Baptism of fire for Burnley FC Women in new league

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Burnley FC Women had a baptism of fire in their first FA Women’s National League Division 1 North fixture at the Arbories on Sunday.

The Clarets lost by three goals, all scored in a seven-minute period at the end of the first half when the visitors took control, and player of the match Kasey Elson dominated.

When the game got underway, both sides quickly took turns to push forward at the opposition goal.

Lizzy Hamer produced the most dangerous threat for the Clarets when she skipped past a defender and slotted the ball across the goalmouth, which sadly passed through without any takers.

The Clarets maintained pressure early on and soon Evie Priestley challenged to intercept a spilled ball from the keeper, but the ball ran wide of the post.

The Clarets won several corners as they continued to attack the visitors’ goal.

Chester-le-Street had little in response until 20 minutes in, when a shot from 18 yards dropped harmlessly onto the goal netting.

The Clarets pushed forward again and again, winning more corners or being frustrated by the pace of the ball on the downward slope.

With less than 10 minutes remaining in the half, the visitors produced a rare attack but showed brilliance in one touch play around the Clarets defence, that culminated in a shot from Elson that rattled the crossbar.

Pressure was now maintained on the Clarets’ goal, and the deadlock was broken when Chester-le-street won a free kick on the edge of the 18-yard box.

The kick was driven straight in at the near post in the 39th minute.

Within three minutes, the Clarets’ deficit was doubled when Elson tussled in the box and found space to turn and shoot into the net.

The Clarets pressed to pull a goal back, but were hit with a third goal from a breakaway attack.

A long ball forward picked out Chester-le-Street striker Laura Hockaday, who rounded Lauren Bracewell, the Clarets keeper, and evaded retreating defenders to score in first half stoppage time.

The Clarets started the second period with determination.

Hamer forced a diving save in the opening seconds, and further efforts were snuffed out by solid defending.

Later in the half, the visitors started to push upfield but they lacked the decisive edge that got them their earlier goals, though they had a claim for a penalty waved away by the referee.

In the later stages, Justine Wallace shot hard at the visitors’ goal after receiving from a corner, only to see the goalkeeper pull off a superb reflex save.

And Sarah Greenhalgh headed into the net from a cross, but was adjudged to be off side by a n assistant.

Evie Priestley also came close with a header that the keeper palmed away from under the bar.

Before the final whistle, Chester-le-Street pressured the Clarets goal, but the score remained at 3-0.

On Sunday, Burnley FC Women play Leeds United Women in what is expected to be another tough game.

Kick-off is 2 p.m. at Padiham FC’s Arbories Memorial Ground.

Burnley have been drawn at West Bromwich Albion Women in the determining round of the FA WPL Cup on Sunday, September 2nd, kick-off 2 p.m. at Boldmere St Michael’s FC.

There then follows a first league away game, against Liverpool Feds, at South Liverpool Football Hub on Sunday, September 9th, again at 2 p.m.