Clarets suffer Saddlers Heartache
An injury-time winner ended the Clarets’ hopes of a run in the Youth Alliance League Cup as their second-half fightback proved in vain.
A late penalty from Jason Gilchrist (above) looked as though it had taken the first-round tie to a spot-kick shoot-out after Burnley had come back from 2-0 down at half-time at Gawthorpe.
But with the last kick of the game it was the Saddlers who booked a trip to either Chesterfield or Morecambe as Jake Heath curled in a free-kick from 25 yards.
The Clarets had started poorly and went behind after just 12 minutes when Danny Griffiths beat goalkeeper Conor Mitchell to meet a free-kick and head home.
Burnley had their moments on the break and top scorer Gilchrist went close to levelling as he ran onto a through-ball from Luke Gallagher but lifted his effort over the top.
But defensively the home side was stretched and after Mitchell had made a decent save from Alex Reid, the Northern Ireland under-17 international was beaten again when Jacob Hobbis weaved his way through to double Walsall’s lead after half an hour.
The Clarets had been second best but hit back after the break and dominated the second 45 minutes.
Luke Nuttall twice went close to reducing the deficit before Gilchrist forced Richard Jones into his first save of the afternoon as a tweak of formation from boss Terry Pashley started to pay off.
Walsall countered with Mitchell having to make a sharp save from the dangerous Hobbis but with 55 minutes gone the Clarets were back in it as Gallagher thumped a superb long-range effort into the top corner to make it 2-1.
Gallagher was then denied by Jones and Jamie Frost put a chance over the top as the Clarets pushed for a leveller.
Time was beginning to run out but with five minutes to go Nuttall crossed for Gilchrist, who was fouled as he went to shoot.
The striker picked himself up to score his 13th goal of the season but there was nothing lucky about it as Walsall rallied to end Burnley’s cup hopes.
Burnley: Mitchell, Dummigan, Holt, Whitmore, Conlan, Gallagher, Lowe (Daly 75), Frost, Hill (Jackson 56), Gilchrist, Nuttall. Subs: Galvin, Ly, Jakovlevs.