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Burnley U-23s 0 Blackburn Rovers U-23s 4

23 January 2017

Burnley’s chances of progressing further in the Premier League Cup were dealt a blow with defeat in the mini-derby at Morecambe’s Globe Arena.

Blackburn Rovers had won the first meeting between the two sides in the group stages of the competition.

And the Championship club doubled the dose with a repeat in a tie switched from Turf Moor.

Republic of Ireland international Anthony Stokes set Blackburn on their way to a win which lifts them within a point of Group B leaders Sunderland with a second-half double.

And with the Clarets also conceding two to defender Matthew Platt after the break, Michael Jolley’s young side may now need maximum points from their last two games against Sunderland and Cardiff City to have a chance of pinching a top-two spot and a place in the last 16.

Burnley had been comfortably beaten in the reverse fixture at Ewood Park but competed better here in a first half which saw them create the better chances.

But none were taken and a Rovers side which also included former England and Manchester United defender Wes Brown made their experience and know-how count in a one-sided second 45 minutes as they eased to a second group win.

The Clarets went close to taking an early lead when a Josh Ginnelly free-kick nearly sneaked in before Rovers keeper Andy Fisher made a smart recovering save.

Dan Agyei had an early chance

George Green then released Dan Agyei but the teenager delayed his shot and allowed Platt to snuff out the danger.

And Green himself then produced an excellent turn on the edge of the penalty area but couldn’t beat Fisher who made a fine save.

Former Accrington Stanley winger Connor Mahoney was a constant threat for Rovers, shooting into the side-netting and teeing up Willem Tomlinson for a chance he fluffed before half-time.

And it was Mahoney who provided the ammunition for Rovers to take control with two goals from corners in the opening 11 minutes of the second half as Burnley's defence - which included youth teamers James Clarke and Oliver Young - was breached for the first time.

Stokes – without a Championship appearance since early December - flicked in the first with the outside of his boot.

Platt then powered a header beyond Connor Mitchell to make it 2-0 and with Mitchell then making a save to deny Mahoney it was becoming hard work for the Clarets.

Rovers, whose side plays at under-23 Premier League level, looked the superior outfit and went 3-0 up after 73 minutes when Stokes steered a low Connor Thompson cross into the roof of the net with a smart first-time finish.

Burnley’s only counter had been an Aiden O’Neill effort saved by Fisher but Platt completed an emphatic victory when he nodded home another cross from Mahoney on a chastening afternoon for Burnley’s youngsters.

Burnley: Mitchell, Clarke, Younger, Dunne, Birch, Jackson (Koiki 63), Thomas (McNeil 70), O'Neil, Ginnelly, Green (Wood 74), Agyei. Substitutes: Aghayere, Chakwana.

Rovers: Fisher, Travis, Doyle, Tomlinson, Platt, Brown, Mahoney (Mansell 81), Hardcastle, Stokes (Mols 81), Rankin-Costello, Thomson (Grayson 81). Substitutes: Magloire, Powell.

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