CLARETS striker Martin Paterson returned with a bang on Wednesday night as he netted for the reserves against Preston.
North End won 3-2 at Turf Moor to hold off their nearest rivals and claim the totesport.com League Western Division title, but moire importantly, Paterson came through an hour unscathed - his first action since a recurrence of a thigh strain on February 1st at Doncaster - and he has a chance of being involved at Elland Road tomorrow.
Burnley had to beat Preston on Wednesday, and hope Accrington Stanley Reserves could do them a favour on Monday, but Danny Mayor grabbed a hat-trick for David Unsworth’s side to gaina crumb of comfort after the first team’s relegation to League 1 on Monday.
Mayor opened the scoring from the spot 13 minutes in, firing the ball to Josh Cook’s right, after Nik Kudiersky upended Michael Potts.
Burnley, who included David Edgar, Brian Easton and Marvin Bartley as well as Paterson, responded well, with Wes Fletcher close to getting on the end of Bartley’s right wing centre from reaching Wes Fletcher cross before Edgar was denied by a fine stop from Andreas Arestidou, who had an impressive evening.
Paterson then found the roof of the net after Arestiou beat out Dominic Knowles’ fierce strike, but Paterson got his goal six minutes from the break.
Bartley threaded a delightful pass through, and, with Arestidou committed on the edge of his area, Paterson dragged the ball past him and fired into the empty net.
Moments later Kudiersky headed Jamie Proctor’s effort off the line, but North End regained their lead when Proctor skipped past Kudiersky and pulled the ball back for Mayor to sidefoot home.
After the break, Paterson got another 15 minutes before being withdrawn, but not before he sent a bicycle kick over the top, and then sending in a cross which former Clarets left back Stephen Jordan - who is training with Preston after being released by Sheffield United - sliced to Wes Fletcher, who must have thought he had scored, only for Arestidou to pull off a reaction save from close range.
Proctor looked set to make it 3-1 after going clear, only to shoot wide under no pressure, and it looked like he would be made to pay six minutes from time when Edgar whipped in an inviting cross, and Michael King, with the ball slightly behind him., adjusted superbly to guide a header insiode the near post for a deserved goal.
Edgar had a chance to win it late on, only to be foiled by Arestidou, and North Enbd took advantage as Mayor fopund the top corner with a sublime effort to take the points and the title.
BURNLEY: Josh Cook; Nik Kudiersky, Chris Lynch, Brian Easton; Louis-Rae Beadle (Steven Hewitt 71), Marvin Barley, Dominic Knowles, David Edgar, Michael King; Wes Fletcher, Martin Paterson (Shay McCartan 60). Subs not used: Craig Mawson, Ross Wilson, Archie Love, Joe McKee, Tom Anderson.