Greenhalgh heads winner to put Burnley on brink of the title
Burnley FC Women only need a point to win the league and secure promotion to the FA Women’s National League North after a dramatic victory on Sunday.
The Division 1 North leaders travelled to Slyne with Hest in Lancaster to face a Morecambe team battling for league survival.
Morecambe Ladies have been gaining better results of late and they made a heroic effort in the game, but the final twist of fate was in favour of Burnley, who took all three points in a nervy 3-2 win.
Two goals from Sarah Greenhalgh and another from Lizzy Hamer restored the Clarets nine-point advantage over title chasers Chester-le-Street Town.
Both teams have three games remaining, so a single point is enough to seal a remarkable back to back promotion for the Clarets and lift them into the FA Women’s National League North.
The Clarets tried to command the game in the early stages, but Morecambe had other ideas as they quickly mounted an attack through an interception, and then a superb 22-yard shot by Jess Tait dipped under the bar and beat keeper Lauren Bracewell to make it 1-0.
Bracewell took a long kick and set Greenhalgh off towards goal, where she shot slightly high, and then Morecambe attacked down the right, forcing Bracewell into a blocking save, and later down the middle, with Melissa Brown forcing another stop.
Morecambe continued to exert pressure, and the Clarets were penned in for a time.
The Clarets responded as Emily Wilkinson headed a corner narrowly over.
Further Clarets attacks saw Leah Embley shoot over, and Greenhalgh shoot from an angle, forcing the Morecambe keeper into a fine diving save.
Both Danni Cooper and Embley tried their luck with shots, but then a Hamer shot allowed Greenhalgh to slide in to intercept and push the ball into the net to level the game.
The Clarets had further chances when Greenhalgh attacked at goal and Sammy Fleck’s header from a corner was hacked over by a defender.
Morecambe got back into the game late in the half. A cross hit the arm of Embley, and the referee waved play on, despite the shouts of the hosts.
In the second half, Greenhalgh skipped though on goal and shot over with only the keeper to beat, and then an interception by Justine Wallace on halfway and a nicely-controlled pass set Greenhalgh on another run at goal.
She shot from a wide angle, forcing the keeper into a tremendous diving save. The ball ran loose, where Cooper pounced, but she was met by the defender just managed to divert the ball clear.
Then Morecambe took the initiative, striker Yasmin Swarbrick forcing Bracewell into a super diving save.
Another corner followed, and Bracewell managed to tip the ball away from the top corner after a goal mouth melee.
The Clarets had better fortune when back on the offensive. A back-heel pass from Greenhalgh to Hamer allowed her to weave through and float a shot into the top corner from the edge of the 18-yard box.
The Clarets’ lead was short lived as Burnley defender Sammy Fleck challenged Swarbrick, and an awkward bounce saw the ball hit her out-stretched arm, and the referee awarded a penalty that was neatly despatched by Swarbrick.
Both teams were hungry for the full three points, and defender Vikki Eastwood ran to the byeline and crossed to the far post, where Greenhalgh headed in to win it.
On Sunday, Burnley will hope to seal promotion when they play Crewe Alexandra LFC at the Cumbria Arena sports ground, kick-off 2 p.m.