Lady Clarets enjoy mixed fortunes

IT was a week of contrasting fortunes for Burnley Ladies.

In midweek they entertained Preston North End, where they earned their first points of the season with a convincing 2-0 victory.

The lady Clarets opened the scoring after 24 minutes when a penetrating run and cross from captain Jo Holt found the head of striker Vicky Smith, who made no mistake.

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At this stage Burnley controlled the game, and a 25-yard strike from full-back Becky Davies tested the Preston keeper.

But the stopper could not prevent Burnley from doubling their advantage on 36 minutes when neat interplay between Hayley Newham and Smith created a chance for Becca Sidley, who drilled the ball through the keeper into the net from 18 yards.

Preston strived to get back in the game but were thwarted by the composure of left back Olivia Waddington and the searing pace of centre half Leah Morrisey.

On the rare occasions when they succeeded in moving the ball beyond the Burnley backline, keeper Aimee Smith was quickly off her line to clear.

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Burnley almost bagged a third just prior to the break when midfield play-maker Jo Rohman, teed up Newham for a long-range drive that drew a save from the Preston keeper.

At the start of the second period Preston showed more determination and forced a misplaced back pass that was intercepted by the Preston striker; fortunately for Burnley she shot wide.

Burnley immediately retaliated and a wickedly in-swinging corner from Lucie Berwick was almost converted by Rohman.

Clarets substitutes Becky Clough Jade Brindle and Katy O’Hara were introduced into the game midway through the half and all made positive contributions to keep the Clarets in the ascendancy.

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Brindle’s pace and trickery tormented the Preston defence and she was unlucky not to score when, being found by a pass from star performer Newham, her rising drive narrowly missed the angle.

So all-in-all, a convincing victory and welcome three points for the Burnley Ladies.

In stark contrast, four days later the Clarets crashed to an 8-0 defeat when they visited title favourites Blackpool.

Against a fluent, well-organised Tangerine outfit, Burnley competed well during the first half.

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Vicky Smith thumped a rising 25-yard free kick just over the bar, Danielle Cooper caused problems for the Blackpool defence down the right flank with her pace and trickery, and a cross from Smith was sliced narrowly wide by winger Lucie Berwick.

Trailing 1-0 at the break, the decisive moment of the game came on 55 minutes.

A mazy run by Cooper from inside her own half led to her fizzing in a wicked cross from the right that narrowly eluded the Burnley strikers.

Blackpool immediately counter-attacked and made it 2-0.

From this point, the Claret capitulated with a dominant Blackpool outfit scoring six in the last half-hour of the game.