A spirited second half fightback from Burnley FC Women resulted in a victory against a physical West Bromwich Albion Women at Walsall Wood in the FA WNL Premier Division North on Sunday.
Goals by Levi Rathburn, Kelly Halligan and player of the match Sarah Greenhalgh countered the home side’s strikes to give the Clarets two victories out of two games in the league.
Early pressure from the Clarets Women quickly turned to defence as Dani Cooper cleared off the goal line, and a follow up shot was wide of the target.
As the half progressed, the Clarets responded well, and a Kelly Halligan cross was met by Greenhalgh, whose powerful header hit the post, and a well-struck shot by Kenedy Owen was nicely collected by the home side’s keeper.
The game was progressing well for the Clarets, and a forward ball to Greenhalgh saw her sprinting at goal, where her shot was saved by the keeper, and a follow up shot was cleared by a retreating defender.
Halligan also had a one on one with the keeper, who blocked her with an out stretched leg, before defender Olivia Wilson shot wide attacking from the corner kick.
But it was West Brom who opened the scoring when a cross landed at the feet of striker Jade Arber, and she shot hard from the edge of the 18-yard box between two Clarets defenders.
The lead was short lived as, three minutes later, Nicola Worthington passed out wide to Levi Rathburn, who outpaced the West Brom defence and looped the ball over the keeper from a sharp angle.
Three minutes later, West Brom went back in front when a ball played into the Clarets box was intercepted again by Arber, who slid in to push it wide of keeper Lauren Bracewell.
After the break, with only seconds played, West Brom won a corner when a long ball forward glanced off the head of a Burnley defender.
Superb goalkeeping by Bracewell prevented them from increasing their advantage as the kick was intercepted outside the 18-yard box and drilled in, forcing Bracewell to tip the ball onto the bar at her near post, and then make an acrobatic second save from a header, pushing the ball over at her far post.
In reply, Greenhalgh received a through ball from Cooper and lobbed over the bar as the keeper advanced.
The Clarets got the leveller from another Worthington pass, this time to Halligan, who raced in at the keeper and slotted past retreating defenders.
Greenhalgh had another one on one thwarted by the West Brom keeper, but finally struck the back of the net, as defender Kerry Hope intercepted in midfield and passed through to Rathburn, whofound Greenhalgh, and she evaded two defenders and turned to strike a looping shot that dipped under the crossbar.
With 30 minutes remaining, more goals seemed inevitable, with the contest far from decided.
The Clarets had the best chances though late on.
First , Greenhalgh cut through on goal and was again thwarted by the home keeper.
West Brom could have pulled a goal back when a ball was floated in from the wing, and their number 10 headed at goal, but found Bracewell well positioned.
A shot on goal from Rathburn was met by a reflex diving save, crowning a fine display by the home keeper, who soon won a final battle with Greenhalgh as she advanced on goal, before blocking a follow up by Lizzy Hamer.
Burnley FC Women are at home on Wednesday night against Fylde Women, before a trip to Middlesbrough Women on Sunday.