Burnley FC Women claimed their first FA WNL Division 1 North win of the season at St John Bosco College, beating Liverpool Feds 3-0.
Ahead of the game, first team manager Matt Bee spoke of a positive vibe in the team and the big test which the players faced.
And, in the event, Sarah Greenhalgh (2) and Evie Priestley hit the target in a fine away victory.
The game commenced with a frantic end to end exchange, before the Feds started to show their quick passing ability, which opened up a space, where a 22-yard shot forced a save from young Clarets keeper Emily Gibbins.
The Feds continued to play smart one and two touch football, but were met with determined interventions by the hard-working Clarets Women.
The Feds threatened the Clarets with a long throw towards the near post that picked out a tall striker, but her attempt thankfully looped over the bar.
Leah Embley displayed her ability when she carried the ball from the halfway line to the bye line, though her cross sliced into the side netting.
The Clarets made their dogged determination pay off when a smart interception by Lizzy Hamer provided a through ball courtesy of Charlotte Banner.
Greenhalgh headed the high bounce past a defender to go through on goal and shoot hard past the keeper for her first goal.
The Feds quickly pushed forward after the restart in search of an equaliser.
The Clarets pairing of captain Jo Holt and Banner put up a solid block, allowing play to revert to the other end, with Embley running hard at the Feds defence.
Her first effort forced a save from the keeper, where Evie Priestley tried to snatch the loose ball before also being blocked.
Minutes later Embley was on another cutting run into the Feds defence, where she found Priestley well positioned to finish the job, guiding the ball into the bottom corner.
Now with a two-goal advantage, the Clarets had to defend a free kick from the edge of their area and a couple of corners.
The Feds also struck two shots that were just wide of the post.
The Clarets matched the chances at the other end.
Free kicks by Vikki Eastwood and another by Lynette Craig also came close, and both Embley and Priestley kept the Feds defenders busy.
Early in the second half, Gibbins had to deal with a high shot that was dropping in on goal, which she punched out under the pressure of a challenging striker.
Gibbins was soon in action again, making a diving save from a well-struck free kick at her near post, and was on hand to confidently deal with other shots as the Clarets came under pressure from the home side.
As the half reached the midpoint, the Clarets readdressed the balance of play.
Embley made another scorching run, forcing a save from the keeper, and Katie Halligan joined the Clarets attack to keep the home defence busy.
Captain Holt who set up the final goal as she smartly drove to the bye line and passed back to Embley, who closed in on goal and shot. The keeper made a diving save, before Greenhalgh connected with the loose ball to score the third goal and seal the victory.
The Feds tried to pull back the deficit in the final minutes, and even hit the bar from a close-range shot. But it was not their day and the score remained 3-0 to the Clarets.
The Clarets Women played at Bolton Wanderers LFC last mnight, and on Sunday, they take on Norton and Stockton Ancients LFC at home at Padiham FC’s Arbories ground, kick-off 2 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Burnley FC Women’s Reserve team had a difficult time in their Reserve Cup aclash gainst Middlesbrough Women’s Reserves, losing 8-1 to a very good academy side.
The Clarets’ only goal came from Simone Keating.
On Sunday, the Reserves team play Leeds United Ladies Reserves at Nelson and Colne College, kick-off 2 p.m.
- Voting for the 2018 North West Football Awards is now open, with Burnley FC Women’s Sarah Greenhalgh and Leah Embley both nominated.
Greenhalgh is nominated in the Women’s Player of the Year category, after leading the line for the Clarets as they pushed for promotion out of the North West Women’s Regional League.
Having previously played for Manchester City, she propelled the team towards the league title, scoring over 30 goals in all competitions.
A powerful player, able to play both central striker as well as part of the midfield, she was the focal point of the team.
A knee injury resulted in Greenhalgh missing games early in the season, however she returned to score a crucial goal in a 2-0 win over rivals Stockport County LFC to drive the team to the league title.
Nominated in the Young Player of the Year category is Embley.
The 2017/18 season was Embley’s first for the Clarets, having joined from Accrington in the summer.
A lively winger with a fantastic change of pace, along with great dribbling and finishing ability, she scored 18 goals, including four in a 5-0 win over Tranmere Rovers.
Embley’s essential contribution was recognised by team mates as she picked up the Players Player of the Year award at the Burnley FC Women awards night at Turf Moor in June.
Burnley FC Women first team manager Matt Bee said: “I am delighted both Sarah and Leah have been short listed.
“The 2017/18 league campaign was brilliant for us as a team and both players played critical roles in ensuring we had our most successful season on record.”
To cast your vote, visit www.northwestfootballawards.com/northwest-football-awards-2018/vote-nwfa-2018/