Burnley FC Women’s great start to season continues

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Victory against Middlesbrough at Billingham Town left Burnley FC Women with an impressive 10 points from 12 as they adapt well to life in the FA WNL Premier Division North.

Both teams had good chances throughout, but the Clarets built up a 3-0 advantage that was almost overturned when Middlesbrough staged a late comeback.

Manager Matt Bee drafted in Leanne Prescott for her debut, and the Clarets made a good start.

An early effort troubled the Middlesbrough defence and a shot by Sarah Greenhalgh ricocheted off the bar.

The Clarets suffered a scare when a shot tested keeper Lauren Bracewell, who saved down at her right post.

Further attacks forced the Clarets defence into goal-mouth blocks, while a few shots flew wide of the goal.

An attack on the home goal by Greenhalgh, won a corner.

It was launched to the near post, where Lizzy Hamer headed at goal and hit the bar, but Levi Rathburnfired the rebound into the net.

Before the break, Kenedy Owen struck a free kick, forcing the home keeper to tip over the bar.

A spirited start in the second period by Middlesbrough had the Clarets on the back foot. A goal was disallowed when the officials spotted the scorer off-side, and a shot skimmed the crossbar.

An awkward bounce of the ball that hit the arm of Prescott saw the referee point to the spot, but Bracewell read the mind of the taker and stayed upright to collect the spot kick in her arms.

The Clarets regrouped, and Greenhalgh forced a block by the keeper, before Owen intercepted and threaded the ball through to Greenhalgh, who was cut down just outside the box.

Owen stepped up for the kick, neatly shooting under the defensive wall as they jumped, to score the Clarets’ second goal.

The home side were being frustrated and started shooting from distance.

Bracewell was not troubled but then a goal-mouth shot resulting from a corner saw Bracewell well positioned to save.

Owen was on hand again to interplay with Greenhalgh, and her fine pass through set Greenhalgh on goal, shooting past the keeper.

Hamer was unfortunate to see her hard shot hit the crossbar, and with less than seven minutes remaining, it seemed the Clarets would easily see out the game.

But a raid down their right wing and a superb shot by winger Tyler Dodds clawed a goal back.

The home side continued to pressure the Clarets’ goal, but a breakout almost extended the lead as Evie Priestley saw her shot hit the post in injury time.

Middlesbrough exploited the rebound and quickly broke upfield.

A long ball to Dodds saw her cut through the defence again to score, but Burnley held on to win 3-2.

After four league games, Burnley FC Women are in third position in the FA Women’s National League Premier North.

The teams above have only a better goal difference.

On Sunday, Burnley FC Women play Hindley Juniors in the preliminary round of the Lancashire FA Women’s Challenge Cup. Kick-off is 2pm at Padiham FC’s Ruby Civil Arena.