Burnley FC Women go six points clear at the top of the table
Burnley FC Women moved six points clear at the top of the FA WNL North Division 1 with a 1-0 win against rivals Brighouse Town at the Arbories on Sunday
The only goal of the game was scored by Sarah Greenhalgh.
A determined start to the game by Brighouse pressured the Clarets into a defensive position.
Brighouse won a corner which was headed clear by Lizzy Hamer, but they picked up possession again and the Clarets defence worked hard to contain the threat in a nervy few minutes.
When the Clarets did finally break out, Brighouse quickly recovered and headed a Greenhalgh cross clear. Justine Wallace collected the loose ball and shot over from 25 yards.
Nicola Shirtcliffe paced forward at speed from her defensive role to mount another Clarets attack, and a freekick was awarded when Greenhalgh was tripped as the game turned in the Clarets’ favour.
Wallace floated the free kick over the wall, but the keeper collected before any strikers could intercept.
The Clarets were quick to recover possession and soon Wallace was on the ball again, skipping wide of a marker and releasing a left foot shot that rattled the crossbar.
The game flowed end to end and Brighouse were awarded a free kick. A well struck shot forced Lauren Bracewell to tip over the bar.
The Clarets resumed their pressure on the Brighouse goal before the visitors played a long ball out to set striker Charlotte Proud on a counter attack. She ran wide of the defenders and forced Bracewell into a smart save.
Late in the half Lizzy Hamer was able to drive in on goal, forcing a diving save.
The second half became a battle of determination. Early on the Clarets won a corner and Sammy Fleck ran to intercept at the near post. Her shot was deflected narrowly wide.
Player of the match Leah Embley created space in the danger zone to fire a shot that flew over the bar, and shortly afterwards Hamer played a through ball to pick out a well-placed Vikki Eastwood, who drove at the keeper but shot narrowly wide.
The Clarets opened the scoring when Wallace won a header in midfield and Embley collected and quickly slotted the ball through to Greenhalgh, who produced a clinical finish.
Brighouse pushed forward in an attempt to find an equaliser but were met with determined and formidable defending.
Embley and Greenhalgh both troubled the Brighouse defence, the latter forcing the keeper to make a diving save.
In the final 15 minutes Brighouse mounted a strong recovery, and had a close-range shot that was narrowly wide, while Bracewell saved close to her post in a goal mouth melee.
But at the final whistle the Clarets were able to celebrate a vital victory.
Burnley FC Women take a break at the weekend, but are back in league action at Chorley a week on Sunday.