Burnley’s U18 side put their surprising FA Youth Cup exit last week aside, as they bounced back from with a convincing 4-1 victory away at league leaders Bolton Wanderers to go second in the table.
The Clarets’ first league game of 2018 couldn’t have got off to a better start when Dan Moss gave Burnley the lead early on before Craig Ellison doubled their advantage shortly after.
Bolton replied with a goal just before the break but a second-half brace from former Liverpool winger Marley Blair (above) was enough to overcome Nicky Spooner’s Wanderers side.
The Clarets started the game on the front foot and had the ball in the back of the net early on, as Ellison broke through on goal and slotted home, only to be flagged offside.
However, minutes later, Danny Cadamarteri’s side – who had gone out of the Youth Cup to Plymouth in their first competitive game since November – did take the lead as Dan Moss stabbed the ball in from close range following Dylan Meredith’s corner.
It didn’t take long for the visitors to get their second as Ellison chased down a long ball before lifting an effort neatly over the on-rushing Bolton keeper to find the back of the net.
Bolton pulled one back just before half-time through Ronan Darcy but any hopes of a comeback were killed off as Blair did brilliantly to weave in and out of three Bolton players before striking the ball into the bottom corner to restore the Clarets’ two-goal lead.
And the tricky winger had his second shortly after as Jordan Cropper’s throw-in bounced into the area and Blair was there to pounce and rifle home to put the game out of reach.
“We were very pleased with the performance and it was nice to get a good result,” said Cadamarteri.
“We were obviously disappointed to go out the Youth Cup, but we said to the lads after the game the distraction of that is now out of our minds and out of sight.
“We spoke to the lads about that and how we react and how we respond.
“We had a good game over at Manchester United in mid-week, which was fantastic to go over there and get a win as well.
“And it was a nice little result for the lads to follow up and get at Bolton. We changed the team a little bit, and the performance, especially in the second half when we managed it really well, was good and we really took the game to them.”
Burnley: Bruce, Cropper, Rain, Yari (Kershaw 64), King, Thomas, Meredith (Barnett 83), Moss, Ellison, Mupariwa, Blair. Substitutes: Allen, Clarke, George.