Despite holding the lead on three occasions, Burnley Ladies crashed out of the Women’s FA Cup when they lost 5-4, after extra time, to the City of Manchester on Sunday.
Burnley gained the lead on the half-hour with an opportunistic goal from Kelly Dean, who demonstrated her technical excellence with a controlled volley from 25 yards after a miscued clearance by the City keeper.
The Mancunians rallied, Burnley’s lead being maintained by a superb save by keeper Sophie Valentine, diving to her right to repel a close-range header.
The Clarets doubled their advantage just prior to the break with a devastating counter-attack. Charlotte Hartley surged down the right wing and her cross was flicked on by Buffell-Geenhalgh into the path of Rachael Wood, the winger’s thunderous left-foot drive from 20 yards crashing off the underside of the crossbar into the net.
Defensive lapses allowed City to gain parity within 15 minutes of the second half.
Inspirational captain Jo Holt urged her team-mates forward and they wrestled back the initiative.
A cross from Wood was headed against the bar by Buffell-Greenhalgh, the same players then reversing roles only for Wood to screw her right-foot shot wide of the post.
Youngster Natalie Bell made her senior team debut from the substitute’s bench and soon influenced the central midfield.
Her precision pass found Greenhalgh-Buffell, who released Wood to race through the centre of the City defence and dispatch her second goal of the game with a composed finish.
But once again Burnley were unable to hold on to their lead, a City equaliser 10 minutes from the end sending the game into extra time.
Wood completed her hat-trick following a jinking run into the City penalty box to put the Clarets into the lead for the third time.
The lady Clarets had the opportunity to make it 5-3 but Geenhalgh-Buffell’s penalty kick was well saved by the keeper.
Shortly afterwards, the Mancunians converted a contentiously awarded spot-kick of their own to level the scores in this topsy-turvy game.
And then won the game with a long range, speculative effort that evaded Burnley keeper Valentine.
Team manager, Mark Wilson, remained philosophical: “The girls battled hard and the match could have gone either way.
“Ssome you win, some you lose.
“We remain unbeaten in the league and we have to dust ourselves off and go again next Sunday.”
On Sunday, Burnley Ladies return to league action when they visit Chester City.