REPORT: Wanderers Reserves 1 Burnley U23s 4

Several first-team players – including the returning Xav Amaechi – gained important match fitness as they featured in the Reserves’ Central League Cup defeat to Burnley.

Sam Hird’s line-up at Lostock included Joel Dixon, Liam Gordon, Alex Baptiste, George Thomason and the fit-again Amaechi.

And all played more than 60 minutes as they welcomed a Clarets side featuring experienced striker Ashley Barnes, whose opening goal just before the break set Burnley on their way to a victory enhanced by two late goals which saw them wrap up top spot in Group A and qualification for the knock-out stages.

A steady start to the game saw the first chance fall to Wanderers midfielder Sam Olawumi, whose headed effort looped over from a set-piece.

Owen Dodgson, who made his senior Burnley debut in their recent FA exit to Huddersfield Town, then saw an effort across the Bolton penalty area deflect wide.

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It was the Whites who then had a chance of their own two minutes later, as left-back Max Conway surged forward and sent a deflected shot wide.

Hird’s men then thought they had the lead as Mitch Henry beat Clarets’ keeper and ex-Wanderers loanee Lukas Jensen, only to find the body of Richard Nartey on the line, who blocked well.

Just as the Whites were looking to head into half-time level, Burnley struck to go 1-0 up.

A corner whipped to the back-post by Ne-Jai Tucker evaded the Wanderers’ defence before finding Barnes, who marked his return from injury by planting a header into an almost empty net.

Bolton started the second period quickly and looked to punish their visitors as Amaechi broke through but  saw his chipped shot clawed away by Jensen before Henry saw a follow-up blocked.

Another Wanderers chance soon followed as they went in search of an equaliser with good work once again from Amaechi – looking to edge nearer a first-team return – who found Arran Pettifer to curl a shot into the arms of Jensen.

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However, Burnley were starting to look more dangerous as Wanderers replaced their senior men and struck a second with 14 minutes to go as Dodgson found space down the left and drilled in a cross for half-time substitute Joe McGlynn to flick the ball past Dixon.

And five minutes later the Clarets – whose Under-23s play in the second tier of Premier League 2 – had a third as Tucker slipped Michael Mellon in behind and the substitute made no mistake with a tidy finish.

Bolton did hit back as they tried to find a way back into the game late on when a superb cross-field pass from Joel Burgess – who had replaced Baptiste on 63 minutes – found Conway and his chested touch took him clear to finish well past Jensen.

But Clarets then put the outcome beyond doubt with three minutes to go as McGlynn scored his second of the game, beating two defenders before firing past Dixon.

Wanderers’ Reserves: Dixon, Tweedley, Conway, Gordon, Halford, Baptiste (Burgess 63), Pettifer, Thomason (Frimpong 77), Olawumi, Amaechi (Fitzmartin 64), Henry (Jones 73).

Unused Subs: Hutchinson.

(Pictures courtesy of Harry McGuire)

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