Rachael’s treble helps Lady Clarets start season in style

Hat-trick hero Rachael Wood with the matchball
Hat-trick hero Rachael Wood with the matchball
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A hat trick within the opening 25 minutes from flying winger, Rachael Wood eased Burnley Ladies to a convincing 3-0 victory in their opening match of the season against Northwich Vixens.

The lady Clarets were in the ascendancy from the outset, with the sublime Kelly Dean controlling the central midfield.

The Burnley strikers Jade Brindle and Katie Pollard, each had early chances but were denied by a combination of agile keeping and desperate defending.

Burnley opened the scoring on 15 minutes when Wood latched onto a diagonal ball from Dean and rifled a left-foot shot low into the net from a narrow angle.

It was 2-0 five minutes later when Wood out-paced the Northwich defence down the left flank and finished smartly.

A perfectly-weighted pass from Dean then allowed Wood to race through the centre of the Northwich backline and she showed great composure to slip the ball past the keeper to complete her hat-trick.

On the occasions when Northwich threatened the Burnley goal, they were repelled by a defence superbly marshalled by skipper Jo Holt and the safe hands of keeper Sophie Valentine.

Burnley had opportunities to extend their lead before half-time. Dean chipped onto the roof of the net, the tireless Charlotte Hartley unleashed a thunderous drive that crashed against the bar, and Brindle hit the outside of the post following a goalmouth scramble.

Northwich showed courage in the second half as they fought to get back in the game but the Burnley backline held firm and limited their opponents to long range efforts.

In the late stages of the game Wood almost bagged a fourth goal but the agile Northwich keeper tipped her shot over the bar.

Holt almost scored an early contender for goal of the season, but her jinking run was thwarted on the edge of the six-yard box.

So Burnley Ladies opened their season in the North West Women’s Premier League with an impressive performance that augurs well for the rest of the campaign.

With a balance of experience and youth, a first-rate work ethic, and strong team cohesion, hopes are high for a top-half finish.

The next game for Burnley Ladies is this afternoon at the UCLAN Sports Arena against Preston North End Ladies, kick-off 2 p.m.