Second half sharpness satisfies Burnley boss Sean Dyche as supporters return to the stands in pre-season workout!

Sean Dyche felt there was a sharpness to Burnley's second half display at Boundary Park.

By Dan Black
Monday, 26th July 2021, 10:30 am

League Two Oldham Athletic held their own before the break as the visitors turned in a 'lethargic' performance.

But goals from Jay Rodriguez - his third in two games - and teenager Lewis Richardson got the Clarets' noses in front just before the hour.

The England cap steered a Bobby Thomas header home from close range in the 56th minute after the unmarked defender had won Dwight McNeil's corner.

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Burnley boss Sean Dyche watches on at Boundary Park. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

And 18-year-old Richardson had his family on their feet in the main stand when reacting first to convert a loose ball a minute later.

Dyche said: “They had some good chances in the first half and didn’t take them but in the second half we showed enough there – like we should do – and I thought we were really sharp, so I was pleased for that and it was good for the supporters to see a couple of goals.”

“The lads have had a heavy week this week which is why we mixed up the teams.

“They had 90 minutes on Tuesday at the training ground and a heavy couple of days, so I thought there might be a little bit of lethargy which I thought in the first half there was - more mentally as well.

Teenager Lewis Richardson was on the scoresheet for the Clarets against Oldham Athletic. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

“The team that came on second half, there was a lot of sharpness to it and they looked clear-minded and overall it was a good end to a good week.”

Close to 1,000 fans were in attendance in the Chadderton Road End to witness a first game - where travelling fans were accomodated - since a drab goalless draw away at Newcastle United in February 2020.

They had little to get excited about in the first half, however, as the Clarets - who had overcome Salford City and newly-promoted Morecambe at the Barnfield Training Centre just days earlier - went through the motions.

Davis Keillor-Dunn went close for the hosts after twisting and turning on the edge of the box while Anthony Glennon was inches away from converting Phil Bardsley's delivery at the other end of the pitch.

Burnley defender James Tarkowski featured against his former club in the latest pre-season friendly. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Dylan Bahamboula's superb solo run deserved a finish, but Keillor-Dunn failed to hit the target with a right-footed attempt that evaded the far post.

Oldham's number 10 turned provider as the home side threatened once more, threading a pass into Hallam Hope, who blazed over under pressure from ex-Latics defender James Tarkowski.

Burnley started to assert some control on the game as half-time approached. Erik Pieters wasn't far away when letting fly after Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Josh Benson had been involved in the build-up.

And the Icelandic international went even closer to breaking the deadlock when his set-piece - after Richardson was brought down on the edge of the box - was repelled with a single hand by the trialist goalkeeper.

With 982 fans making the journey, Dyche said: “It was terrific. I think we all want that.

“To see our own fans away from home in a pre-season game has got to be a good sign. We hope so, anyway, and it was great to see the fans there."

The master, and his apprentice, turned the fixture in the away side's favour after Dyche had made wholesale changes at the interval.

Richardson was one of just two players to survive the changes, with Gudmundsson also retaining his spot.

The Burnley boss - who gave the youngster a taster of life in the first team in Premier League games against Spurs and Southampton last season - believes the Under 23s' player of the season is adapting nicely to the step up.

“He’s a young talent, so we’ll how he goes," he said. "He’s maturing and getting more used to it.

“He had moments last season when he was in amongst us.

“I know we were stretched with injuries but we know he’s in the background, working hard at his game and he’s done well this pre-season, working hard amongst the young players in the main first team group.

“These are good games for the young lads as well, mixing with the first team lads.”