Lady Clarets climb up the table after convincing win over Preston

Star performer: Natalie Bell. Photo: Jenny Morton
Star performer: Natalie Bell. Photo: Jenny Morton
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Burnley Ladies moved joint third in the North West Women’s Premier League after coasting to a 4-1 victory over a depleted Preston North End.

The lady Clarets started strongly and almost opened the scoring in the third minute when a cross-shot from Sarah Greenhalgh drifted narrowly over the angle.

Two minutes later, a superb right-footed drive from striker Becky Hayton arrowed into the top corner of the net.

Burnley doubled their advantage in the 20th minute, Hayton coolly bagging her second goal from the penalty spot after Natalie Bell was fouled.

The Clarets made it 3 – 0 in the 35th minute when an in-swinging corner from star performer Bell was headed home at the far post by Greenhalgh.

Burnley came close to extending their lead before the interval, another Greenhalgh header deflecting off the post, and a 20-yard drive from impressive midfielder Emily Wilkinson drew a fine save.

Burnley lost their way, and on the hour Preston reduced the deficit with a breakaway goal, but the lady Clarets regained the initiative and an incredible double save thwarted Claire Pearson and Jane Sexton.

A precise pass from Wilkinson set Jo Rohman free on goal, but the keeper advanced from her goal to block.

In the 90th minute, persistence from Rohman allowed Sexton to latch on to a rebound to lash home from six yards.

On Sunday Burnley travel to face Blackburn Community.

The Under 12s beat Fillies 3-1 with goals from Grace Mills, Megan Horan and Kerry.

The Under 13s had a hard-fought goalless draw at closest rivals, Euxton Girls, with Libby Bleasdale player of the match.

The Under 14s beat Town Green 1-0, and there were defeats for the Under 11s and 16s.