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Match Reports

Burnley U23s 2 Coventry City U23s 0

Michael Duff pleased with performance as Clarets move off bottom spot

16 April 2018

Tom Heaton kept a clean sheet as second-half goals from Tunde Bayode and Ntumba Massanka gave the Clarets a third successive home win and lifted them off the foot of the Professional Development League’s northern division.

Heaton played his third under-23 game of the campaign as he chose to get game-time under his belt to add to his match sharpness following his return from injury.

And Jon Walters also played a third game as an over-age player as the striker further built up his match fitness.

And the pair finished on the winning side at the Barnfield Training Centre thanks to Bayode’s 71st-minute strike, direct from a corner, and Massanka’s last-minute header.

Tunde Bayode scored his fourth goal of the season

“I thought we were excellent really, especially in the second half. We played 10 yards higher up the pitch, played a little bit quicker and moved the ball side to side really well,” said U23s’ boss Michael Duff.

“I’ve said it quite a few times this year, it could have been more than two goals. But we’ll take the clean sheet and the win, because we haven’t had many.

“Particularly in the last six weeks we have definitely moved on and played some good stuff.

“Even in the games we’ve lost I think we’ve been unlucky because we’ve missed a lot of chances.

“That’s something we need to get better at in the top third. It’s the hardest bit to do - score a goal. We are creating lots of chances, which is a positive. It’s just about having that final moment of quality to make a better run or better contact on the ball.”

The victory in the Clarets’ last home game of the season was a just reward for an impressive second-half performance which could have brought a more comfortable victory.

Coventry, mid-table in the southern section of the league but without a win in five games, were dealt an early blow when experienced striker Stuart Beavon was forced out of the action with a head injury.

The Sky Blues also failed to turn early pressure into chances and it was the Clarets who went closest to leading at the break thanks to a long-range free-kick from midfielder Josh Benson which was touched over by Corey Addai.

The Coventry keeper was an imposing figure who made another smart save to turn a Dwight McNeil free-kick over the bar with an hour gone.

He also saved another well-struck effort from Benson but was then caught out by Bayode’s in-swinging corner which flew straight inside the far post to put the Clarets 1-0 up.

Heaton then made a fine save as he stood tall to deny Kyle Finn from a one-on-one position with 15 minutes to go from the visitors' best chance of the match.

“It just goes to show details win games, and that little bit of experience,” added Duff.

“Tom’s had nothing to do really but at 1-0 he’s made a big save and that’s what top goalkeepers do.

“Tom’s attitude – and Jon Walters’ –  is brilliant and an unbelievable example for the young lads about how you go about your business.”

As the Clarets looked to avoid any further late scares, substitute Mace Goodridge saw a spectacular volley blocked with his first touch after coming off the bench.

And Massanka – a constant threat in tandem with wideman Bayode – then made sure of the points when he nodded in a cross from Benson in the 90th minute.

With Barnsley conceding an injury-time equaliser in their game against Cardiff City at the same time, an eighth win of the season for the Clarets took Duff’s side above the Tykes ahead of Friday’s meeting at Oakwell – the first of three away games to conclude Burnley’s season.

Burnley: Heaton, Clarke, Perkins, Younger, Koiki, Bayode, O’Neill, Benson, McNeil (Goodridge 88), Walters (Chakwana 78), Massanka. Substitutes: Mitchell, N’Guessan, Wilson.

Coventry: Addai, Kelly-Evans, Davies, Hyam, Thompson, Maydock, Eccles, Westbrooke (Sayoud HT), Beavon (Stedman 7), Finn, Camwell. Substitutes: Green, Billson, Ford.

Referee: Anthony Tankard

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