Greenhalgh on target on her return as Burnley FC Women win at Stoke City

Sarah Greenhalgh scored on her return to Burnley FC Women as the Clarets bounced back from last weekend's defeat to West Brom with a win at Stoke City Women.
Millie RaveningMillie Ravening
Millie Ravening

The visitors were in good spirits on arrival, having re-signed their top goal scorer from both the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons on a dual registration with AFC Darwen Ladies.

Greenhalgh went straight into the starting line-up in place of the injured Courtney Willis.

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In very blustery Staffordshire conditions, both sides settled into the game in the early stages, as they gauged the flight of the ball in the windy weather.

Sarah Greenhalgh celebrates her goalSarah Greenhalgh celebrates her goal
Sarah Greenhalgh celebrates her goal

Burnley enjoyed close chances in the opening stages. Evie Priestley found herself through on goal but her shot dragged just wide of the post.

Greenhalgh was also proving a handful. She connected well to a Dom Cooper cross, but her header travelled over the bar.

Shortly after the half hour mark, a lengthy break in play due to an injury to an official saw Holder come close to opening the scoring for Stoke as her effort hit the bar.

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In the second-half Burnley came out fighting and were quick out of the blocks.

In the 50th minute, Lizzy Hamer pressured the Stoke defenders and managed to find Greenhalgh, whose shot was saved, but Katie Thomas was quick to react and followed up with the rebound.

Only two minutes later play switched to the other end as Hall's header hit the woodwork.

The action continued when the visitors doubled their lead when a positive run forward by Dom Cooper saw Priestley and Greenhalgh linking up well, the former finding the latter to fire home tomake it 2-0.

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Stoke reacted positively and enjoyed lots of possession but couldn't break through Burnley, who defended confidently.

Nicola Worthington and Millie Ravening drove the visitors forward, while defenders Sammy Fleck, Olivia Wilson and Dani Cooper were alert in the box, minimising any Stoke chances.

The home side made three substitutions and forced some saves out of Clarets keeper Lauren Bracewell, including one at her inside post to maintain a clean sheet.

Manager, Matt Bee said: "We came here with a complete focus on getting three points.

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“You have to be effective in this league every week, and in the first half it was a tight game where we just needed a little more of an edge in the final third. We created some good opportunities in transition and were the final pass away from creating big chances.

“We changed shape at half-time and I thought we completely dominated the second 45 minutes. We looked in control without the ball, held our shape well, looked a threat in possession and mixed our play up.

“It’s a big three points and credit to all the players for applying the training work into the game. We need to work again this week with a clear focus and application.”

Burnley FC Women are in action in the Women’s FA Cup on Sunday in the First Round Proper.

They face Durham Cestria at Lancashire FA’s County Ground, kick-off at noon.