Clarets edge out Latics in U21 Premier League Cup game.
JAMIE Frost ended a marathon night with the winning spot kick as Burnley edged past Wigan on penalties in the U21 Premier League Cup.
Frost had a handful of chances to score in a game that only really exploded into life in extra time.
But the teenager scored with the crucial 18th penalty of a nervy shoot-out to complete a 7-6 shoot-out victory and earn a second round tie at Crewe.
Both sides had chances to snatch victory before the first round tie went to the lottery of penalties.
And as it went to sudden death, with the Clarets always playing catch-up, successful penalties from Luke Conlan, Archie Love, Tom Anderson and Alex Coleman kept the scores level until Mayowa Baologun’s miss opened the door for Frost to seal the win in dramatic style.
With the new competition allowing clubs to field up to three outfield players and a goalkeeper aged 21 or over, the Clarets fielded several first-team stars, who have been starved of first team action in recent weeks.
Goalkeeper Alex Cisak, defender Kevin Long and midfielder Brian Stock, along with striker Ryan Noble, all started alongside the established Development Squad players.
And Cisak was in the action early in the game, getting down well to parry Joey Jackson’s angled drive.
At the other end, Jamie Frost was released in the right channel by the ever-willing Noble, only to see his shot deflect off a retreating defender and seen safely round the post by keeper Lee Nicholls.
And in fitting with a scrappy half, an attempted cross from Latics’ wide man Guillermo Andres seven minutes before the break was the nearest either side then came to breaking the deadlock.
The ball floated dangerously towards goal and caught Cisak cold as it struck the face of the crossbar and bounced clear.
The visitors came close again 11 minutes after the break when Adam Buxton let fly with an ambitious volley form fully 30 yards, which dipped wickedly over Cisak’s crossbar.
But the Clarets should have taken the lead following a sweeping move just before the hour mark.
Long released Jason Gilchrist with a raking ball down the right wing and the Clarets striker’s cross was perfect for the inrushing Jamie Frost.
Nicholls did well to smother his first attempt, and as the ball spun loose Frost’s second attempt on the turn was blocked, when a cut-back to the unmarked Hewitt looked the better option.
Frost had another golden chance minutes later when Nicholls’ spilled Gilchrist’s driven cross in the six-yard box, but with what seemed a gaping goal, a defender’s boot made a vital block and Nicholls recovered to clean up.
But in a game of precious few chances, extra time always seemed to be on the cards.
And the closest either side came to scoring in the first period was an instinctive low, angled drive from Noble that bounced agonisingly wide of the post in the 100th minute.
The second half of extra time was only 50 seconds old when Anderson made a magnificent block as Cosgrove looked set to break the deadlock form 12 yards.
And Frost cleared a Cosgrove header from the foot of the post as Wigan again threatened moments later.
As the game suddenly livened up, Frost popped up at the right end to curl a shot inches wide of the far post with Nicholls scrambling.
And a moment of magic from Stock six minutes from time almost saved the game from what now seemed an inevitable shoot-out.
Sub Luke Gallagher was blocked off on the left edge of the D and the Clarets’ ace saw his curling free kick smack off the face of the crossbar.
Stock was soon presented with another glorious opportunity to seal victory following the best passing move of then night.
Gallagher fed Stock just outside the area and following a quick one-two with Hewitt, the midfielder found room in the box, only to fire just the wrong side of the post.
From almost winning it, Burnley almost lost it as Alex Coleman made a last=gasp goalline clearance to deny Ainscough at the death.
And so, penalties it was.
Buxton’s miss gave the Clarets an immediate advantage, which they held onto through strikes from Hewitt and Stock before Gallagher’s miss let Wigan back in it at 2-2.
Nouha Dicko and Kevin Long both then missed, before Cosgrove’s successful fifth spot kick meant that Clarets defender Conlan had to score to keep the tie alive.
And when Cisak eventually saved Balogun’s attempt, Frost struck to earn the Clarets victory at the sudden death!
BURNLEY: Cisak, Conlan, Coleman, Long, Anderson, Love, Hewitt, Stock, Noble, Frost, Gilchrist (Gallagher 89).
Subs: Mitchell, Errington, Brownhill, Jackson
WIGAN: Nicholls, Buxton, Balogun, Kiernan, Langley, Meadows, Poole (Cosgrove 83), Redmond (Ainscough 73), Dicko, Andres (Hamilton 79), Johnson.
Subs: Anderson, Wilson
Ref: J Walton