Burnley FC Women went back to the top of the FA WNL North Division 1 after proving too strong for Crewe Alexandra at the Ruby Civil Arena at Padiham on Sunday.
The Clarets scored four second-half goals to achieve their seventh-straight league win and maintain a three-point advantage over chasing teams at the top of the table.
Before the game, the teams observed a minute’s silence in respect of the 100-year anniversary of the end of the Great War and Armistice Day.
The Clarets proudly wore poppy emblems on their shirts.
Burnley made an early impact on the game, forcing an awkward goalkeeper clearance in the first seconds of the game, and a follow up attack saw the keeper make a diving save from a Lynette Craig header.
Crewe settled into the game and soon started to use the downward slope to their advantage.
The game developed into a competitive end to end encounter, with little to seperate the teams.
Both keepers were kept busy making interventions.
Evie Priestley was well positioned in the area when she latched onto a defensive clearance, and her shot forced another save.
Player of the match Leah Embley also had a clear chance when she collected on the corner of the 18-yard box but shot wide, with a defender on her shoulder and the keeper closing in.
Moments later Greenhalgh had the ball in the net after the goalkeeper saved a Dani Cooper shot and the ball ran free.
A keen-eyed liner spotted an off-side and the goal was ruled out.
Crewe replied with long balls to speedy strikers.
Jo Holt in the Clarets defence responded with equal speed, forcing long range shots or pushing the advance to the bye line where Clarets keeper Lauren Bracewell collected the attempted crosses.
Shortly before half-time Embley collected from Greenhalgh on the right wing and feinted past a defender and took a shot on her left foot.
The ball rose up just too high and struck the crossbar, leaving the Clarets with a goalless 45 minutes.
At the change around, the Clarets quickly took control of the game and were creating numerous chances on the visitors’ goal but were failing in the final act.
Both Charlotte Banner and Greenhalgh could have broken the deadlock, notably Greenhalgh hit the bar after rounding the keeper and shooting on her left foot.
Priestley’s follow up was cleared off the line.
The pressure was maintained with further chances that kept the Crewe goalkeeper busy.
Finally, Greenhalgh opened the scoring from a ball slotted through from Embley.
She evaded the off-side trap and cut around a defender before shooting wide of the advancing keeper.
The Clarets maintained the pressure and Crewe were struggling to break out.
Another shot was cleared off the visitors’ line and another hit the bar.
With less than 15 minutes remaining, and the points by no means safe, Embley closed in on the wing and crossed high from a steep angle.
The goalkeeper did not catch cleanly and the ball crossed the goal line to make it 2-0.
Within two minutes, the Clarets added another goal.
A long range shot from Justine Wallace dropped dangerously on goal.
Banner pressed at the keeper as she tried to catch from under the bar and forced another error.
She quickly struck the falling ball into the net.
Crewe had a late chance when then were awarded a free kick 20 yards from the Clarets’ goal.
The strike dipped on goal, but Bracewell was positioned to tip over.
The fourth and final goal for Burnley FC Women resulted from a penalty during injury time.
Greenhalgh was clipped in the area as she headed for a one on one with the keeper.
Greenhalgh stepped up and slotted the ball into the net.
On Sunday, Burnley FC Women take another break from league action to face Chorley FC Ladies in the Lancashire FA Challenge Cup Quarter-Final at Chorley’s Victory Park Stadium.