Successive defeats end Lady Clarets’ hopes

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SONY DSC

Two successive defeats effectively ended Burnley FC Ladies’ challenge for runner-up spot in the North West Women’s Regional Premier League.

In midweek, the lady Clarets travelled to neighbours Accrington, and, despite gaining an early lead, suffered a 2-1 reverse

In atrocious conditions, on an artificial surface, Burnley started strongly and opened the scoring in the 5th minute with a rising 25-yard drive from Sarah Greenhalgh that nestled into the far corner.

The Clarets almost extended their lead shortly after when an inswinging corner from Natalie Bell led to a frantic scramble in the area.

Accrington equalised against the run of play midway through the first period when a cross from the left flank drifted to the far post, where it was dispatched from close range.

Burnley responded positively and carved out a series of chances prior to the break.

Superb midfield play by Greenhalgh sprung Simone Keating through the centre of the defence, only for the keeper to tip her effort around the post.

A dipping strike from skipper Jo Holt cleared the bar, and Greenhalgh drew a further athletic save from the Accrington stopper with a left-foot shot from the edge of the area.

And the hosts had their keeper to thank again when she ably collected an effort from winger Liz Hamer.

But Burnley lost their momentum in the second half, and it was no surprise when Accrington gained the lead on the hour following a mix up in defence.

Burnley rallied in the dying minutes of the game, with both Greenhalgh and Becky Hayton coming close, but they could not find an equaliser.

On Sunday Wigan Athletic were their hosts, and on this occasion the lady Clarets suffered a 3-2 defeat.

Burnley again started the match in the ascendancy, a superb diagonal ball from Justine Wallace creating a chance for Hamer, but her rising drive cleared the bar.

At the other end, keeper Sophie Valentine dived bravely at the feet of the Wigan striker, and smart tacking from full back Holly Hunter kept the Wigan forwards at bay.

Wigan opened the scoring in the 20th minute after Burnley lost possession on the edge of their own area.

Burnley responded immediately, a 20-yard free kick from Wallace finding the top-right corner to level at 1-1.

The lady Clarets gained the lead on the half hour when Hayton met a Wallace cross to head home from 10 yards.

Burnley almost extended their lead just before the interval, another Hayton header striking the top of the bar.

In the 60th minute, a misunderstanding between keeper and defender gifted Wigan an equaliser, and Wigan scrambled a winner in the 80th minute and held on to their lead, despite a late flurry of attacks from Hamer.

Burnley Ladies will be seeking to end a dire run of results on April 20th when they visit Blackburn Community at Harrisons Playing Fields,