BURNLEY Under-23s began life without Michael Duff with a late defeat to Millwall.

Academy manager Jonathan Pepper was in charge at Turf Moor, with Duff watching from the directors’ box in the first half.

The former Clarets defender is set to take over as the new Cheltenham Town manager as he prepares to begin his senior managerial career with the Robins.

He saw the youngsters he has helped guide during his time in the coaching ranks at Burnley suffer last-minute agony against the visitors.

The Clarets had won both their home games in the Professional Development League so far this season, beating Cardiff City 4-1 and Crystal Palace 2-1.

But they’d seen two goal leads wiped out in both away games, losing 4-2 at Coventry City and 3-2 at Queens Park Rangers and they had a hard-earned point snatched away at the death against Millwall.

The Lions didn’t take long to open the scoring. Issac Olaofe burst clear down the left and pulled in a low cross which was collected by Lewis White, who turned Ollie Younger and then slapped in a finish from six-yards off the crossbar.

Burnley were level after 20 minutes. Dan Agyei’s header from Tunde Bayode’s dangerous free-kick was pushed up in the air by Ryan Sandford, but Tinsashe Chakwana was on hand to head home from close range.

Chakwana was denied a second 10 minutes before the break. Picked out by the lively Bayode’s clipped pass over the back four, he saw his shot blocked by the retreating Jesse Debrah.

Bayode created the first chance of the second half with a surging run to the byline, but from his cutback Agyei’s effort was deflected behind.

The visitors were growing back into the game in the final quarter, with Debrah heading just wide from a corner before Olaofe couldn’t quite reach a loose ball to poke home in the six-yard box.

Burnley came close to taking a late lead when Anthony Glennon’s corner caused chaos inside the six-yard box but neither Younger or Chakwana could force the ball home on the line.

But in stoppage time a goalmouth scramble ended with substitute George Alexander finishing from six yards to ensure the points travelled back down south.

Burnley: Adam Bruce, James Clarke (Jordan Cropper 70), Oliver Younger, Teddy Perkins, Anthony Glennon, Tunde Bayode, Christian N’Guessan, Mace Goodridge, Ali Koiki (Marley Blair 70), Tinashe Chakwana, Dan Agyei

Subs not used: Harry Allen, Ed Cook, Kian Yari