Andre Gray hat-trick helps Burnley to Football League North double

Sean Dyche split his squad in half as respective teams travelled to Alfreton and Kidderminster Harriers.

Andre Gray hat-trick helps Burnley to Football League North double
Gray's goals were pivotal to Burnley securing survival last season (photo: Getty Images/Jan Kruger)

Narrow 3-2 and 1-0 victories ensured Burnley kept up their 100% pre-season record as manager Sean Dyche combined youth and experience in two separate teams on Saturday afternoon.

Strong starts for both squads

Dyche sent a strong squad to Alfreton's Impact Arena Stadium with the likes of Tom Heaton, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jack Cork, Steven Defour, Andre Gray and Jon Walters all taking their place in the starting eleven.

Over at the Aggborough Stadium in Kidderminster, more of a fringe line-up looked to stake a claim for a starting berth when the Premier League recommences, as Matt Lowton, Stephen Ward, Jeff Hendrick, Ashley Barnes and Robbie Brady were joined by a number of youthful faces.

Unsurprisingly, the side at Alfreton appeared to be stronger in the early stages as Walters nodded against the crossbar after meeting a Johann Berg Gudmundsson cross. The new signing scored within ten minutes of his debut and almost repeated the effort in his second Clarets' contest.

Belgium international Defour began to control the tempo of the game at Alfreton, whilst Irish duo Hendrick and Brady forced excellent saves by Brandon Hall at Kidderminster. 

Brady and Gray get on the scoresheet

Gray and Gudmundsson were only denied goals at Alfreton after smart stops by Chris Elliot but it was the squad at Kidderminster who netted first. Brady released a sublime trademark free-kick that nestled in the top corner.

Yet a surprise was on the cards back at Alfreton as the Football League North side entered the break with a lead. Tom Allan nodded home a set-piece before Gray was denied again just before the half-time whistle.

However, it took just five minutes of the second half for Gray to finally break his duck and draw Burnley level. The striker played a neat triangle with Walters before sliding the ball into the back of the net. Meanwhile, Manny Sonupe went close to equalising for Kidderminster as he rattled the post.

Alfreton lights up with thrilling open contest

The next 20 minutes of action belonged to the contest at Alfreton. Burnley were level for just five minutes before Chris Sharp restored the home side's advantage.

The Clarets had to rely on a spell of luck to draw level on 65 minutes. Gray was making the visitors tick and he won a soft penalty after minimal contact with Luke Shiels. The striker stepped up to double his pre-season tally.

The energetic attacker then finally put Burnley ahead with a moment of class ten minutes later. Jack Cork played an excellent delivery up to Gray who hooked in a technical effort to put the visitors 3-2 ahead.

Barnes saw a goal disallowed at Kidderminster for offside before Lowton hit the crossbar with a driven effort.

Yet as both matches entered the final ten minutes, the Football League North duo ran out of steam and the duo of Burnley teams were able to hold onto their slender victories.


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