Burnley FC Ladies went top of the North West Women’s Regional Football League Prfemier Division with a 2-1 victory over Merseyrail Bootle at Prairie Sports Village.
The Lady Clarets needed maximum points to take over at the head of the table and keep their title destiny in their own hands.
From the start, Merseyrail dictated a fast pace, and turned the tables on the Clarets’ early attacks.
The Clarets persevered and worked towards goal, finding many efforts snuffed out by tough defending.
Merseyrail’s best early chance came from an interception on the edge of the box, and a hasty shot drifted a yard wide.
The Clarets had better chances.
Lynette Craig picked up a pass from Evie Priestley close to the penalty spot and passed back to Lizzy Hamer, who forced a good save up high from the Merseyrail keeper.
And a Holly Hunter cross forced a fist out from the Merseyrail keeper that fell to Justine Wallace, who did not connect cleanly, and the ball ran wide.
The Clarets maintained pressure late on in the half, and another run at goal by Hunter was met by a daring block by the keeper on the edge of her area.
The second period got underway, and the Clarets continued to pressure the visitors,
Sarah Greenhalgh drove in but sliced wide from a Leah Embley through ball.
Hunter was dispossessed and attempted to win the ball back, but her tackle was late and the defender landing awkwardly.
After lengthy attention, she was unable to continue and Merseyrail were reduced to 10 players as no substitutes had travelled.
As the game restarted, the visitors were quickly on the attack and a striker nipped in on goal with only keeper Lauren Bracewell to beat, but she struck wide.
The Clarets replied with a fast-moving attack when Hamer intercepted and set Greenhalgh on a run, and she passed back to Hamer, who fired out of the keeper’s reach to open the scoring.
More Clarets chances emerged. Greenhalgh was close with a header that flew just over, and Vikki Eastwood shot wide.
Soon the visitors were to lose another player to injury as the game became more physical.
It was soon 2-0 when Hamer fed through to Georgia Payton, who ran in on the keeper and slotted the ball past her.
Payton came close with another effort soon after but this time the keeper was better placed, and Charlotte Banner struck from distance to hit the bar.
The visitors were in a determined mood though, challenging the Clarets in all areas of the pitch with surprising levels of energy.
And they pulled a goal back when a long range free kick found the head of a visiting striker, who smartly headed home to make it 2-1.