Full-time: Burnley U23s 3 QPR U23s 1

Burnley's Under 23s recorded a third win in five games to give themselves hope of finishing off the foot of the table in the Professional Development League.

Monday, 26th March 2018, 4:57 pm
Updated Monday, 26th March 2018, 5:05 pm
Tinashe Chakwana in action for Burnley's Under 23s at Turf Moor.

The Clarets, who have beaten Charlton Athletic and Nottingham Forest in recent outings, are now just four points adrift of Barnsley with a game in hand following the 3-1 win over southern section opponents QPR at Turf Moor, despite seeing midfielder Dean Marney sent off.

The hosts were in control from referee David Underwood's first whistle and should have been out of sight at the interval as goalkeeper Marcin Brzozowski kept the Hoops in the game.

The Polish stopper denied Dwight McNeill early on, getting down to his left to repel the winger's low strike.

Burnley Under 23s boss Michael Duff

The 19-year-old was called in to action again when Ntumba Massanka played Tinashe Chakwana goal side of his marker but, once again, Brzozowski came out on top, saving with his leg.

However, there was nothing the teenager could do about the next shot that he faced as Massanka netted with a beautifully controlled volley from close range.

Dean Marney's attempt from McNeill's corner was blocked and as Oliver Younger kept the ball alive, Massanka swung his right boot at it to open the scoring in the 17th minute.

Massanka squandered a golden opportunity to double the lead moments later when he had all the time in the world to pick his spot but, from Chakwana's cross, the forward failed to beat Brzozowski.

Burnley Under 23s boss Michael Duff

The visitors rarely threatened against an organised unit, expertly marshalled by club captain Tom Heaton.

The England international, who has three caps for his country, had Romeo Akinola's free kick covered at his left hand upright after Aiden O'Neill had upended Aiden Mesias 25 yards from goal.

The home side were looking dangerous with every foray forward and Massanka really should have been more productive with another clear sighting of goal.

The 21-year-old, who has had spells with York City, Morecambe and Wrexham, found the wrong side of the post with his right foot despite having just Brzozowski to beat.

Massanka already had his goal but it quickly started to look as though it was going to turn in to one of those days for him.

With his next attempt on goal, once again supplied by Chakwana from the left hand side, the forward had his path to goal obstructed having delayed his shot.

Chakwana did eventually provide the Clarets with the cushion they deserved in the 41st minute, pouncing from close range to guide the ball past Brzozowski once Charlie Fox had inadvertently turned Tunde Bayode's excellent cross towards his own goal.

Bayode had the opportunity to stretch the advantage just before the interval when Marney picked out his run but, having cut on to his left boot, he was denied by the legs of Brzozowski at the near post.

Burnley remained untroubled after the break, though Oliver Younger had to be on his toes to get across and block Aramide Oteh's effort when the striker was picked out incisively by Charlie Owens.

McNeill rattled the crossbar after being teed up by Bayode but the home side didn't have to wait long to add their third of the fixture.

Chakwana didn't have to break his stride when stepping on to O'Neill's pull back from the right and the striker confidently stroked the ball in to the corner from the penalty spot.

The away side went close late on when substitute Gianni Da Costa picked out Oteh at the far post but the forward's header came back off the crossbar.

But, in a frantic final five minutes, QPR netted a consolation goal before Dean Marney's dismissal reduced the Clarets to 10 men.

Substitute Charlie Kendall was gifted possession in the penalty area following a calamitous defensive mix up and guided the ball in to the corner while Marney saw red for dissent just seconds later.

There'll be no Easter break for Duff's side as they travel to Stocksbridge Park Steels on Good Friday to take on Sheffield United, kick off 2 p.m.