By then we’d already made our first substitution and there were soon two more to come, the most significant being the first of them when Benson was replaced by Oscar Woods who has been with the Clarets since signing as a scholar in the summer of 2017. As has been the case with a number of Australians previously, we’ve waited and waited for his international clearance to come through and finally it has, allowing him to belatedly make his Burnley debut.

The game was over now as a contest. We could have had more goals with McNeil twice coming close, but  4-1 was another good result for a team that has provided us with some really good entertainment in the last few weeks.

The teams were;

Burnley: Adam Legzdins, Jordan Cropper, Ed Cook, James Clarke, Ali Koiki, Tunde Bayode (Rob Harker 64), Josh Benson (Oscar Woods 72), Mark Howarth, Dwight McNeil, Dan Agyei, Tinashe Chakwana (Cricky Conn-Clarke 76). Subs not used: George McMahon, Bobby Thomas.

Barnsley: Emmanuel Idem, Louis Wardle, Aiden White, Will Smith, Sam Fielding, Elvis Otim, Amir Berkovits (Kieran Feeney 72), Romal Palmer (Jordan Helliwell 62), Gerry McDonagh, Ty Chissem (Jasper Moon ht), Jordan Barnett. Subs not used: Cameron Simpson, Hendry Kendrick.

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