Brighouse Town LFC v Burnley FC Women
FA WNL Division 1 North
Yorkshire Payments Stadium, Brighouse
Sunday 24th March 2019
Burnley FC Women’s promotion hopes took another step forward despite a 0-0 draw against title chasers Brighouse Town Ladies. The Clarets still have a six-point advantage and game in hand over second place and in form Chester le Street Town Ladies with five games remaining.
A fierce game was anticipated and so the brisk start was not a surprise. Brighouse tried to make the first impact, but their tough play was penalised by the referee.
Leah Embley had an early chance for the Clarets when Sarah Greenhalgh launched a long cross to pick her out at the far post. The ball bounced a fraction out of her reach and out for a goal kick.
A Brighouse shot from distance deceived the Clarets keeper Lauren Bracewell, but she smothered the ball at the second attempt before pouncing strikers could capitalise. Shortly afterwards another long range shot from Brighouse’s Emma Pilling was well collected by Bracewell whose subsequent performance earned her the player of the match award.
Both teams pressed for an opening though the bobbly pitch and a strong bitter wind hindered some movements. The Clarets won a couple of corners and forced some reactive defending from the home team as they tried to shoot through at goal from the edge of the box. Brighouse replied with a well-placed free kick and a subsequent shot at goal where Bracewell read the situation and calmly caught the ball at the far post.
Burnley were not making good use of their chances. Two free kicks in forward positions were wasted and the attacks lacked penetration as Brighouse defended well. It was Brighouse who had the best chance on the half hour mark when a well weighted cross pitched towards prolific scorer Charlotte Proud. She headed at goal from close range and forced a superb reflex save from Bracewell who tipped over the bar.
The Clarets continued to soak up pressure from the home team and Bracewell further earned her player of the match status when Charlotte Proud challenged her on a run into the box, but Bracewell was first to intercept. Charlotte Proud’s frustration continued when in a tousle with defender Dani Cooper she saw an opening for a shot on goal, which she subsequently sliced wide.
The Clarets were pleased to hear the half time whistle and have a chance to regroup though it was Brighouse who made the first attempt after the restart with a shot from the corner of the box that lifted above the bar.
Burnley FC Women made good use of the goal kick as the ball was quickly passed upfield. Lynette Craig played a high ball forward to Greenhalgh who closed in on the Brighouse goal. As the ball bounced, she attempted to lob the keeper who was trying to intercept on the 18-yard line. The ball ran wide of the upright to the relief of the home side.
The Clarets defended well as Brighouse looked to re-establish the balance of the game but soon the Clarets had another great chance when Greenhalgh slotted a ball through the home team’s defence to Lizzy Hamer who was unmarked. Hamer shot from an angle only to see the keeper dive and save her effort.
Action at both ends continued. Burnley played a free kick across goal which was just too high for Sammy Fleck to head at the far post and Brighouse saw a similar cross go unchallenged and pass just wide of the Clarets goal.
A header from a Brighouse corner was easily caught by Bracewell as were a couple of shots from distance. The Clarets last good chance was in the final moments of the game when Greenhalgh weaved through on the right but her hasty shot was off target.
Next up on Sunday 31st March, Burnley FC Women face Barnsley FC Ladies at Padiham FC’s Ruby Civic Arena. Kick-off is 2pm.
Photos credited to Keith Hamer.