Clarets exit FA Youth Cup with heads held high
Burnley’s FA Youth Cup adventure came to an end where it began, in Manchester, as City finally broke their brave resistance to edge out Terry Pashley’s battlers.
The Clarets couldn’t repeat their heroics from Old Trafford in round three, where Jason Gilchrist’s hat-trick earned a crack at United’s ‘noisy neighbours’.
But it was City who did all the talking, finally making their possession pay with two goals in the final 13 minutes at the Etihad Stadium.
Things might have been different had Jamie Frost converted an early chance laid on by Jason Gilchrist.
An early chance for Jamie Frost
But Marcos Lopes’ smart finish in the 77th minute, followed by teenage starlet Pozo’s classy second minutes from time repaid the Blues second half dominance and earned the two-time winners a place in round five.
Burnley made one change from the third round victory in their last outing, a month ago.
Brad Jackson, who set up the winning goal for hat-trick hero Gilchrist, replaced Kevin Ly in the line-up as Pashley started with all three second year scholars in Luke Conlan, Gilchrist and New Zealand international Cameron Howieson, operating in a deeper midfield role.
And it was great pressing from Gilchrist that forced the best chance of the night for the Clarets inside two minutes.
Forcing a mistake from City’s last defender Karim Rekik, the former Manchester City youngster held the ball up for support and found Jamie Frost unmarked in the box, only for the wide man to blaze over with just keeper Ian Lawlor to beat.
City fielded a side that included striker Devante Cole – son of former Clarets striker Andy – and Jose Pozo, who is rumoured to have cost the Blues around £2.5m from Real Madrid.
Also included was 16-year-old Lopes, who scored in City’s FA Cup victory over Sunderland to become the club’s youngest ever goalscorer.
And the hosts showed their class for the first time in the 12th minute when Pozo’s inch-perfect pass found overlapping full back Greg Leigh, who fired across Callum Jakovlevs and wide of goal.
As the half progressed, so did the threats from City, particularly down Burnley’s right.
Luke Daly on the charge
But a tendency to overplay and solid defending by the visitors’ constantly denied the Academy side space to find the all-important openings.
And as half time approached and the Clarets grew in confidence, they created another opening for the ever-willing Gilchrist, who latched onto Conlan’s through ball and forced Lawlor to turn his shot round the post.
Moments later Gilchrist was at it again, this time dropping deep and forcing Lawlor into a parry with a stinging drive from distance.
All that hard work was almost undone seconds before the break following a poor back pass from Alex Whitmore, but Pozo wasted a golden opportunity to give City the half time lead, seeing his weak effort deflected wide.There was another scare for Burnley five minutes after the re-start when Olivier Ntcham’s 18-yard shot was fumbled by Jakovlevs, who breathed a sigh of relief as the ball squirmed from his grasp but bobbled wide of goal.
Jakovlevs was coming under increasing pressure as City turned the screw, but the first year scholar did well just before the hour to grab Rekik’s snapshot at the second attempt.
And the Clarets keeper was again the last line of defence when Pozo found room in the box on the hour mark, but again delayed his shot.
But 13 minutes from time Burnley’s luck finally ran out. Brad Jackson was muscled out by Ntcham inside the City half and from the quick throw, Lopez sprinted from the half way line to beat Jakovlevs with a cool finish.
And when Pozo danced inside to find the bottom corner two minutes from time, the Clarets youngsters knew there would be no way back.
MAN CITY: Lawlor, Facey, Leigh, Evans, Plummer, Rekik, Bytyqi, Ntcham, Cole, Lopes, Pozo (Barker 88).
Subs: Bossaert, Gunn, Bryan, Celina
BURNLEY: Jakovlevs, Dummigan, Conlan, Lowe, Whitmore, Holt, Jackson (Galvin 87), Daly (Ly 81), Gilchrist, Howieson, Frost (Hill 81).
Subs: Mitchell, Ly, Bianga