Burnley FC Women suffer rare defeat in FA Women's National League Cup

Levi Rathburn on the attack
Levi Rathburn on the attack

The Clarets Women suffered a two-goal defeat by a commanding Sunderland AFC Ladies team in the FA Women’s National League Cup on Sunday, ending an unbeaten run going back to February.

At Eppleton Colliery, the goals were conceded either side of the break in a game where the Clarets had few chances to reply against a well marshalled and skilful home side.

Burnley in their huddle

Burnley in their huddle

The game highlighted several areas for Matt Bee and his squad to work on during the upcoming weeks, and the difficult task ahead if they are to challenge for a high league finish.

Goalkeeper Lauren Bracewell intercepted an early Sunderland attack by diving to smoother ahead of a striker’s interception in her area.

Levi Rathburn ran at the Sunderland goal when she received a through ball, but she was snuffed out as she reached the 18-yard box by retreating home defenders.

Bracewell was in fine form intercepting crosses into the box and tipping the ball over from a well-placed header.

Sarah Agger stands up a Sunderland player

Sarah Agger stands up a Sunderland player

Sarah Greenhalgh ensured some threats on the Sunderland goal in response, but the momentum was largely from the home team as they pressured the Clarets goal.

Cara Beckett in the centre of the defence made her presence felt as she blocked and intercepted many moves but in the last seconds of the half the defence was split and Sunderland’s winger Jess Brown was able to shoot and score from within the box.

With only two minutes of the second half played, Sunderland got their second goal when striker Maria Ferrugia dribbled through the Clarets defence and shot past Bracewell.

Further Sunderland efforts were limited or forced wide by the hard working defence and some opportunities sprang up at the other end.

Burnley on the attack

Burnley on the attack

Kelly Halligan had the ball in the net when she cleverly chipped over the home keeper but was ruled off side, and she later cut through one on one, though she shot within reach of the keeper.

The Clarets' best chance came late on when Halligan threaded through to Rathburn, who shot from an angle and the ball skimmed along the cross bar.

On Sunday, Burnley FC Women are back in league action when they entertain Hull City Ladies at Padiham FC’s Ruby Civil Arena.

Kick-off is 2 p.m., and entrance on the gate is £3 for adults, £1 for under 16s.