FORMER Burnley captain Tom Heaton was in the opposition net as the Clarets' Under 23s drew 2-2 with Aston Villa.

Manager Steve Stone was encouraged as his side twice hit back to earn a point in PL2, particularly after having to miss their last game due to the number of players in isolation as a result of Covid-19 precautions.

Villa took the lead through Jaden Philogene-Bidace early on before one of two Burnley trialists impressed with an equaliser before half-time - getting the better of Heaton, who was making his comeback from injury at the second attempt.

Aaron Ramsey restored Villa's lead with 15 minutes to go, against the run of play.

But the Clarets kept going and substitute Joel Mumbongo grabbed a stoppage time equaliser to end a run of three straight defeats.

U23s boss Stone, who came close to having a full squad at his disposal for the first time since the start of the season, said: “I’ve got three or four boys who through Covid haven’t been in the building for two weeks, so it was testament to the likes of Bobby Thomas, Josh Benson and Anthony Glennon who have been away. And Rob Harker, as well. I’m delighted for them to get a game of football and get on the right end of a result by being relentless and going to the end to get a goal off a set-piece.

“It’s me trying to show them what football is about. It’s not all about the technical side of the game and passing and moving.

“It’s about all sides of the games, in and out of possession, and I thought we showed that.

“I’m really pleased for them all. I was delighted with their attitude and application. That’s what you’re looking for and you could see what it meant with the celebration at the end.”

Although Mumbongo’s late leveller wasn’t enough to lift the Clarets off the bottom of the Second Division, it was a timely boost ahead of a two-week break from action.

“There have been a few games where we’ve deserved something out of it but we’ve been a bit naïve and we’ve been a lot weaker than that in terms of our team selection, so you sort of accept that,” added Stone, speaking to the club website.

“We conceded a really sloppy first goal and again the second one was a counter-attack and a bit naïve.

“But we mixed it really well, played into pockets, played diagonal balls, turned them and got crosses into the box.

“And they are side who have come down from the top level, who have been good for a lot of years, have put some money into the club and have got some really good technical players, so I was delighted with what we were seeing out there today in patches.

“The first 10 or 15 minutes I wasn’t happy but in the middle section of the game I was really happy to see what the boys were about, considering the disruption they’ve had in recent weeks.”