Burnley Ladies maintained their surge towards the top of the North West Women’s Regional League Premier Division with a 2-1 victory at Preston North End.
On a rutted pitch, the lady Clarets dominated for long periods but failed to turn their supremacy into a glut of goals.
Burnley attacked from the outset, and in the 10th minute, midfielder Jo Rohman’s pass found Hayton but the striker’s shot was blocked by the keeper’s feet.
Skipper Jo Holt threaded a ball through the defence for flying winger Becca Sidley, but her strike was deflected into the side netting.
The lady Clarets deservedly grabbed the lead in the 15th minute. A short corner by the wily Justine Wallace set up Holt for a thunderous drive. The Preston stopper saved superbly, but Sidley was on hand to fire home the rebound.
Mollie Farrell then arrowed a superb cross into the Preston area and Sidley was inches away from her second.
In the second half, Burnley continued in the ascendancy. The creative Em Forrest released Sidley but her right-foot strike hit a defender and flew over, and the persistent Becky Hayton dispossessed a defender but her rising drive was well saved.
On the occasions that Preston counterattacked, Holt and Leah Hart stood firm.
Burnley doubled their lead in the 70th minute, a clever flick from Wallace allowing Hayton to race clear and coolly slot past the keeper.
In the last quarter of the game, the Clarets passed the ball around with confidence and created further chances.
A long-range effort from Holt flew wide and a cross from Wallace was met by the head of Katie Pollard only for the Preston stopper to pull off another fine save.
In the dying moments, Preston scored a consolation goal, but, following four league wins on the bounce, and with matches remaining against the teams above them, Burnley are in with an outside chance of the title.
• The Burnley FC Ladies Development team achieved a significant step towards the league title when beat leaders Blackburn Community 5-3.
The returning Grace Bullock equalised after Blackburn had opened the scoring, only for Blackburn to regain the lead.
Katy O’Hara again levelled matters with a cool lob, and though Burnley again fell behind early in the second half, two more goals from Bullock and one from Simone Keating sealed victory.