FA Women’s National League – Premier North Division
Burnley FC Women v Huddersfield Town FC Women
Padiham FC’s Arbories Memorial Ground (Ruby Civil Arena)
Sunday 27th September 2020
Thomas, in her home debut for Burnley FC Women, scored two goals to cement the win in Sunday’s tough local encounter. The Clarets now have an early season lead over the other teams in the league, as the only team to win both opening games. With fixtures approaching thick and fast, their standing could be short lived as they play some of the giants in the division.
After a goalless first half, in which both teams missed golden chances, the Clarets exploited opportunities in the second half to build a two-goal advantage before a resurgent Huddersfield Town piled on late pressure to pull a goal back in an exciting but tense finish. To add to the visitor’s obvious frustration, they missed a penalty late in stoppage time and had other claims waved away.
From the whistle, Huddersfield were quick to try and use the advantage of the slope as they attacked. Burnley FC Women Keeper, Bracewell, was caught out when she ran to intercept the ball as it approached the byline, but Huddersfield’s Harris got there first with a a cross zipped that across the face of the Clarets goal, beyond the reach of both attackers and defenders. Huddersfield then were awarded a free kick close to the Clarets 18-yard box. The visitors tested Bracewell, but the chance was claimed confidently, ahead of on-rushing attackers.
Burnley FC Women almost took the lead when Hamer’s shot was parried by the visitor’s goalkeeper Davies into the path of Priestley whose shot was blocked by hard defending and cleared. Huddersfield soon had the Clarets pushed back and defending again with a ball fed across the home goal mouth where it ran through without interception.
Thomas was starting to make an impression on the game as she battled hard for each ball, with one duel resulting in Thomas playing the ball to Worthington, who’s shot at goal lacked power and enabled Davies to make a comfortable stop.
Mallin came closest for Town as her dipping strike from 30 yards struck the crossbar. Burnley then hit back with their own best chance of the half; Hamer threaded a ball through for Thomas who rounded the keeper, but recovering defenders blocked her shot.
Thomas further caused problems to the Huddersfield backline, battling hard for possession in wide areas. This enabled her to pick out a cross only for Priestley to head high of the target.
Late first-half pressure from the visitors found Bracewell in great form as she denied every attempt, confirming her player of the match award. First, a shot fired in by Harris was well met by the agile home keeper, then another by Sanderson was saved in the same manor and finally an effort from the resulting corner was tipped over. The final corner fell to Huddersfield’s Marshall who shot wide of the post and the game went to the break 0-0.
Huddersfield resumed play as they had left in the first half but found the resilient Clarets defence hard to beat and limiting them to shots from a distance. A ball played forward saw Bracewell claim well from onrushing Sowerby.
The Clarets took the lead after Priestley smartly intercepted a pass on halfway and fed through to Thomas who made no mistake in shooting to the top corner as Davies tried to close her down. 1-0
Both teams created chances following the goal, however, it was the Clarets who were to capitalise from an attack created by Worthington in midfield and played through Hamer. Rathburn received and unselfishly played across goal, setting up Thomas to fire low and hard past keeper Davies and onrushing defenders to double the advantage. 2-0
Huddersfield responded promptly; a Danby corner found Sanderson who’s firm header beat Bracewell convincingly into the corner. 2-1
The closing stages were full of drama as the visitors tried to pull level. They had two penalty shouts rightly waved away by the referee but got a late chance deep in stoppage time when Thomas handled in her own area. The kick was scuffed wide and the game ended with a fortuitous win for Burnley FC Women.
Final Score: Burnley FC Women 2 – 1 Huddersfield Town FC Women