A STUTTERING performance proved costly as Burnley FC Ladies suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat at home to Bury on Sunday.
Burnley started with gusto and threatened to overrun the opposition.
Lively striker Laura Hesketh, created a chance for winger Lucie Berwick, whose powerful left-foot drive was palmed around the post.
A precision pass from full back Becky Sidley found Hesketh, but her right wing cross was intercepted before it could be converted by strike partner Ainsley Strickland.
Playmaker Em Forrest, sprayed passes from the central midfield area but the Bury rearguard held firm.
The nearest Burnley came to scoring was in the 12th minute when a probing Hesketh run caused mayhem in the Bury defence, an attempted clearance rebounding off Forrest and striking the post.
Totally against the run of play, a rare mistake from inspirational captain Jo Holt led to Bury taking the lead after 15 minutes.
Burnley continued to dominate possession, and the wily Jo Rohman threaded a ball through for Berwick, but her progress was blocked.
Star performer Carly Salkeld (pictured) repeatedly threatened down the right flank, and an elegant turn by Vicky Smith opened up the goal, only to be thwarted by a perfectly-timed tackle.
And Hesketh’s darting run into the box led to penalty appeals but the referee waved appeals away.
On the rare occasions Bury threatened, they were repelled by the dominant centre half pairing of Holt and Leah Morrisey, although one deflected effort from the Bury striker drew an athletic save from Emily Rogers.
The Clarets almost equalised right on half-time when a corner from Berwick was met by a Morrisey volley that flew wide.
Disaster struck within three minutes of the restart when a defensive mix-up led to Rogers being harshly judged to have pushed the Bury striker. The penalty was neatly converted to double the deficit.
Burnley were in the ascendancy for the rest of the game.
Substitute Danielle Cooper showed flashes of creativity, producing half-chances for Berwick and Rohman, but they were unable to beat the Bury keeper. Hesketh’s pace was giving her marker an uncomfortable afternoon but her progress was twice halted by the legs of the Bury stopper. A deft touch and swivel from Cooper was foiled by a last-ditch tackle, and in stoppage time, Holt headed over from a Berwick corner.
The next match for Burnley Ladies will be on Sunday, kick-off 2 p.m. when they host Blackpool at Bank Hall.