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Burnley U21 1 Blackburn U21 3

9 November 2015

The Development Squad suffered at the hands of a late fightback by Blackburn Rovers to exit the U21 Premier League Cup in extra-time.

The Clarets had led the Third Round tie for the majority of normal time thanks to Ntumba Massanka’s classy first half opener, but a 77th minute equaliser from Rovers forced an extra 30 minutes.

And the Academy One category side showed their strength to reach the last 16, with two goals in the additional period from Willem Tomlinson and then Connor Mahoney.

The Clarets took advantage of the rules, fielding four players over the age of 21; with Dean Marney, Kevin Long, Tom Anderson and goalkeeper Matt Gilks all starting alongside striker Chris Long, who can feature due to his age.



After a quiet start to the game, with Rovers dominating possession, it was Marney who had Burnley’s first effort, 11 minutes in.

The midfielder went for goal with a drilled free-kick from 20-yards, but the strike was comfortable for goalkeeper Simon Eastwood.

Midway through the first half though, the Clarets took the lead with a stunning volley from Massanka.



An improvised chip from Jamie Frost played in the former Manchester United schoolboy, who spun and found the far corner with aplomb.

The Clarets then had two ambitious strikes on the half hour mark, but Chris Long’s strike from 25-yards sailed over before another strike from wide man Josh Ginnelly failed to find the target.

The visitors then had their first effort of the game, but again another hopeful effort from range by Sacha Petshi failed to test Gilks.

The Clarets keeper had to be alert moments later when a testing strike from Hyuga Tanner whistled past the Scotland international’s far post.

But five minutes before the break a superb save from Eastwood denied the Clarets a two goal advantage.



Massanka and Frost linked up in the centre circle before the winger superbly found the advancing Long at the edge of the box.

His first touch took him away from the last defender, but his angled drive towards the bottom corner was superbly turned round the post by Eastwood’s outstretched leg.

That would ultimately prove crucial.

In the early moments of the second half, after Massanka’s penalty claim was turned down, Mahoney’s curling cross to far post needed just a touch for an equaliser, but the delivery evaded the onrushing attack.

The Clarets then had another appeal for a penalty waved away after Ginnelly’s heels appeared to be clipped by Ryan Nyambe.



And as Burnley pressed, the visitors were then thankful to goalkeeper Eastwood on two occasions on the hour mark.

Ginnelly dazzled down the left flank, this time beating Nyambe with a step over, before crossing to Massanka on the penalty spot, whose header was easy for the keeper.

Chris Long then cut inside onto his left foot and forced another fine save out of Eastwood with a rifling strike.

And with 20 minutes to play the Clarets had two more efforts from the edge of the box as they fought to double their lead.

First, Ginnelly curled a drive from distance just over, before Frost forced another decent save from Eastwood low to his left.

But after being on the back foot, with their only effort of the half 15 minutes from time, Rovers sent the tie into extra-time.



Mahoney’s in swinging free-kick from the right found Platt six-yards out and the defender rose the highest to nod the leveller past Gilks.

In the opening minute in extra-time Chris Long drove forward before finding Massanka, who flicked on to substitute Smith for a shot that bobbled across goal and just wide.

But on the stroke of half time in extra-time the visitors grabbed the initiative through substitute Tomlinson.

The midfielder collected the ball just inside Burnley’s half and beat Gilks with a stunning low drive from 25-yards.

And as the young Clarets tired, Rovers killed off the game off with another sublime strike from former Accrington Stanley loanee Mahoney.

The winger was on the end of a deep cross to the far post before crushing Burnley’s cup dreams with a curling effort into the top corner.



Burnley: Gilks; Birch (Dolling 108), Anderson, Long, Whitmore; Frost, O’Neill, Marney, Ginnelly (Smith 90); Massanka (Wilson 115), Long
Subs: Nizic, Hobson


Yellow: Massanka 90’
Goals: Massanka 25’


Blackburn: Eastwood; Nyambe, Platt, Wharton, Doyle; Mahoney, Carson (Tomlinson 45), Petshi, Thomson; Tanner (Masnell 65), Forrester (Wall 119)
Subs: Doyle, Crump


Yellow: Thomson 24’
Goals: Platt 77’, Tomlinson 105’, Mahoney 115’

Referee: Mr. P. Gibbons


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