FOLLOWING a heavy defeat the previous week at Blackpool, Burnley Ladies bounced back in impressive style with a deserved victory over a strong Denton side.
With several players unavailable, the lady Clarets made changes to the starting line-up, with Rebecca Clough slotting into the left back position and Charlotte Hartley (pictured, left) returning on the right wing.
Burnley made a confident start to the match, with a penetrating run and cross from the left by Danni Cooper narrowly evading the strikers.
Creative midfielder Em Forrest slipped a pass through for Lucie Berwick, whose powerful cross-shot from the left whistled narrowly the wrong side of the post.
Elegant interplay between Vicky Smith and Jo Rohman drew a foul, and captain (pictured, right) Jo Holt’s rising 20-yard free kick only just cleared the bar with the Denton keeper well beaten.
Denton had chances of their own, their speedy forwards testing the Burnley backline.
After 30 minutes, their striker broke clear and was only thwarted by an outstanding save from Burnley’s young keeper Aimee Smith, who raced from her line to block bravely at the forward’s feet.
Five minutes later, Burnley took the lead when Hartley was first to react to a ricochet outside the Denton penalty area, confidently took the ball around the advancing keeper, and slotted it into the goal.
Hartley almost immediately added a second, evading three desperate challenges as she weaved her way through bamboozled defenders, only for her goal-bound strike to be blocked.
Burnley doubled their advantage on 40 minutes with a goal that would grace any stage.
The mercurial Holt intercepted a ball on the halfway line and ran at the Denton defence, playing a slick one-two with Cooper, before drilling an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.
In the final moments of the first period Burnley had a let-off when the Denton centre-forward evaded a lineman’s flag, broke through the centre of the Burnley defence, and hit a rising drive that clipped the Burnley bar.
In the second half Denton pressed to get back in the game and succeeded in putting the Burnley goal under intense pressure.
But athletic defending from youngsters Clough, Olivia Waddington and Becca Sidley, expertly marshalled by star-performer Holt, maintained Burnley’s two-goal advantage until the 80th minute when Denton netted following a goal-mouth scramble.
In the closing minutes of the game teenagers Jade Brindle and Katy O’Hara entered the fray to inject some further energy and to enable the lady Clarets to hold on for a hard-earned three points.
On Sunday, Burnley Ladies travel to take on Wigan Athletic Ladies.
Final Score: Burnley Ladies 2, Denton Ladies 1