Two goals each for Junior and 'Macca' in impressive win
Junior Stanislas and Alex MacDonald both scored twice as the Clarets’ Development Squad recorded an impressive win against a young Everton side at the Toffees’ Finch Farm training complex.
Stanislas returned to the Clarets’ senior squad last Saturday following a hamstring injury but after sitting on the bench at Barnsley benefitted from a 65-minute run-out in the rain on Merseyside.
The winger, who hasn’t figured in the Championship since mid-December, produced two top-class efforts in a first half dominated by a slick Burnley line-up.
But even Stanislas had to bow to the finishing power of MacDonald, who capped an outstanding performance with goals either side of the break.
With Marvin Bartley unwell, the Clarets included a trio of senior players alongside a group of young pros.
And they all rose to the challenge against an under-21 Everton side which included just a couple of players from the professional ranks.
Burnley made their intentions plain right from the start and went ahead in the opening minutes when Stevie Hewitt released Stanislas to run through and calmly slot the ball home.
Everton briefly responded and after hitting a post levelled through Conor McAleny.
But the Clarets restored their lead with a quarter of an hour gone and then never looked back.
Kevin Long captained the Clarets
MacDonald was the catalyst for many of the Clarets’ brightest attacking moments in tandem with Wes Fletcher as the pair gave Everton’s back line a testing afternoon with their clever movement and link-up play.
MacDonald frequently dropped deep to pick up the ball and when he collected a knock-down 40 yards from goal he produced a stunning first-time strike to catch the Everton goalkeeper off his line and make it 2-1.
Not to be outdone, Stanislas then cracked home a low volley to extend Burnley’s lead and the Clarets could easily have added to their tally before the break as MacDonald and Fletcher, twice, were both denied by the Toffees’ keeper.
The Clarets used the ball impressively, building from the back where Tom Anderson, back from loan duty at Barrow, forged a solid partnership with captain Kevin Long with Luke O’Neill and Joseph Mills willing accomplices in the full-back roles.
In front of them new signing Dane Richards got a useful 70 minutes under his belt to help him acclimatise to English football and the winger almost got his first goal in a Burnley shirt ten minutes after half time.
The effective Hewitt had just headed off the line at one end following a corner when the Clarets broke away and it took a similar block at the other end after a forceful O’Neill run to stop Richards firing home.
However, the Everton goal continued to lead a charmed life as Fletcher constantly threatened to get the goal he deserved.
The young striker could easily have had a hat-trick and after twice more being thwarted by the keeper he was denied by the crossbar at the end of another end-to-end move.
MacDonald had been instrumental in setting up that chance and when he decided to go it alone he made it 4-1 with 20 minutes to go, lobbing home with another assured finish to put the gloss on a near perfect work-out.
Coaches Simon Weatherstone and Tony Loughlan rung the changes late on to give some game time to the regular Development Squad men but the Clarets’ momentum was barely interrupted.
And Shay McCartan twice went close to adding late goals as Burnley’s second string got their 2013 programme off to the perfect start.
Burnley: Mitchell, O’Neill (Coleman 65), Anderson, Long, Mills, Hewitt, Trialist (Love 65), Richards (Evans 70), Fletcher, MacDonald (Jackson 70), Stanislas (McCartan 65).