Two goals by new signing Levi Rathburn and a late Sarah Greenhalgh penalty gave Burnley FC Women a hard earned but deserved win in an epic game against a tough Derby County Ladies team on the opening day of the season.

The Clarets women had to claw back from a two goal first half deficit inflicted by the then dominant Derby County Ladies to turn the tide of the game and achieve a momentous start to the season.

During the summer, first team manager Matt Bee significantly refreshed the squad and achieved a successful pre-season run of games. However, the challenge presented by Derby County who finished last season in joint second place on points, presented a difficult test and potentially calamitous result.

The midlands side had added seven new faces to the squad, including experienced FA Women’s Championship midfielder Ellie Gilliatt, setting a tough challenge for the clarets. However, the Burnley side dug deep to secure the three points.

Burnley FC Women First Team Manager, Matt Bee said: “It’s a big three points against a side who are certainly up there.

“Derby had good build up play leading to their goals, but I think we grew into the game. Our first goal from the corner gave us a little bit of belief going into half time.

“I must give a massive amount of credit to the players, we played off the front foot and showed great character. It’s one thing to get yourself back into a game at half time, it’s another thing to go and win it.

“It’s only three points we aren’t getting ahead of ourselves, but we’ve certainly given a good account of us as a team and got off to a good start to life in this league.”

Photo credit: Andy Ford Photography