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REPORT: Crewe Alexandra U23s 0 Burnley U23s 3

Mumbongo at the double as the Clarets get firing again

9 March 2020

The Clarets dusted off the cobwebs to stay in the hunt for a play-off place as Joel Mumbongo again de-railed Crewe.

Playing their first game in more than a month, Burnley enhanced their hopes of a top-two finish in the Professional Development League’s northern section.

With a raft of players out on loan, that may no longer be such an obvious goal.

Only three players who started the reverse fixture last November were on starting duty again at Gresty Road.

But Mumbongo was one of them and he repeated the two goals he scored in the 4-2 home win over the Railwaymen to keep Andy Farrell’s men in the hunt as they briefly went back to second in the table.

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Mumbongo struck with near identical finishes moments before the end of each half as the Clarets eased to victory.

And with Nejai Tucker’s excellent strike after 80 minutes killing off any prospect of a Crewe fightback, it was a job well done as the Clarets got back to business in impressive style.

Crewe’s last game had been just a week ago and they were quickest out of the blocks with an early chance for Owen Dale - one of a number of players with first-team experience with the League Two leaders - which he hit too close to Clarets keeper Lukas Jensen.

Jensen then got a touch to an angled drive from Tyreece Onyeka as he came in off the opposite flank.

But the Clarets gradually got a grip, helped by some over-playing at the back from the home side who presented a shooting chance to Tucker which was saved by Dave Richards.

Mitch George then won the ball again just outside the penalty area and created an opening for Henri Ogunby, who clipped another effort over the top shortly afterwards.

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Crewe were pushed back for long periods, although enjoyed some relief when the lively Heath found space for a shot which Jensen dived to his right to save.

The momentum was with Burnley, though, and just before the break their growing pressure paid off.

Ali Koiki’s storming run from left-back opened things up and when he got behind the Crewe defence to pull the ball back for Mumbongo, the striker side-footed home since sinking the Railwaymen in the reverse fixture.

That didn’t give the Clarets the platform to go on and dominate as Crewe looked to hit back with their best spell of the game early in the second half.

But Heath missed their best chance when he got clear before lifting his effort over the top with just Jensen to beat.

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And having kept the hosts at arm’s length, Burnley finished strongly to secure the points with Tucker’s fine strike.

The teenager had just switched wings following a double substitution when he was presented with the ball 25 yards out and advanced before firing a left-foot shot which Richards reached but couldn’t keep out of the top corner.

That killed off any Crewe resistance and it was almost three for the Clarets in the closing moments as substitute Chris Conn-Clarke cut in to steer in a shot which hit the inside of a post before bouncing clear of the goal.

There was still time for one more, though, as Burnley finished with a flourish.

Fittingly both goalscorers were involved as Tucker pulled the ball back for Mumbongo to steer a close-range effort into the roof of the net to repeat his double dose of November.

Crewe: Richards; Johnson, Lancashire, Southern, Finley; Robbins; Dale, Woodthorpe, Heath, Onyeka; Anene (Lokko 86). Substitutes: Walklate, Priestman, Goodrich, MacDonald.

Burnley: Jensen; Trialist, Thomas, Prutin, Koiki; Ogunby (Conn-Clarke 73), Brennan, Woods, Tucker; George (McGlynn 73), Mumbongo. Substitutes: Allen, Rain, Moonan.

Referee: Anthony Tankard


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