Burnley FC Women run riot at West Brom
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Millie Ravening hit a hat-trick, while the strike duo of Evie Priestley and Sarah Greenhalgh scored a goal each as the Clarets went in 4-0 up at the break.
Olivia Wilson, Nic Worthington, Lizzy Hamer all also got themselves onto the scoresheet at Sutton Coldfield Town FC’s Central Ground, with the Claret Women maintaining their impressive record of just one defeat since the turn of the calendar year.
Burnley’s starting XI remained unchanged from last week’s goalless draw at Huddersfield Town Women, with Hollie Kelsh replacing Mel Brown on the bench in the only amendment to the squad.
On the hunt for some retribution after October’s 4-3 defeat in the reverse league fixture, Burnley took just three minutes to hit the front through Ravening.
Hamer slipped the midfielder in on goal, and she duly obliged with a composed finish.
Just three minutes later, Ravening had her and the team’s second – a trademark strike from outside the box, albeit not in the usual manner.
Dom Cooper worked a corner out to Ravening, who put the ball back into the area, but it evaded everyone and bounced into the bottom corner.
Courtney Willis also came close with a poke at goal which was held by West Brom goalkeeper Maisie Thompson, before a third came on 18 minutes, Priestley the scorer this time.
Good work from Ravening on the left edge of the box won the ball back, and as it bounced up to Greenhalgh, the forward hooked it back into the middle for strike partner Priestley to head home.
Hosts West Brom then came back into the game, and captain Lauren Bracewell had to deny Shannon Stamps twice in quick succession.
First came a mightily impressive stop to claw out a powerful header, as Kerry Walklett hit the follow-up over the crossbar, before Stamps also took aim from range with a free kick which Bracewell tipped over.
At the other end, only a last-ditch clearance from Sophie Tudor denied Burnley a fourth.
And after Priestley had been denied by the off-side flag on 32 minutes, the Clarets did get goal number four two minutes prior to the break.
The day after her birthday, Greenhalgh fired into the top corner from inside the box to mark the occasion, having been played in by Priestley following a nice chip over the top from Hamer.
Burnley again continued to dominate at the restart and could’ve added to their lead within 30 seconds as Willis had a shot saved, while before the first minute of the second half was out, Priestley also had a shot blocked in the area.
Bracewell then held a shot from Evie Gallop and saved a penalty from the same opponent on 50 minutes as West Brom’s faint hopes of a comeback faded further.
Worthington went close with a curled effort from 25 yards out before defender Wilson got the first goal of the second half on 59 minutes, curling past Thompson from the left edge of the area.
Midfielder Worthington added a sixth five minutes later, finishing a one-on-one having been fed through with a good ball from Priestley, and on 68 minutes, Hamer got the seventh, tapping in from just a few yards out to make it seven after Willis had seen an initial shot palmed away.
Hannah George had a shot from a free-kick saved for the Baggies before Thomas was introduced from the bench for the Clarets and almost had an instant impact, scoring within a minute of being on the pitch, but seeing it ruled out for off-side.
On 76 minutes though, Burnley did add an eighth as Ravening completed her hat-trick.
Ravening couldn’t miss with Kelsh –on as a substitute – squaring to her in the six-yard box after Burnley had won the ball high up the pitch with some strong pressing.
Priestley had a shot saved by Thompson deep into added time, and that was the very last action of the contest as the Clarets ended 8-0 winners.
Burnley FC Women finish their FA Women’s National League North campaign on Sunday – May 1 – with a 2 p.m. kick-off against Middlesbrough at the County Ground in Leyland.