Burnley FC Ladies kicked off the new season with a last-gasp defeat against Tranmere Rovers Ladies at Burnley United’s ground at Barden Athletics Track.
Early on the Lady Clarets were unable to find the fluidity of movement needed to press forward to get within striking range of the Tranmere goal, and were forced back on occasions and had to call on keeper Aimee Smith to deal with back passes when under pressure from the hard working Tranmere strikers.
The first breakthrough came on 18 minutes when the Tranmere striker received the ball on the left and was able to turn inside and slot the ball into the net.
The Clarets responded positively to the one-goal deficit and Lucie Berwick had a long range shot from the left which went just off target, before a corner from Berwick was intercepted by Emilie Forest inside the six-yard box.
She was flanked on both sides by Tranmere defenders but was able to pass to Jo Rohman, who shot over the bar.
Forward runs from defender Becky Sidley, who linked up with strikers Dani Cooper and Forrest, added further pressure, but the Tranmere defenders kept the Clarets at bay.
A free kick was awarded to the Clarets inside the Tranmere half for a foul on Vicky Smith.
The kick was directed to Cooper on the right side of goal, but, under pressure from Tranmere defenders, struck the ball wide.
Close to the end of the half, another move involving Smith and Berwick provided another ball to Cooper on the right hand side, and this time she hit a shot at a tight angle and the keeper was positioned to catch the ball.
A brighter start for the Clarets in the second half meant they were straight on the attack and forced a corner.
Berwick played it short, and the ball was passed to Rohman whose shot was blocked, allowing Tranmere to counter attack, though they were thwarted by centre backs Jo Holt and Leah Morrisey.
On 56 minutes Tranmere won a corner. The ball landed close to the six- yard line, and a Tranmere striker managed to collect the ball and strike it hard, hitting the woodwork much to the Clarets relief.
Within minutes Berwick was able to break down the left wing and turn in a powerful shot.
The Tranmere keeper was unable to hold it, and Cooper was positioned to level the score.
The game opened up, with both teams pushing for another goal.
Cooper came closest in this period with a dipping shot which narrowly flew over the bar.
With 15 minutes remaining, striker Jade Brindle made her debut.
She was straight into action, working with Forrest to win a corner which Berwick launched the ball into the area, and after a scramble the ball was eventually cleared.
After a succession of corners, Tranmere saw a shot tipped over by Smith, but in the final 20 seconds of normal time, a loose ball in midfield was collected by Tranmere, who who played a high ball forward which bounced awkwardly for the Clarets defence andwas picked up by a striker, who slotted the ball past Smith to snatch victory.
Player of the match was awarded to Morrisey.
The Lady Clarets travel to Blackpool Ladies on Sunday.