Lady Clarets see off derby rivals

On target: Katie Pollard scored Burnley Ladies' second goal against Preston North End
On target: Katie Pollard scored Burnley Ladies' second goal against Preston North End

Burnley Ladies maintained their excellent start to the season with a 3-0 triumph over Lancashire rivals Preston North End.

The lady Clarets were dominant in the opening stages and they thought they had scored within three minutes when Jade Brindle headed in Em Forrest’s cross, but the goal was disallowed for off-side.

Chances for Burnley Ladies came and went.

The elusive Kelly Dean darted to the bye-line and whipped in a ball that found the head of striker Katie Pollard, but her effort was saved by the Preston keeper.

Burnley almost opened the scoring after 25 minutes when a penetrating run into the Preston penalty area by full back Becca Sidley allowed Dean to drill a cross along the six-yard line that Pollard was inches from converting.

The energetic Jo Rohman then raided down the left flank and created a chance for Forrest, but the central midfielder’s shot faded narrowly wide.

However, after 30 minutes Burnley deservedly took the lead with a goal of the highest quality as Aimee Smith’s cross found Kelly Dean on the edge of the penalty area.

In one elegant movement, Dean controlled the ball and struck a volley which rocketed into the net off the bar.

The goal seemed to ignite Preston and they fought back, piling on the pressure.

But the central defensive partnership of veteran Jo Holt and the youthful Molly Farrell kept Preston out, and on the one occasion Preston did pierce the Burnley backline, keeper Sophie Valentine made a fine save.

Burnley doubled their lead on 35 minutes through Pollard, who slotted the ball past the Preston keeper from Danni Cooper’s pass.

Burnley Ladies could have been 4-0 up at half-time, but another disallowed goal for a push on the defender meant the lady Clarets went into the break 2-0 up.

The second half was a much more even affair, with chances for both sides.

Holt twice blocked goalbound efforts after the Preston striker rounded Valentine, but in the last few minutes of the game, substitute Laura Hesketh caught hold of a Brindle ball and netted from seven yards.

It has been a fine start to the campaign, with the side yet to concede a goal.

Burnley Ladies are looking very strong, and with maximum points from the opening two games in the North West Women’s Premier League.