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PL Cup Report: Burnley 0 Rovers 4

23 January 2017

Anthony Stokes and Matty Platt both grabbed two second half goals as Rovers defeated Burnley 4-0 at Morecambe in the Premier League Cup.

After an entertaining but goalless first half in which Andy Fisher made two key saves for Rovers, Damien Johnson's side found their range with four unanswered strikes.

Stokes' deft flick from a Mahoney corner saw Rovers open the scoring on 47 minutes, before Platt headed home from another set-piece soon after.

Stokes then grabbed his second as he fired in off the underside of the bar with Platt matching him once more with a looping header from a Hardcastle cross.

Rovers could have had more goals to their name as they ended the match strongly. Platt saw a further header cleared off the line, whilst Mahoney, Lewis Travis and Willem Tomlinson were all denied in the closing stages.

Rovers were able to call upon the experienced pair of Wes Brown and Anthony Stokes for the Premier League group match, whilst the Clarets had Daniel Agyei and Josh Ginnelly back in their ranks after loan spells at league clubs.

And despite a sticky surface that only passed an 11.30am pitch inspection there was plenty of good football on show at the Globe Arena.

Home side Burnley threatened inside four minutes. Ginnelly with a free-kick into the box that was headed over by defender Oliver Younger.

Then lovely play by Joe Rankin-Costello saw him battle his way past two to feed Connor Thomson to the left of the area, his first touch gave him the space to shoot, but his effort was blocked by a Burnley boot.

Stokes then struck the side-netting from a free-kick, but it was a Clarets free-kick that brought the save of the match on 13 minutes.

Ginnelly hit a curling ball in from 30-yards that seemed destined for the far corner until Andy Fisher pulled off an outstanding save to somehow get the ball up and over the bar.

Chances at either end continued in what was an entertaining first half. A ball over the top from Lewis Travis saw Rankin-Costello feed Connor Mahoney, but from a tight angle he could only find the side-netting.

But after Matty Platt had headed over a centre from Mahoney, Rovers were indebted once more for a fantastic save from Fisher.

As George Green ushered the ball along the edge of the box he was tracked all the way by Platt, but as the Rovers captain lost his footing it allowed the Burnley man to fire goalwards, but Fisher dived to his right to make a fingertip save.

Willem Tomlinson poked wide after more neat approach play, before Rovers ended the half hitting the side-netting a third time as Rankin-Costello went close.

But whilst both sides had chances to break the deadlock in the first half, it was Rovers who opened the scoring just a minute into the second.

Early pressure from Damien Johnson's side saw Rankin-Costello win a corner, and from the left Mahoney delivered to the near post to where Stokes fired home with a first-time shot.

Agyei couldn't keep an Arlen Birch cross down as the Clarets looked for an immediate response, but it was Rovers posing the greater threat as Rankin-Costello put a diving header just wide following good work from Lewis Hardcastle.

But it didn't take Rovers long to double their advantage. On 56 minutes another set-piece from Mahoney - this time from the right - saw Platt rising high to power his header into the top corner.

After creating two goals Mahoney fancied getting on the scoresheet himself. A free-kick from the far side was a whisker away from goal, before a quick turn in the centre of midfield gave him the opportunity to get a shot away, but Conor Mitchell was equal to his efforts.

Burnley made a couple of substitutions in an attempt to get back in the game, but it was Rovers who added a third on 73 minutes.

Rankin-Costello sent Thomson racing away down on the left and he picked out Stokes at the near post and the Irishman fired home via the underside of the crossbar.

A near-post shot from Aiden O'Neill forced a save from Fisher, but that was a rare second half chance for the visitors as Rovers added their fourth on 78 minutes.

Their patient play was rewarded once more as Hardcastle delivered to the far side of the area for Platt to get his second goal of the afternoon with a looping header over the keeper.

Burnley thought they had grabbed a consolation goal with ten minutes remaining when Agyei tapped home, but celebrations were cut short by the offside flag.

The closing stages saw Rovers make a triple change as Stefan Mols, Joe Grayson and Lewis Mansell were all introduced. And the chances kept on coming for Johnson's side.

After Travis saw a curling effort tipped aside, Platt was denied a hat-trick of headers when James Clarke cleared off the line. The resulting corner came out to Tomlinson but his left-footed strike deflected over as they searched for a fifth goal.

The win sees Rovers do the double over the Clarets in this competition, and consolidate their second-place position in Group B. They lie just a point behind leaders Sunderland who they'll face next in the Premier League Cup next month.

BURNLEY: Mitchell, Clarke, Birch, Thomas (sub McNeil 70 mins), Younger, Dunne, Jackson (sub Koiki 63 mins), O'Neill (c), Agyei, Green (sub Wood 74 mins), Ginnelly.

Subs not used: Aghayere, Chakwana.

Goals: None.

Booked: Birch 60 mins.

ROVERS: Fisher, Travis, Doyle, Tomlinson, Platt (c), Brown, Mahoney (sub Mols 82 mins), Hardcastle, Stokes (sub Mansell 82 mins), Rankin-Costello, Thomson (sub Grayson 82 mins).

Subs not used: Magloire, Powell (GK).

Goals: Stokes 47, 73 mins, Platt 56, 78 mins

Booked: Doyle 88 mins.

Attendance: TBC

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