Burnley FC Women lift LFA Challenge Cup

Burnley FC Women beat AFC Fylde 4-1 to win the Lancashire FA Women’s Challenge Cup in style at the County Ground in Leyland on Wednesday night.
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Lifting the regional trophy for the first time, the Clarets claimed the silverware with goals from Evie Priestley (2), Millie Ravening and Courtney Willis.

Bolstered by a good number of supporters who had made the trip across Lancashire to Leyland, the Clarets named an unchanged side from the defeat at Brighouse Town a week ago.

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Having missed out on playing in the final in 2019/20 due to the COVID pandemic, Burnley wasted no time in stamping their authority against the Coasters, scoring after just four minutes through Priestley.

Slipped in on goal by Nic Worthington, striker Priestley fired into the bottom corner to hand the Clarets an early lead.

And on 17 minutes, teammate midfielder Millie Ravening doubled their advantage with another trademark spectacular strike.

The midfielder - who also scored against Fleetwood Town Wrens Ladies at the semi-final stage earlier this month - curled into the back of the net from the edge of the box to make it 2-0.

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Soon after though, Fylde’s Amy Hughes was played in over the top to halve the deficit with a volley which dipped over Clarets goalkeeper – and captain – Lauren Bracewell.

Burnley then came close again twice in quick succession through Worthington, who fired over before seeing a powerful free kick well held, with Bracewell also in action at the other end before the opening 45 minutes was out, to keep hold of a dangerous cross.

Bracewell also stopped an effort from Fylde’s Faye McCoy, while Willis saw an effort go over leaning back at close range.

In the second half, the Coasters came out quickest and could’ve been level after just 13 seconds with Hughes played in over the

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top again, but Bracewell came out on top in that battle this time around.

Burnley regained control of the contest, and on 56 minutes got the goal which pulled them away from their opponents for good.

Priestley worked her way into the area and brought a good save out of Fyld Ellie Etheridge, but Willis was on hand to tap home the rebound from a matter of yards out.

Clarets captain Bracewell then kept out a powerful strike from Jess Holbrook, before Priestley put the icing on the top of the cake for Burnley with her second of the evening and the team’s fourth.

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Picking up the second ball from a free kick inside the area, the striker – who netted a hat trick in the semi-final win over Fleetwood – curled one in off the far post, and eased any remaining nerves.

It could’ve been five into five minutes of time added on as Willis broke forward and hit a shot over the bar, but the referee’s final whistle brought an end to a memorable night for all involved with the Clarets women.

Burnley FC Women are next in FA Women’s National League North action on Sunday when they welcome Stoke City Women to the County Ground for a 2 p.m. kick-off. Entry is free to all.