Following an eight-week break due to the wintry weather, Burnley Ladies returned to football action with a convincing 5 – 3 triumph over Blackpool Ladies.
The enforced respite appeared to energise the lady Clarets and they delivered a vibrant, first-half performance that enabled them to romp to a 4 – 0 lead by the interval.
In the 10th minute, Charlotte Hartley and Sarah Greenhalgh combined fluently down the right flank to create a chance for Becky Hayton, but the striker’s rising drive cleared the bar. Further assaults on the Blackpool goal included Hartley hitting the side-netting following an exquisite through-ball from Leah Hart, and a goal-bound drive from midfielder, Natalie Bell, repelled only by desperate Blackpool defending.
When the Seasiders counterattacked they were thwarted by a Burnley backline, well marshalled by skipper Jo Holt, together with safe handling from young keeper, Jodie Mountain.
Burnley deservedly gained the lead on the half-hour when an in-swinging corner from Bell caused mayhem in the Blackpool six-yard box, a defender, under pressure from Hart, deflecting the ball into her own goal. The Clarets doubled their lead a minute later when a Bell cross found Hayton who lashed a right-foot shot into the roof of the net from 20 yards.
The rampant Clarets scored their third goal in the 40th minute; a long throw from fullback Becky Sidley was flicked on by Hayton to the feet of star-performer, Greenhalgh, who swivelled on the edge of the penalty area and planted a superb shot into the top corner. Prior to the break, Burnley made it four, an elegant interchange of passes between Hartley and Greenhalgh created space for Jo Rohman to drill a left-footed effort low past the keeper.
Burnley bagged their fifth goal when Holt won the ball in midfield, and passed to Justin Wallace who exquisitely curled in a left-foot shot from 20 yards.
At 5 -0, and with a third of the game remaining, it seemed only a question of how many Burnley would score. But a spirited Blackpool fight-back, together with the Clarets losing concentration, led to the Seasiders bagging three goals in the space of 20 minutes.
The Burnley defence was now under pressure, but timely tackles from Taylor Gregson and Claire Collins ensured that the Clarets preserved their advantage.