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Match Reports

Curzon Ashton 2 Burnley 5

Robbie Brady makes successful return as Clarets hit the goal trail

20 July 2018

Robbie Brady completed 45 minutes in a welcome return as the Clarets came from behind to win with four second-half goals at the Tameside Stadium.

Brady successfully completed the first half as planned in his first public outing since sustaining a season-ending knee injury last December.

The Ireland international was full of running as he steps up his return to full fitness and set up the Clarets’ equaliser with a corner headed home by Ben Mee two minutes before the break.

And the side being over-seen by first-team coach Tony Loughlan then took control in the second half to cruise to victory with further goals from front men Sam Vokes, who struck twice, Nahki Wells and Jon Walters.

With the Clarets splitting their senior squad between this game and a similar work-out at Macclesfield Town, there was plenty of experience on show at National League North side Curzon, who will host Burnley’s under-23 Development League fixtures again this season.

But youth also got its chance with two 18-year-olds effectively filling the Clarets’ starting central midfield berths, Mace Goodridge replacing Aiden O’Neill, who picked up a problem in the warm-up, to line up alongside Dwight McNeil.

And they were given a proper test before half-time as Burnley were made to pay for missing a number of chances before the non-leaguers took the lead with 35 minutes gone.

Wells saw an early shot saved by Cameron Mason and Vokes pulled an effort just wide as the Clarets probed for the first goal.

Brady then had an opportunity to provide it but poked a shot wide after being played in by Vokes.

And after Vokes saw a close-range effort canon into the legs of Mason after a combination of Mee and Stephen Ward had opened up the Curzon defence, the home side broke clear to go in front when a shot from former Oldham winger Connor Hughes was deflected past Anders Lindegaard.

Lindegaard was then pressed into action as he kept out a header from Daniel Shaw but two minutes before the break Mee nodded in Brady’s corner at the near post to make it 1-1.

And Burnley then dominated the second half to be rewarded with four further goals.

Dan Agyei, who replaced Brady at the break, lifted an effort over the top with one of his first touches but the reprieve for Curzon, who made a number of second-half changes, didn’t last long.

Vokes got himself off the mark with a fine header from Matt Lowton’s cross and Lowton was to be a key man as Burnley continued to step up the pace.

The full-back didn’t have a hand in the third goal, drilled in from 20 yards by Wells, who scored a hat-trick on this ground last season as an over-age player in a Premier League Cup tie.

But it was his delivery which allowed Walters to arrive on cue to stab home the fourth goal and Lowton then crossed again for Vokes to head his second of the night with seven minutes to go.

It could have been more, with Wells and Walters both missing sighters before they got up-and-running on a confidence-boosting night.

And although Curzon pulled one back with another deflected effort from Tyrell McKenzie in the last minute, the Clarets took a tidy step forward in their preparation for things to come.

Burnley: Lindegaard, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Walters, Goodridge, McNeil, Brady (Agyei HT), Vokes, Wells. Substitutes: Trialist, Younger, Bayode.

Curzon Ashton: Mason, Morton, O’Leary, Hunt, Shaw, Rowney, Crankshaw, Marshall, Sharp, Guest, Hughes. Substitutes: Clarke, McCoy, Fawns, McKenzie, Brooke, Baillie, Thornley, Deakin.

Referee: Tom Parsons


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