Clarets

Burnley U23s 2 Barnsley U23s 1

A Lewis Richardson double extended the Clarets’ unbeaten start as they came from behind to go to the top of the Professional Development League.

That lead may be short-lived, with current northern group pace-setters Nottingham Forest playing Wigan Athletic on Monday night.

But Burnley did everything they could by stretching their undefeated start to 10 league games thanks to a superb second half performance.

Richardson struck twice in the space of 12 minutes to take his total for the season to four and three in the past two games.

And with the Clarets then digging in to rebuff a late counter-thrust from the Tykes, they put the ball in Forest’s court ahead of their home fixture against the Latics.

The Clarets again had to make defensive changes with centre-backs Bobby Thomas and Ollie Younger still sidelined through injury and Anthony Glennon a late withdrawal.

Glennon had travelled with the first team to Leicester City on Saturday but illness ended his ever-present run in the Under-23s.

That meant the captain’s armband for Adam Phillips and a first start in close to a year for central defender Teddy Perkins, who is currently out on loan at Ramsbottom United, in partnership with Scott Wilson.

And the re-shuffled back four conceded after just seven minutes when Rob Harker turned a free-kick from ex-Clarets youngster Jordan Barnett into his own net as Burnley conceded an own-goal for the second game running.

A week ago Wigan benefitted with a share of the points but this time the Clarets hit back to make it successive home wins at Curzon Ashton.

There looked little prospect of that in a disappointing first half littered with stoppagws in play in which Burnley threatened only briefly, Ne-Jai Tucker failing to match a fine early run with a finish and Harker dragging a shot just wide on the break.

But the Clarets then dominated the second half and grabbed the points with Richardson’s twin strike.

The 16-year-old had ended a barren run with the opening goal at Wigan and stayed in the groove with two more poacher’s strikes.

Four minutes into the second half Ali Koiki’s through-ball put Richardson in the clear and he kept his composure to beat Josh Barnes.

And then with an hour gone the England youth international put the hosts in front with a high-quality goal.

Josh Benson’s fine pass released Harker and the striker’s excellent low cross on the turn found Richardson arriving at the edge of the six-yard box to side-foot home.

Barnsley could barely get out of their own half and Richardson then almost created a third for Benson, whose shot was blocked.

But it still needed a late rearguard action to bank the points as the Clarets made it 12 games unbeaten in all competitions.

Barnsley, seeking back-to-back wins of their own, had late chances through Chris Sang and Keziah Martin.

But superb blocks from Wilson and Koiki snuffed out the danger as the Clarets’ will to win got them over the line and into pole position in the title race.

Burnley: Jensen; Cooney, Perkins, Wilson, Koiki; Tucker, Phillips, N’Guessan; Harker, Richardson. Substitutes: McMahon, Goodridge, Bayode, Mumbongo.

Barnsley: Barnes; Helliwell, Pache (Cagen 74), Fielding, Barnett; Mottley-Henry, Styles, Martin, Wollerton; Willard, Sang (Marsh 77). Substitutes: Binns, Ward, Brown.

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