Burnley FC Women's captain Lauren Bracewell the hero in penalty shootout to secure historic Women's FA Cup tie at home to Manchester United
Burnley FC Women captain Lauren Bracewell was the hero as she saved three penalties in the shootout to knock out Sunderland, and earn an historic home tie with WSL Manchester United in the Women's FA Cup.
After a goal-less draw at the Ruby Civil Arena in Padiham, Bracewell denied the Black Cats three times from the spot as the Lady Clarets advanced, and they will now host Casey Stoney's Red Devils in round four - the highest level of opposition Burnley have ever played.
Burnley FC Women Manager, Matt Bee said: “I’m immensely proud of everybody connected with the team.
"We weren’t at our best but we dug in for each other and our togetherness got us through.
“It was a nervous one, I would have preferred us to do it in 90 minutes, it was the same last week as well but I’ll take a win.
"Ultimately for me, for the players, we’re defined by if we win, that’s something that I’ve always instilled in the players over the four, five years that I’ve been here, is to be defined by winning and we found a way to do that.
“Sunday is a huge moment for this club, it shows our progress in such a short space of time, stepping out against a side like Manchester United Women.
"They are having a great season in the Super League so we know the task facing us.
"We have to seize this moment and attack it with no fear.”
Knowing United were the opposition in waiting, early in the game Sunderland were quick to test the Clarets backline, and Abbey Joice got a shot away that Bracewell palmed out for a corner, before Emily Scarr took a shot but Bracewell caught calmly from distance.
In return Evie Priestley shot from a wide position, but the ball passed wide of the far post.
Sunderland continued to press, and the Clarets had a let off when Keira Ramshaw rose up high and headed just wide from a corner.
The tempo was high, and the Clarets breathed another sigh of relief when a free kick on the edge of the area was shot straight at Bracewell.
Burnley picked up and were feeding out from the back mostly through Dani Cooper and Lizzy Hamer, forcing the Sunderland backline to work hard.
Then a long Sunderland cross had Bracewell stretching high to palm out for another corner.
Emily Scarr launched a free kick from distance, causing Bracewell to tip over the bar, then, as the half time whistle edged closer, Ramshaw launched another ball forward, hitting the
Hopes that the break would bring a change of fortune were high in the early stages of the second half.
Megan Dykes, who replaced Chloe Mapp, was working the Sunderland defence and the Clarets started to make an impression by winning several corners, one resulting in a shot
from Melissa Brown that was blocked by a defender.
Bee made another Burnley change with Katie Thomas replacing Priestley.
The game became much tighter as the half progressed, though the visitors remained solid as Burnley made advances.
Sunderland won another free kick, that Bracewell collected with ease, but the pressure was mounting.
A back pass to Bracewell was hastily cleared, but only to a Sunderland player rushing forward, who shot at goal but the attempt went wide.
Burnley however applied plenty of pressure throughout the second half. They won a corner, which was quickly cleared, before Nic Worthington shot hard, but it flew over the bar.
In end to end action, Sunderland responded as Ramshaw teed up a shot, but it went wide.
In another change for the home side, Olivia Greenhalgh made way for Sammy Fleck.
In the closing minutes, Sunderland continued to attack. Scarr shot from a central position, and in added time Joice shot but found the path to goal blocked when the ball deflected for a corner, that the Clarets cleared.
As extra time commenced, the Clarets were soon on the attack, with Thomas working hard in the Sunderland box.
Scarr was quick to find herself in a one on one with Bracewell, who came out on top, but the Clarets defence had to dig in as the pressure continued.
Burnley’s Olivia Wilson came off worse in a tackle and was replaced by Kenedy Owen.
In the last few seconds of the first period, Burnley won a corner, though it was cleared as the referee blew the whistle.
With it all to play for, the Clarets enjoyed some positive play when Hamer crossed to Thomas, but the keeper was well positioned to collect.
A foul on Dykes on the edge of the area resulted in a free kick for the home side, but the kick by Owen floated over the bar.
Cara Bickett and Kerry Hope worked hard all game against strong Sunderland forwards, with Bickett blocking a shot by Sunderland substitute Libbi McInnes.
Following a coming together, Melissa Brown was replaced by Nicola Shirtcliffe, in added on injury time.
Burnley pressed forward but the last effort went to the visitors, who won a corner, that was subsequently cleared.
A penalty shoot out was required to separate the two sides.
Burnley stepped up first with Bickett burying the ball in the net.
Scarr followed for the visitors and hit the ball with power into the bottom left hand corner.
Next up was Burnley forward Thomas, who found the top right corner with her shot.
Jessica Brown was next with a shot that was confidently palmed away by keeper and captain Bracewell.
At 2-1 to Burnley, Worthington’s shot hit the bar.
Grace McCatty stepped up to the spot, but had her penalty saved.
Dykes then fired her effort into the top corner.
At 3-1 Louise Griffiths stepped up, but Bracewell made another fantastic save, to secure the win and a place in the fourth round of the competition.
Burnley: Bracewell, Cooper, Wilson (Owen 96), Brown (Shirtcliffe 117), Bickett, Hope, Worthington, Hamer, Greenhalgh (Fleck 83), Priestley (Thomas 69), Mapp (Dykes 53)
Substitutes: Gibbins, Tobin, Rawstron.