A FEEBLE second-half performance condemned Burnley Ladies to a 7 - 3 defeat against Bolton Wanderers.
The lady Clarets started the game brightly, full-back Vicky Smith threading a superb pass through the centre of the Bolton defence for Jade Brindle to outpace the centre-halves and force a splendid save from the keeper. But Burnley fell behind after 10 minutes when a free-kick pierced the Clarets’ backline gifting an easy finish for the Bolton striker.
Burnley rallied to this early setback and dominated the next segment of the game. Skipper, Jo Holt, evoked panic in the Bolton defence with surging runs from the deep. Em Forrest reacted smartly to a misplaced goal-kick to volley narrowly wide from 30 yards. Danielle Cooper slipped a deft pass to Forrest whose rising drive hit the side-netting.
The deserved equaliser came on 20 minutes when Forrest’s intelligent diagonal pass found the speedy Brindle and this time the Burnley striker made no mistake, shooting low past the advancing keeper.
The Clarets continued in the ascendancy, Lucie Berwick powering a left-foot effort against the post from a sharp angle, and Jo Rohman testing the Bolton stopper with a 20-yard strike. Ten minutes before the break, Burnley took the lead when a magical flick from Brindle landed at the feet of Cooper who rifled the ball home.
But as a warning of what was to follow, indecision in the Burnley defence gifted Bolton an equaliser on the stroke of half-time.
The second half witnessed a Burnley capitulation, a mishmash of errors, weak tackling and indecision gifting Bolton four further goals and effectively ending the game as a contest.
Holt demonstrated the attitude required as she unrelentingly drove her team on and urged them to show some pride. She was rewarded with a goal when her drive from the corner of the penalty area arrowed into the roof of the net.
Bolton scored their seventh goal from a corner in the last seconds of the game.
So a feeble second-half performance was responsible for a heavy defeat that has pushed the lady Clarets into the relegation zone.
Games in hand on their rivals suggest that there is still opportunity to rescue the season. To retain their position in the North West Women’s Premier League will require them to re-group, support each other and reclaim a level of self-belief to complement their undoubted talents.