STRIKER Laura Hesketh returned to the Clarets’ starting XI with a bang with a hat-trick in in the Lancashire FA Challenge Cup win over Wigan.
Laura has been otherwise engaged competing in various races, culminating in a marathon, meaning she hasn’t featured in over a month.
But she made a big impact back in the side, firing the Clarets through.
The Clarets started slowly, and keeper Emily Rogers was forced to clear the danger as the last defender on a number of occasions.
But Burnley had the first notable effort on goal as Hesketh collected the ball from Vicky Smith on the left and passed to Steph Meeks, who tried to curl a shot in from 18 yards under pressure from a Wigan defender, and the ball flew wide.
As the Clarets seemed to be getting control of the game, Wigan pushed forward, and a ball over the top found the striker, who lobbed Rogers to score, only to be adjudged off-side.
During the last 15 minutes of the first half the Clarets applied real pressure to the Wigan defence., and Jo Rohman drilled a shot in from 20 yards which was deflected towards the right corner, but the keeper pulled off an excellent diving save.
Moment later, captain Jo Holt sprinted forward to intercept a loose ball and hit a rocket of a shot which was also met by the keeper.
The second half started as the first half ended as the Clarets continued to apply pressure.
Meeks won the ball in the air from a Wigan goal kick, and Hesketh broke clear of the Wigan defence, only for the keeper to dive at her feet and collect the ball.
Another through ball from Rohman saw Hesketh push the ball to the left of the keeper, but a chasing defender prevented her from finishing.
With 19 minutes remaining, Hesketh again found herself one-on-one with the keeper, and although saved to her left, Hesketh collected the loose ball and curled a shot into the net to open the scoring.
And three minutes later Hesketh made it 2-0, rounding the keeper and firing home.
And Hesketh killed the tie when the hard-working Holt made a strong tackle and pushed forward with the ball before launching it over the defence to Hesketh, who slotted past the keeper.
On Sunday, the Lady Clarets are back in action in the league against Preston North End Ladies at Bank Hall, kick-off 2 p.m.
Burnley’s Under 13s also beat their Wigan counterparts 4-1 on Saturday.
The Clarets raced into a two-goal lead with strikes from Mollie Brennand and Karla Ashworth, before Wigan made it 2-1 just before half-time.
Burnley scored at the start of the second half with Alicia McGoogan winning the ball from the defence before squaring unselfishly for through Emily Paton, and good goalkeeping from Emma Wall and a goal-line clearance from Isabel Cormack preserved the lead before Brennannd scored her second.
FINAL SCORE: Burnley FC Ladies 3, Wigan Athletic 0