Burnley FC Women v Newcastle United Women FC
FA WNL Division 1 North
The Arbories, Ruby Civil Arena – Padiham FC
Sunday 28th April 2019
In their penultimate game of the season, Burnley FC Women had a 2-0 lead at the half time break and looked likely to increase the advantage further in the second half. However, soon after the restart a resurgent Newcastle changed the face of the game and pulled a goal back. The Clarets found themselves digging deep to see out the game and grab another three points to add to their impressive top of the table tally.
The game got underway with the Clarets playing down the slope which is often advantageous. Newcastle were struggling to work out from the back and were losing possession to the spirited Clarets in midfield but were strongly defending the final third. Leah Embley created the best early chances from runs down the right wing and well weighted crosses into the Newcastle box that slipped though harmlessly.
On fourteen minutes Lizzy Hamer snatched a Newcastle pass and flicked through to Sarah Greenhalgh who clipped the ball over the bar as the visitor’s keeper Grace Donnelley closed her down on 18 yards. Greenhalgh then set Hamer on a goal bound run when she headed on to her. Again, Donnelley closed down and saved with her feet having dived the wrong way.
More chances followed for the Clarets, a Vikki Eastwood drive to the bye line and cross was met close to the near post by Evie Priestley. Her one touch flick at goal flipped over the bar.
Newcastle made a rare attack and had a penalty claim waved away as Striker Imogen Longcake tried to cross from the edge of the box where Eastwood was defending. The cross hit her arm from close range but was not penalised.
The Clarets continued to be frustrated as they attacked the Newcastle goal. Greenhalgh ran from 40 yards pursued by a defender who managed to tip the ball to safety and later Greenhalgh from a good position inside the box struck wide.
A well worked move between Embley and Greenhalgh on the wing and feed through to Evie Priestley finally broke the deadlock. Priestley collected in front of goal and calmly dribbled round Donnelley before slotting the ball home.
Soon after Embley came close when she intercepted a pass and ran at goal where the advancing Donnelley deflected her shot with her out stretched legs. Embley drilled the resulting corner in low and the ball pinged around in the box before a clever back heel by Hamer gave the Clarets their second goal just before the break.
In the second half the Clarets were quickly on the offensive and could have increased the score when Justine Wallace intercepted a goal kick on half way and neatly passed through to Greenhalgh who broke through on goal but shot wide as the goalkeeper Donnelley closed in on her.
The Clarets had further chances, notably a header from Priestley that was over the bar, but Newcastle were working hard and starting to make an impact on the Clarets defence as they now took the advantage of the slope.
Winger Rebecca Olley and striker Ellen Turnbill worked the Clarets defence before prolific scorer Stephanie Ord who came on as a substitute, struck past Clarets Keeper Lauren Bracewell when she received in front of goal. 2-1
The Clarets found themselves defending again and within a minute a goal mouth scramble almost resulted in a second goal for Ord when she struck but Bracewell blocked with her body. The Clarets remained under pressure and Turnbill was next running at goal, though Bracewell covered her approach and she was diverted wide and shot into the side netting.
Newcastle continued to press, and a couple of shots rained in from distance but fell harmlessly beyond the goal. In one final effort Ord found space and ran at goal but shot wide as she was closed down by Clarets Captain Jo Holt.
With 15 minutes remaining the Clarets managed to tighten their grip on the game and restore the balance. Dani Cooper and Embley worked hard on the right wing and from a corner Priestley appeared to be tripped in the area, but again the referee waved the game on.
In the final minutes Bracewell was called into action to make a clearance outside her area and Embley continued to trouble the visitors defence with the best chance being a dangerous pass across the front of goal that travelled through the crowded goal mouth harmlessly.
Next Sunday Burnley FC Women play their final game of the season against Chorley FC Women at Padiham FC’s Ruby Civil Arena. Kick-off 2pm, adults £2 and it’s free for under 16s.
After the game FA Women’s National League representative Amanda Cummings will present the Division One North League Trophy and medals to the Burnley players. All support in joining in the celebrations is much welcome!
Photos credited to Keith Hamer Photography.