Ne-Jai Tucker nets two in big Burnley under-23 practice match win
Bermudian Ne-Jai Tucker scored twice for the Burnley under-23s as they beat Blackburn Rovers 6-2 in a pre-season friendly on the weekend.
After dominating the opening 25 minutes at the Barnsfield Training Centre, Burnley opened the scoring through captain Rob Harker with a simple tap-in on the end of a cross into the box.
Burnley made five changes at the half and one of the substitutes, Michael Mellon, doubled the lead with his first touch, after a mix-up in the Blackburn defence that allowed Mellon to score from just outside the box.
Tucker opened his account when he scored from a rebound after Harker’s shot hit a post. The 18-year-old Bermudian curled his shot into the back of the net to make it 3-0.
After Dara Costelloe scored the fourth, Tucker added his second after curling his shot into the far post from inside the box. Rovers puled a goal back before Burnley restored their five-goal lead with substitute Sam Unwin netting the team’s sixth goal.
Blackburn scored a further consolation just before the end. The win was Burnley’s third of the pre-season, adding to earlier victories over Ashton Athletic and Wrexham ahead of the start of the Premier League 2 campaign.
Tucker, who recently signed his first professional contract, played among some first-team players yesterday in an under-23 training-ground friendly against Stockport County. This enabled some senior players to get valuable minutes ahead of the start of the Premier League campaign on Saturday.
Tucker came on as a 60th-minute substitute as Burnley won the match 3-1 on goals from Lewis Richardson, Owen Dodgson and Nathan Collins.
Collins was one of four senior players who got the chance to join the youngsters and top up their fitness ahead of the Premier League opener against Brighton & Hove Albion.
Matthew Lowton also featured, along with Matej Vydra and goalkeeper Will Norris, after missing last Saturday’s warm-up loss to Cádiz because of Covid-19 isolation.
The outfield trio all completed 90 minutes, along with Aaron Lennon, who continues to train with the Clarets while he is without a club.