STUBBORN defending could not prevent Burnley Ladies from crashing out of the cup when they were beaten 3-0 on their visit to the City of Manchester.
In the opening 30 minutes, a strong and athletic Manchester outfit enjoyed a continued assault on the Burnley goal, and it required a combination of poor Mancunian finishing, the woodwork and astute goalkeeping from Sophie Valentine to maintain parity.
Centre-backs Jo Holt and Leah Morrisey grew in stature as the half progressed and allowed the lady Clarets to pose an attacking threat of their own.
Charlotte Hartley repeatedly probed down the right flank, star-performer, and Katie O’Hara (pictured) combined well with combative midfielder Em Forrest to create a chance for Hayley Newham, but her right-foot shot narrowly cleared the bar.
Goal-less at the break, Manchester started the second half the way they had the first and struck the Burnley bar within five minutes of the restart.
But once again, the Clarets clawed themselves back into the game, and, for a 10-minute period, were in the ascendancy.
Left back Vicky Smith repeatedly showed skill and composure in halting the City attacks and putting Burnley on the offensive.
A series of Burnley corners followed, and Smith herself found space in the box but couldn’t direct her header on target.
Manchester took the lead on the hour and only a courageous block from skipper Holt prevented them from immediately doubling their advantage.
The reprieve was shortlived, however, a defensive error gifting City their second goal 10 minutes later.
To their credit, the Burnley ladies did not capitulate and almost reduced the deficit.
A superb 30-yard crossfield ball from Smith allowed substitute striker Jade Brindle to outpace the City backline, only for her shot to fade the wrong side of the post.
The tireless Danni Cooper raided down the left wing but her cross evaded the Burnley forwards.
The game was put beyond Burnley’s reach on 80 minutes when City scored their third goal on the break.
The lady Clarets have exited both cup competitions and must now concentrate on maintaining their position in the North West Ladies Premier League.
To flourish in the league will require Burnley to supplement their undoubted technical abilities with an intensity to sustain a performance throughout the 90 minutes.
FINAL SCORE: City of Manchester 3, Burnley Ladies 0
On Sunday, Burnley return to league action when they visit Northwich Vixens.