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Burnley U23s 3 Nottm Forest U23s 2

Clarets end winless run in impressive style as goals flow again

8 March 2018

The Clarets ended a near four-month wait for a league win as the goals finally flowed at the Tameside Stadium.

It took a lunchtime inspection to get the game on over fears of a waterlogged pitch.

And thankfully it did the trick as the Clarets ended their drought in impressive style to prevent Forest from climbing up to second spot in the U23 Professional League northern group.

Burnley remain bottom after failing to win in their previous five league games.

But Michael Duff’s men definitely appear to be going in the right direction on the back of their recent performances which finally earned some reward thanks to goals from Tunde Bayode, Christian N’Guessan and James Clarke.

Tunde Bayode had scored the winner in Burnley's last league victory over Barnsley

Bayode's first-half opener was cancelled out by the break as the Clarets failed to take the chances to add to their lead.

But Burnley totally dominated the second half to end a run of five games without a win in league and cup as N’Guessan restored the lead and Clarke capped things off with his first goal at under-23 level before Forest pulled one back from a rare sight of goal in stoppage time.

The Clarets – who included trialist defender Jake Barrett and midfielder Harvey Whyte in their starting line-up – hadn’t scored during their losing run but ended the barren spell after just 10 minutes.

Ali Koiki provided a constant threat down the left flank whenever he got forward.

And it was an excellent cross from the full-back which reached Bayode at the far post to drill home a shot from eight yards to claim his third goal of the season.

Christian N'Guessan's previous goal came in the Premier League Cup

Bayode also caused Forest problems down the opposite wing and Burnley should have doubled their lead when his inch-perfect cross gave Dwight McNeil a heading chance which he put wide from in front of goal.

Forest, looking to move within a point of leaders Bolton, had offered little going forward but equalised out of the blue with 25 minutes gone.

Issac Hutchinson had recently been given a run-out as a trialist by the Clarets and now trying his luck with Forest, the midfielder’s corner flew in via a deflection off Tinashe Chakwana.

The better chances continued to be Burnley’s, though, and McNeil had another opportunity to add a second goal when he raced through before just failing to beat goalkeeper Liam Bossin, who just got enough on the ball to guide it past the post.

However, the Clarets took just two minutes of the second half to regain the lead as N’Guessan struck his first league goal of the campaign.


James Clarke has been a regular for the under-23s in recent months

Koiki’s free-kick into the penalty area wasn’t cleared and the midfielder reacted well to fire past Bossin from 15 yards.

It was no more than Burnley deserved and Duff’s side then took further control with an excellent spell that had Forest back pedalling.

Ntumba Massanka was only inches away from a high-quality third goal with an attempted chip that Bossin finger-tipped over the bar.

Chakwana also went close at the end of a blistering run from just inside the Forest half.

And only saves from the busy Bossin to deny Bayode and McNeil within a matter of moments kept his side in the hunt.

But it was a short-lived reprieve as Burnley - who pressed and forced the pace all night - finally got the third goal they wanted to guarantee the points when teenage defender Clarke powered home a fine header from McNeil’s cross with 20 minutes to go.

Forest did pull a goal back deep in stoppage time through Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel's neat finish but Conor Mitchell suffered few other alarms in an impressive night’s work as the goalkeeper captained the Clarets to a much-needed win.

Burnley: Mitchell, Clarke, Barrett, Younger, Koiki, N’Guessan (Nabi 87), Bayode (Jackson 78), White, McNeil (Birch 87), Chakwana, Massanka. Substitutes: Stone, Wood.

Nottingham Forest: Bossin, Coveney (Gomis ht), Stewart, Lacovitti, Preston, Charlesworth, Ahmedhodzic, Otim (Smith 72), Hutchinson (Johnson 72), Appiah, Lawrence-Gabriel. Substitutes: Richardson, Soloha.

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