Ne-Jai Tucker and his Burnley Under 23 teammates lost out to Salford in a training-ground run-out after twice surrendering the lead.
With no Premier League 2 fixture until January and some of his squad in need of game-time, Burnley Under-23s’ boss Steve Stone took the opportunity to mix up his side against the League Two opposition.
And a useful work-out saw Salford make their strength count after the break with three goals in a 15-minute burst.
“It was an opportunity for some of the lads, who haven’t played much because of Covid and the way the team has been going,” said Stone, whose side is on a five-match unbeaten run in PL2’s Second Division.
“These are the extra games we want to have and it really served its purpose.
“You know what you’re going to get from Salford, who have a physicality about them and play it the right way.
“It’s a different kind of challenge for our boys, which showed up a few issues in terms of understanding the other side of the game.
“Category One is a new level and these lads have got to try and get into the team and get their opportunities.”
Burnley started brightly with Mace Goodridge, who did well in the role of senior man in the middle of the park, dragging a shot just wide.
And Burnley went ahead when defender Connor Barrett nodded in a corner from Tucker.
Max Thompson – a lively presence for Stone’s side – then cut in and fired against the foot of a post.
But despite an equally positive start to the second half, Burnley were pegged back after an hour when substitute Emmanuel Dieseruvwe tapped in after a shot from the impressive Kevin Berkoe had been saved by Marc Richter.
Richter then kept out a free-kick from Liam Loughlan – son of Burnley first-team coach Tony – who was a lively presence for the visitors with a sweet left foot.
And even though Burnley went back in front when Thompson pounced on a defensive mistake to finish smartly, Salford’s growing pressure paid off with two quick-fire goals to seal the win.
Mo Touray slotted home the equalizer and the powerful Dieseruvwe showed his experience gained from plenty of football at League Two and National League level by heading the visitors’ third from another Berkoe cross as his pace and power was made to tell.