Burnley FC Women v Nottingham Forest Women FC

Women’s FA Cup Third Round

Padiham FC’s Arbories Ground (Ruby Civil Arena)

Sunday 5th January 2020

Burnley FC Women progressed through to the last 32 of the Women’s FA Cup by grabbing two goals in the later stages of normal time and after going behind in a hard-fought game against a strong Nottingham Forest Women team.

The win breaks a long run of victories for the resurgent Forest side and sees the Clarets into the fourth round of the Women’s FA Cup for the first time ever.

The game opened with both teams trying to gain an early goal. Sarah Greenhalgh attacked at the visitor’s goal and Nottingham Forest player of the match Bolu Fisher at the Clarets end, but the chances were snuffed out.

A long-distance cross passed wide of the Clarets goal and in reply Evie Priestley shot wide of the Forest goal as the game swung from end to end.

The Clarets defended a free kick in an advanced position and likewise Forest intervened when Priestley received a through ball on the edge of the area. Greenhalgh struck a couple of long-distance shots but nothing to trouble the Forest keeper.

Forest closed in to challenge a goal area clearance which they won and crossed in to their centre forward Ellie Casper who was positioned close to the penalty spot. Her swing at the ball was swiftly blocked by Olivia Wilson in the centre of the Clarets defence. Burnley pressed forward at the visitors and their keeper had to collect several crosses into the box.

The final 10 minutes of the half produced a few close chances. First a long run into the Clarets half by Fisher followed by her curling shot had Bracewell beaten, but the ball hit the top corner of the woodwork and was cleared to the relief of the home side. The visitors maintained the pressure with Burnley having to defend a free kick and then Bracewell intercepted a through ball ahead of a striker.

The Clarets came close to snatching a goal when Priestley was on hand to collect a bungled clearance from a Sarah Agger cross. Priestley shot at goal, but the visiting keeper quickly leapt into a great diving save.

Nottingham Forest finished off the half strongly. Bracewell ended a goal mouth scramble by diving and smothering the ball and was soon back in action as she attempted to tip over a close range shot that hit the crossbar. Further Forest attempts forced Bracewell to dive and push a cross away from goal and then intercept a high cross into the box.

The Clarets had a penalty shout waived away when Priestley appeared to be pushed over in the box, but the final effort resulted from the league’s top scorer Precious Hamilton breaking forward at speed and shooting forcing Bracewell into an excellent diving save.

All in all, the Clarets were relieved to be going in at half time with the score line level.

As the second half got underway Forest seemed content to maintain possession but struggled to create strong chances for quite some time. After 15 minutes a long ball floated into the Clarets box and was met by Fisher who failed to connect cleanly and Bracewell collected.

Fisher’s efforts were rewarded shortly afterwards when Forest mounted a concerted attack and Hamilton threaded a pass back from the bye line to Fisher who shot home to open the scoring.

In reply the Clarets were not making much of an impression attacking down the slope, though a Lizzy Hamer effort was blocked in the box before another attack by Forest saw Hamilton work through the Clarets defence and shoot from 18 yards, but the ball passed wide of Bracewell’s post.

Kelly Halligan had a shot saved neatly by the Forest Keeper and soon the Clarets were attacking again. A Lizzy Hamer pass back from the bye line picked out Sarah Agger on the wing. She shot superbly from 25 yards catching the keeper off her line and the ball dropped under the cross bar to make it 1-1.

The Clarets were quickly back under pressure and Mel Brown made a well-timed tackle in the box to prevent a Forest striker running in on goal, but the Burnley side had new determination and were consistently pressing forward and causing problems.

A Forest defender was booked for pulling Greenhalgh back as she was breaking through then a foul on Hamer resulted in a free kick close to the touch line and level with the penalty spot. Nic Worthington stepped up to the kick and drilled the ball low and hard into the crowded box. The ball took a slight deflection off a defender before hitting the back post and passing into the net. The Clarets celebrations were ecstatic.

With several minutes to play Burnley had to dig deep and defend hard, which they did successfully until the final whistle.

The Women’s FA Cup 4th round draw is at 5pm on Monday 6th January and includes all teams from the Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship, alongside the remaining FA Women’s National League teams.

Up next, Burnley FC Women are back in league action on Sunday 12th January, when they travel to Derby County LFC. The game will take place at Mickleover Sports Club, Station Road, Mickleover, Derbyshire, DE3 9FL. Kick-off is 2pm.