Lady Clarets re-writing history books in FA Cup

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After making history, Burnley FC Ladies will now take on Premier League North side Stoke City in the second round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup.

Having reached the first round proper of the competition for the first time in the club’s existence, the Clarets earned their tie at Community Drive on December 3rd by beating Alnwick Town 4-0.

Two tiers will separate the two sides when they meet at the home of Norton United FC next month with the Potters fourth in the third tier and the Clarets pushing for promotion from the highest level of the North West Women’s Regional League.

However, Female Football Development Officer, Matt Bee, is eager to keep pushing the boundaries, piggyback the remarkable success of Sean Dyche’s men and build something equally special.

“I want to get this club moving forward and progressing it to a higher level,” he said. “We’ve got to try and replicate the work that Sean Dyche’s side has achieved. We want to build something equally special and we want to raise the credibility.

“We’re looking at what the first team is doing because they’re moving in an unbelievable direction. Everything connected with Burnley Football Club is ambitious, everything is positive, professional and slick.

“We’ve got to ride that wave with the first team and latch on to the back of that success while playing on the back of the enthusiasm that the town has.

“I’ve never been at a club which has been so important to its town. Hopefully we can keep developing.

“We’ve now got to achieve things to back up what we’re doing. We achieved our best ever points tally last season, we’re going for promotion this season and we’ve reached the second round of the FA Cup.

“We don’t want it to end there though. We want to break more records and write more history.”

Beating their opponents at St James’s Park on Sunday was a start, especially with the hosts having thrashed FA Women’s Premier League Midlands Division One side Rotherham United in the previous round.

In front of a crowd exceeding 300, the Lady Clarets broke the spell of the giant killers in the shadow of Harry Potter’s Castle.

Sarah Greenhalgh gave the visitors the lead from the spot, winning the penalty herself having struck the upright with an attempt moments earlier.

Lynette Craig doubled the advantage when her corner kick, assisted by the wind, travelled all the way through to the far post and dropped under the crossbar and over the line.

The Clarets made it 3-0 before the interval when Leah Embley, who had latched on to goalkeeper Taylor Gregson’s clearance, cut in to the penalty area before watching her shot find the back of the net via the post and a defender’s leg.

The away side ensured their progression early in the second half when Craig collected a deflected clearance, jinked her way in to the box and finished past the keeper.

“It was special to be a part of it, particularly with it being the first time in the club’s history that they’d reached this stage,” said Bee. “It was great to achieve that. It was massive for the club and it underlined our ambitions. It was a proud moment.

“Cup days like that are special and they don’t come around very often. It’s a massive achievement to be in the second round.

“We can’t just sit back and reflect on that though. It’s important to ensure that we have more days like that. We want to win things.

“I just want us to go as far as we can now and have the opportunity to play one of the WSL clubs. It would be massive for the girls and the club if we can do that.

“It would be unbelievable. I’m not expecting us to get to Wembley but we’ll just keep trying to push on.”

Meanwhile, the Lady Clarets reserve team also had a good day running out 8-1 winners against Academy Juniors Ladies.

The game was much tighter than the result suggests but goals from Ruby Troth, Ellie Parker, Karina Rydzynska, Kendall Kelly and Indi Hickey sealed the victory.

The first team return to league action against Wigan Athletic at Cardinal Langley sports ground in Middleton while the reserve team travel to Wilson’s sports ground at Clayton to play Accrington Stanley Community Ladies.