Burnley FC Women maintain momentum after title win
FA WNL Division 1 North champions Burnley collected another three points on Sunday in their penultimate game of the season.
The Lady Clarets had a 2-0 lead at the half-time break at the Ruby Civil Arena, and looked likely to increase the advantage further in the second half.
However, soon after the restart, a resurgent Newcastle changed the face of the game and pulled a goal back.
Burnley found themselves digging deep to see out the game.
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The game got underway with the Clarets playing down the slope, which is often advantageous.
Newcastle were struggling to work out from the back and were losing possession to the spirited Clarets in midfield, but were strongly defending the final third.
Leah Embley created the best early chances from runs down the right wing, and well-weighted crosses into the Newcastle box.
On 14 minutes, Lizzy Hamer snatched a Newcastle pass and flicked through to Sarah Greenhalgh, who clipped the ball over the bar as the visiting keeper Grace Donnelley closed her down.
Greenhalgh then set Hamer on a goal bound run when she headed on to her.
Again, Donnelley closed down and saved with her feet, having dived the wrong way.
More chances followed for the Clarets – Vikki Eastwood burst to the bye line and her cross was met close to the near post by Evie Priestley. Her flick at goal was flipped over the bar.
Newcastle made a rare attack and had a penalty claim waved away as striker Imogen Longcake tried to cross from the edge of the box, where Eastwood was defending.
The cross hit her arm from close range but was not penalised.
The Clarets continued to be frustrated as they attacked the Newcastle goal.
Greenhalgh, from a good position inside the box, struck wide, before a well-worked move between Embley and Greenhalgh on the wing saw the ball fed through to Priestley, who finally broke the deadlock, calmly dribbling round Donnelley, before slotting the ball home.
Soon after Embley intercepted a pass and ran at goal, where Donnelley deflected her shot with her legs.
Embley drilled the resulting corner in low, and a clever back heel by Hamer gave the Clarets their second goal just before the break.
In the second half, the Clarets were quickly on the offensive and could have increased the score when Justine Wallace intercepted a goal kick on halfway and neatly passed through to Greenhalgh, who broke through on goal but shot wide.
The Clarets had further chances, notably a header from Priestley that was over the bar, but Newcastle were working hard and starting to make an impact on the Clarets defence as they now took the advantage of the slope.
Winger Rebecca Olley and striker Ellen Turnbill worked the Clarets defence before prolific scorer Stephanie Ord, who came on as a substitute, struck past Clarets Keeper Lauren Bracewell.
Within a minute a goal mouth scramble almost resulted in a second goal for Ord, but Bracewell blocked with her body.
Turnbill shot into the side netting as Newcastle continued to press, while Ord fired wide as Burnley held out.
On Sunday, Burnley play their final game of the season against Chorley at Padiham FC’s Ruby Civil Arena, kick-off 2 p.m., adults £2, and free for under 16s.
Following the game, FA Women’s National League representative Amanda Cummings will present the Division One North League Trophy and medals to the Burnley players.