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Match Reports

U21 Report: Burnley 1-0 Rochdale

26 January 2016

A stunning goal from Chris Long sealed a 1-0 win for the Development Squad against a strong Rochdale side.

New signing Paul Robinson played 45 minutes as Burnley recorded a clean sheet in the training match at the Barnfield Training Centre.

Forward George Green also made his first appearance for the Clarets since joining Burnley last week.

The game was a slow burner with neither side being able to settle in the treacherous conditions, but the visitors came the closest midway through the first half.

Joe Rafferty’s close-range free-kick sailed over Robinson’s crossbar, before a free header went amiss for Dale a minute later.

But moments later, it was the Clarets who seized the initiative with a goal from nothing.

Robinson’s long kick forward was flicked on by Renny Smith to Long, who controlled, drove forward with the ball, and unleashed an arrowing 35-yard howitzer past Josh Lillis.

Returning midfielder Nathan Lowe had a similar effort on goal 10 minutes later, but this time Lillis was equal to the ambitious strike.

Dale almost found a way back into the game five minutes before the break, when Matty Lund’s cross swirled in the howling wind before striking the crossbar.

Robinson made sure his clean sheet was intact with a brilliant save on the stroke of the break.

Dave Syers’ six-yard header looked destined to be the equaliser, but the former England international pulled off a fine point-blank save to keep Burnley ahead come the restart.

After the interval Lowe’s free-kick was cannoned out to Aiden O’Neill, before the midfielder’s deflected strike curled inches wide.

Forward Green was lively all afternoon, and the former Everton striker was at the heart of a swift Burnley move.

Green’s tireless run through the midfield found O’Neill on the right flank, and the Australian’s pull back teed up Long, whose glancing effort was brilliant denied by substitute goalkeeper Johnny Diba.

Australian goalkeeper Danijel Nizic, who featured on the first team bench against Derby County on Monday night, then ensured the victory with another superb save.

Dale defender Rhys Bennett rifled an effort from the edge of the box, but the former Crewe Alexandra loanee tipped over superbly.

Burnley: Robinson (Nizic 46); Jackson, Birch, Anderson, Hill (Lowe 25 (Crawford 74)); Frost, O’Neill, Wilson, Smith (Agyei 46); Green (Smith 68), Long

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