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REPORT: Burnley U23s 1 Sheffield Wednesday U23s 1

Ali Koiki on target again as unbeaten Clarets hit back to claim another point

4 November 2019

Draw specialists Burnley did it again as they cancelled out a goal from Jordan Rhodes to defend their unbeaten record with another gutsy fightback.

Former Blackburn Rovers striker Rhodes – out of favour at Hillsborough – fired the Owls ahead.

But Ali Koiki’s eighth goal of the season just before the break saw the Clarets come from behind for a fourth successive time in the U23 Professional League to climb back to second place in the northern group with an eighth draw in 12 games.

The Clarets – with a Premier League Cup tie to come on Thursday – made six changes to the starting line-up that had drawn at Leeds last time out, with Mace Goodridge among those returning for a welcome first league start of the season.

Koiki Glennon cele.JPG

Rhodes was one of four players in the Owls side who have figured at first-team level and the ex-Rovers’ striker made his presence felt early on when handing defender Scott Wilson – a Blackburn fan as a youngster – a painful blow to the face.

Wilson was heavily involved at both ends as he followed an early header directed just wide from a Josh Benson corner with a superb goalline clearance to deny Liam Shaw an opening goal.

But Wednesday had the better of the opening exchanges and 10 minutes before the break they went ahead.

This time Shaw was the provider with an excellent low cross which Rhodes tucked away with a side-foot finish past former Rotherham keeper George McMahon on his return to the Clarets’ side.

Goodridge action 3.JPG

The lead didn’t last until half-time, however, as Burnley responded impressively.

Harker missed an excellent chance from a pull-back from Tunde Bayode as the striker pulled his effort wide.

But when Bayode won the ball back again and crossed again moments later, Koiki arrived at the far post to slide home the leveller.

Bayode was making the most of his re-call and five minutes into the second the wingman delivered another excellent delivery to the near post which should have brought a better finish from Harker as the Clarets started brightly.

Benson action.JPG

With Harker and Anthony Glennon then making way, the average age of the Clarets’ side dropped even further as scholars Joe McGlynn and Ni-Jai Tucker came off the bench.

McGlynn had a shooting chance but opted to play in Koiki, whose shot was blocked.

The young Clarets – driven on by Goodridge and Josh Benson in the middle of the pitch – couldn’t fashion another clear sight of goal.

But with McMahon keeping out a Liam Waldock effort at the other end and Olly Younger making an impressive comeback alongside Wilson in front of him, they did enough to put another valuable point on the board as their unbeaten start to the season stretched to 14 games in all competitions.

Burnley: McMahon; Cropper, Younger, Wilson, Glennon (Tucker 60); Bayode, Goodridge, Benson, Koiki; Harker (McGlynn 54), Mumbongo. Substitutes: Jensen, Cooney, Woods.

Sheffield Wednesday: Render; Baker (Hughes HT), Lees (Lee 63), Thorniley, Uroghide; O’Brien (Preston 49), Waldock, Hunt, Grant; Rhodes, Shaw. Substitutes: Jackson,  Borukov.

Referee: Tom Swift

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