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Burnley’s youth team recorded a third successive victory this morning and extended the unbeaten run to six games with a 3-1 home win against Sheffield Wednesday in the U18 Professional Development League.

In doing so we ended Wednesday’s unbeaten start to the season and, with Forest losing, went level with them at the top of the north group of the league with Jordan Cropper (pictured) bagging himself a first half hat trick after Wednesday had taken the lead in an impressive opening.

Up the Clarets are delighted and somewhat relieved to be able to report on the game. Things were somewhat different down at Gawthorpe this morning with entry to the training ground requiring you to pass a Mr Worth, first name Jobs, on the way in. He, sadly, went out of his way to speak to people in a very unfortunate manner whilst trying to prevent spectators from taking their place to watch the game, some of whom have been watching youth games for years at Gawthorpe.

1718 burnley jordan cropper 00 500x500It is a matter that we will be taking up with the club at a senior level as soon as possible. It seems that, despite promoting the youth team, raising money for the academy and generally supporting the team over the years, we are no longer welcome. On this occasion we did get in, but who knows what the future holds if Mr Worth steps things up.

But we did get in and we had the opportunity to see another entertaining and enjoyable game against one of the league’s big hitters in Wednesday who were winners last season.

Although it looked as though we should have had an early penalty, Wednesday started really well. They took the lead on nine minutes with a smart finish but by then had already hit the woodwork, seen another attempt saved and missed the target with another effort.

“This looks as though it’s going to be a tough 90 minutes for us,” I posted on the message board but I couldn’t have been more wrong as we turned things round, got on top, and scored three good goals.

We were level on 17 minutes with Cropper doing so well. The ball was played into him and he weaved his way through defenders really well before slotting home. It was a very good goal but the next one took the award for goal of the game some four minutes later. What a finish it was, a superb volley from a right wing cross that flew into the net and suddenly the Clarets were in front.

It was all going Burnley’s and Cropper’s way nine minutes before the break when he completed his hat trick to leave us in command, the first youth team hat trick since Josh Dolling netted three in January 2015.

The score remained at 3-1 at half time but Wednesday gave it a real go after the break, putting us under some pressure. We stood up to it well; we defended when we had to and when called on our goalkeeper Adam Bruce kept them out, and one save in particular was sensational.

Maybe had they pulled a goal back it could have been a difficult last period for us, but we weathered that storm, just as we’d done in the first half and as the half progressed looked the more likely again with Cropper having what looked a perfectly good goal ruled out.

I’ve seen three home games now in this league and this was perhaps the most difficult of the three, although a very big athletic Millwall side caused some problems. It also proved to be, I feel, the best performance of the three.

I wondered how we would play in this league. It is a step up but from what I’ve seen it is so far, so good and we are doing really well as joint top suggests.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to report again next Saturday when we face Barnsley at Gawthorpe.

The Burnley team was: Adam Bruce, Dan Moss, Bobby Thomas, James Clarke (Michael Fowler 66), Kwasinkosi Mpofu, Tristan Jumeau, Ethan Kershaw, Terry Mupariwa, Dylon Meredith (Akim Samms 77), Kian Yari, Jordan Cropper. Subs not used: Marcel Wusiewicz, Richard Taylor, Will Harris.

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