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It’s cup action tomorrow for the youth team when we entertain Rochdale in the Northern quarter-finals of the Youth Alliance Cup.

1617 burnley nashe chakwana 00 300x500A new format was introduced for the competition this season which saw clubs placed in groups of four with just the group winners going through after playing each other once. It was tight, very tight, with us finishing level with Accrington in terms of points, goal difference and goals scored. It meant that the result of our game against Accrington counted, one we’d won 1-0.  That added to the win against Scunthorpe was enough despite losing at Doncaster.

The Scunthorpe win three weeks ago that clinched our place in the knock out couldn’t have been closer. We took the lead through a Tommy Wood penalty but then saw Scunthorpe level. With both sides needing a win to go through it went our way in the very last minute with a goal from Nashé Chakwana (pictured).

It’s not a competition in which we’ve had huge success in recent years. In each of the past four seasons we’ve gone out in the first round. That included a penalty shoot out defeat in 2013/14 against Blackpool, something we had got used to in previous seasons. Incredibly, in five successive seasons from 2007/08 to 2011/12 we exited the competition via a penalty shoot out.

Go back just over a decade and we had a couple of good years. We reached the Northern semi-final in 2005/06 but in the previous season we won the Northern Section before losing the overall final at Turf Moor against Swindon, and that too was on penalties.

Burnley’s team that night included Chris McCann and Kyle Lafferty, both of whom went on to play in the first team, and also Marc Pugh who is now in the Premier League with Bournemouth. Swindon included two future Clarets among their substitutes. Jon Stewart was the unused substitute goalkeeper while Lukas Jutkiewicz came on towards the end of normal time.

Back to this season and tomorrow sees us come up against tough opponents in Rochdale. They are currently one place above us in the league with one more point and have already beaten us at Gawthorpe this season. They won through, topping their group with wins against Bury and Grimsby while drawing against Lincoln.

Kick off tomorrow at Gawthorpe is 11 a.m.

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