Huddersfield Town Women v Burnley FC Women
FA WNL Premier Division North
Stafflex Arena – Shelley FC
Wednesday 9th October 2019
A commanding first half performance gave Burnley FC Women the edge needed to see out a 3-2 win over high flying Huddersfield Town Women.
The Clarets Women now occupy second place in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division, a position that was not considered plausible following a busy summer of recruitment, development and as the newly promoted addition to the league.
In the early stages of the game both teams tested the opponents defence and found multiple players stepping in to repel the threats. Levi Rathburn was able to break forward with speed but was met by a similar fast paced defender who slid in to clear the ball.
Ex Claret Leah Embley came close to inflicting damage on her old club when she attacked at Goalkeeper Lauren Bracewell’s right post and forced a save, the ball deflected across goal, but no Huddersfield Town strikers were on hand to capitalise.
The Clarets were breaking forward on a regular basis and causing anxious moments in the Huddersfield defence. Sarah Greenhalgh was her usual busy self, but other players were supporting in forward positions and mounting pressure on the home team. This was rewarded when a through ball was played by ex-Huddersfield player Kerry Hope to Greenhalgh who sprinted through the defence and round the keeper to score.
Both Greenhalgh and Hope came together for the second Clarets goal after Kenedy Owen fed a smart ball through to Greenhalgh who again got around the keeper. Finding herself at a sharp angle she passed centrally to Hope to slot the ball home.
The two-goal cushion did not last for long; a soft corner was conceded by the Clarets and the ball was not cleared. A home team striker was on hand to shoot into an opening and score. 2-1.
The second half got off to a stormy start when Greenhalgh was shown a yellow card for a challenge, but the Clarets grabbed a third goal when a cross by Lizzy Hamer to Rathburn who was sprinting in behind the defence, hit the back post and deflected in. 3-1
As the half progressed the Clarets continued to have chances and were looking comfortable, but the home side started to pressurise in the last 15 minutes and had chances in front of goal. The Clarets continued to counter attack but were not able to capitalise. With five minutes remaining the home side got a goal back when a striker headed in from a right-wing cross.
The game intensified in the final minutes and a further six minutes of stoppage time. The home side were awarded many free kicks which were successfully defended but it was too little too late as the Clarets took all three points at the final whistle.
There are further big tests for Burnley FC Women in the coming weeks, first of which is an away trip to third placed Stoke City Women on Sunday 27th October.
The next game is against Morecambe Ladies Reserves in the second round of the Lancashire FA Women’s Challenge Cup on Sunday 20th October at Padiham FC’s Ruby Civil Arena, kick-off 2pm.