One Final Youthful Revenge?
Most Clarets fans will be aware that a gallant Burnley lost 1-0 to Blackburn Rovers in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup semi-final at Ewood Park last Thursday night, Terry Pashley`s lads though now have a chance to pull out all the stops in the second-leg at Turf Moor on Wednesday night and see if they can win on aggregate to qualify for the final against either Manchester United or Chelsea.
On Thursday night, the Clarets struggled to contain Rovers in the first half. They are a big, powerful side who after getting their noses in front threatened to dominate the game. Raheem Hanley's first half header on 33 minutes from an Osawe cross in the end was enough to give Rovers a slender victory but the Clarets second half performance will have given the lads confidence ahead of Wednesday night's second leg on home soil.
The Clarets were not completely dominated in the first half though and long range strikes from Steven Hewitt and Luke Gallagher came close to equalising. The Clarets however would have been grateful to go into the break just the one goal down. Frustratingly the Clarets seemed to be slow in the build-up when a more direct pass to the wingers may have proved more fruitful.
The second half though was a much better performance when the Clarets came into their own and began to put Rovers under some pressure. Aryn Williams volleyed a shot wide from close range on 47 minutes and then minutes later Gallagher came close after getting clear of the Rovers defence. His shot too though was wide of target.
Rovers though were always a threat and Haley saw a header deflected against the bar as Blackburn came close to doubling their lead. O'Sullivan too was just also inches away.
Burnley`s hopes of an equaliser improved when Rovers were reduced to ten men due to centre back Jack O'Connell being sent off for his second bookable offence 10 minutes from time but it wasn`t to be.
First-leg Match Stats
Blackburn: Urwin, Wylie (Beesley 77), Henley, Mason (Hands 70), Edwards, O'Connell, Osawe, Hanley, Haley (Laverty 89), O'Sullivan, Fernandez.
Subs not used: Payney, Daly.
Burnley: Josh Cook, Aryn Williams, Alex Coleman, Jack Errington, Luke Conlan, Luke Gallagher, Steven Hewitt, Archie Love, Adam Evans, Cameron Howieson (Jason Gilchrist 73), Shay McCartan.
Subs not used: Callum Jakovlevs, Charlie Holt, Luke Daly, Alex Mullin.
Referee: James Adcock (Nottinghamshire).
It is quite clear that the next goal in the second-leg will be crucial. If Rovers score first, Burnley could have a mountain to climb but if the Clarets open the scoring, with the home crowd behind them, we could still make the final for the first time since 1968!
Youth team coach Terry Pashley is also thinking along similar lines after the first-leg defeat:
"It was a physically tough game," Pashley said. "They`re a big side who put you under pressure.
"But I`m really proud of the boys for the way they responded at half time. I thought they were excellent in the second half.
"The next goal in the tie is going to be vital, and that`s what we`ll be stressing to the boys.
"It`s going to be a tough ask, but if we can get the players to believe in themselves like they did in the second half, hopefully we can turn the tie around."
It must have been quite an experience for the young guns playing in front of a 10,000 crowd on Thursday night and Pashley felt some players were overawed by the experience of playing in front of so many.
"That`s the learning curve, said the youth team coach
"Obviously now they`ve experienced it once they`ll be better prepared for Wednesday."
So what are our chances of beating Blackburn Rovers by more than one goal? I would think very high if we can get that all important opening goal. The home fans will be there in numbers and in the majority so that could be worth a goal or two at least. It should be noted though that Blackburn have been allocated 3,800 tickets for the David Fishwick Stand but whether that number turns up remains to be seen. Will they muster more than the over 3000 Clarets fans that cheered on their team from the Darwen End last Thursday night? We shall see!!
The Burnley youth team should certainly not fear the opposition, they were not totally outplayed by the Premier League youth team by any means in the first leg and other Academy sides such as Ipswich, West Brom and Fulham have been knocked out of this competition by the Clarets already. There is still all to play for! Come on You Clarets let`s try and get something from this pretty wretched season so far.
Second-Leg Ticket details
Clarets fans hoping to go the second-leg may want to read the following ticketing details announced by the club:
Burnley season ticket holders can get free entry to the FA Youth Cup semi-final second leg against Blackburn Rovers, to be played at Turf Moor on March 28.
All season ticket holders have until 5pm on the day of the game to swap voucher 1 in their books for a valid match ticket.
Tickets for this game are also available to purchase by anyone on the club's database with a Clarets number (ie: with a record of purchasing tickets).
One ticket per account is permitted, priced at £5 adults, £3 senior citizens, £1 for Under 16s.
Tickets ordered via telephone or by post must be collected from the Turf Moor ticket office, which will be open until kick-off on the evening of the game.
Tickets will be sold strictly on a stand-by-stand basis, starting with the Bob Lord Stand, followed by Jimmy McIlroy (lower tier) and finally James Hargreaves (lower tier).
Supporters cannot choose individual seats, which will be allocated at the time of booking.
Dependent on ticket sales, a decision will then be made on opening upper tiers.
Deadline for ticket purchases is 5pm on Thursday, March 28.
No tickets will be sold after this time, however collections can be made until kick-off.
Voucher 1 cannot be used at the turnstiles.