The Lilywhites’ opposite number, Simon Davey, was also satisfied with his team: "It was a very pleasing performance all round. The lads passed the ball and kept to their beliefs in a highly competitive game."
(Before moving on to the rest of the league, mention should be made here of our midfielder Sean Blakey who was injured in last Monday afternoon’s game against Stockport at Gawthorpe. Although the injury was not thought to be serious at first, Sean later in the week had to be operated on in hospital. I’m sure Clarets fans everywhere will want to join us in sending our best wishes to Sean for a speedy recovery, and hope that it’s not long before we hear Mum and Dad’s incomprehensible Geordie accents on the touchline again!)
If Burnley produced the team performance of the week, there’s no doubt as to where the best individual display was. Last week we mentioned Tranmere’s Chris Dagnall as one to keep an eye on. Well, the prolific striker surpassed even his high standards, firstly on Tuesday night in hitting all three as the Rovers dispatched Cheltenham 3-0 to reach the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup; and then notching another hat-trick on Saturday as Rochdale were crushed 5-0 in the league. His striking partner Paul Robinson has been having a lean time recently, but he returned to the scoresheet to send shivers of dread down defensive spines throughout the league. Thomas Carroll got the fifth in a result which means that Preston are now definitely in Tranmere’s sights.
Robinson is too old to play in the Lancashire FA Youth Cup tie at the Turf on Monday evening (to correct last week’s Alliance Affairs), but Dagnall should be leading the Rovers’ line. With several bright prospects on both sides it promises to be quite a game.
Having beaten the Clarets 3-0 on the Monday, Stockport maintained their fine run of form with another away win, this time 1-0 at hapless Blackpool. A Shaun Brolly penalty was enough to keep the Hatters third. Oldham moved up into fourth with victory over Wigan by a similar scoreline.
In the final game of the weekend Bury and Carlisle fought out a 0-0 draw at Lower Gigg. United coach Billy Barr, although pleased that his side had finally got in a game after six weeks of postponements, was rather disappointed not to take all three points: "Yet again we could have been two or three up if only we had shown more composure in the final third of the pitch".
Ah, that pesky final third of the pitch, the bane of managers and coaches everywhere. If only they could do away with it!
Tuesday, January 21st:
Rochdale v Wigan
Tranmere v Carlisle
Blackpool v Preston (Lancashire FA Youth Cup)
Saturday, January 25th:
Burnley v Bury (11am)
Carlisle v Blackpool
Rochdale v Oldham
Stockport v Preston
Leading reported league scorers:
13 Paul Robinson (Tranmere)
12 Chris Dagnall (Tranmere)
9 Kelvin Langmead (Preston)
6 Michael Kewley (Preston)
5 Lee Hamilton (Carlisle)
5 Jamie Baguley (Stockport)
5 Matthew Blinkhorn (Blackpool)
5 Fola Onibuje (Preston)
Youth Alliance League Table