Burnley FC Women travelled to the Loughborough University Stadium on Sunday for their first FA WNL Premier Division North game in almost a month, and notched up a 2-0 win.
The goals, scored in the 37th minute of each half by Sarah Greenhalgh and Evie Priestley, sealed the win and kept the Clarets in a strong league position ahead of a decisive encounter with Huddersfield Town Women on Wednesday evening.
Early on the Clarets were lacking accuracy in their passing and over hit forward balls, while Loughborough were at ease passing the ball around and causing Burnley frustration as they gained corners and free kicks in the Clarets defensive third.
The Clarets could have nicked an early goal when they quickly broke forward and Priestley received in front of goal from Greenhalgh, but a quick challenging defender shouldered her off the ball.
Another chance went amiss when Lizzy Hamer collected a cross on the edge of the 18-yard box from a Levi Rathburn drive down the wing. Hamer’s shot was well struck but narrowly wide of the top corner.
The tide turned back in favour of the home side as Loughborough got back on the offensive.
A pass on the edge of the Clarets area located striker Charlotte Cooper, who shot and hit the post, she then collected the rebound and stuck again but watched the ball loop over the bar.
The pressure was maintained, and the Clarets had to defend further corners and crosses.
On the half hour mark a Greenhalgh counter attack and pass across goal was intercepted by a defender before Hamer could slot home, and the ball was bungled out for a corner as Greenhalgh challenged to regain possession.
The Clarets were now looking threatening and soon Priestley hit the side netting from a Hamer pass through the defence.
Hamer was again the provider when she played a smart ball over the defensive line to allow Greenhalgh to sprint forward and then across the goal mouth. She beat the keeper before shooting between two defenders and into the net.
Shortly before the break, Loughborough almost equalised when a ball across the goal deflected awkwardly.
Keeper Lauren Bracewell tried to dive to smother it, but a striker intercepted and shot.
Bracewell managed to block it with her legs and the ball was deflected wide.
There was a frantic start to the second half, Greenhalgh struck the ball into the net but the linesman spotted an off-side infringement.
The Clarets maintained the momentum and both Greenhalgh and Rathburn had solo efforts snuffed out as they ran in on goal.
Greenhalgh, in another effort, challenged the keeper and pushed the ball wide of her, but miskicked her shot and the ball was cleared.
Greenhalgh was close again seconds later when Hamer threaded a ball through, but this time the keeper blocked her shot.
Loughborough had a couple of chances when a corner and later a free kick passed dangerously across the Clarets goal, but most of the pressure was on their goal.
Rathburn, Greenhalgh and youngster Leanne Prescott all had further chances as they ran in on goal.
Priestley rounded off the scoring when she drilled home a shot after the ball pinballed around in the box following a corner late in the half.
Burnley FC Women play Huddersfield Town Women on Wednesday evening at Shelley FC’s ground in Huddersfield.
Kick-off is 7:45pm and entrance is £5.