Burnley FC Women cemented their hold on top spot in the FA Women’s National League North Division 1 with a win over Morecambe – but bowed out of the SSE Women’s FA Cup at Brighouse Town.
At the Arbories, the Clarets chalked up their fifth consecutive league win against Morecambe.
A goalless first half unsettled the Clarets, but Evie Priestley’s 62nd minute strike, a penalty by Lynette Craig and a third goal by Leah Embley concluded a well-deserved win.
The Clarets quickly dominated possession, and both Leah Embley and Sarah Greenhalgh drove at the Morecambe goal at pace, but were met with a strong defence and some super saves from the keeper and player of the match Katie McTague.
Morecambe were able to counter attack up the slope and looked dangerous, but again Sammy Fleck, in central defence, did a great job of keeping them at bay.
Early in the second period, McTague reacted to deny Greenhalgh, who headed a corner ball close to the far post and left the Clarets astounded by her save.
The deadlock was finally broken when Greenhalgh sprinted wide with the ball and delivered a low cross into the area. Leah Embley tipped the ball to Evie Priestley, who shot through the crowded area into the net.
Morecambe were determined to pull back level and came close to giving the Clarets a shock, but Lauren Bracewell was on hand to save at her near post.
Moments later the Clarets were awarded a penalty for a trip on Greenhalgh. Craig stepped forward and confidently directed the penalty out of the keeper’s reach.
With 10 minutes to go Embley got her name on the score sheet after Greenhalgh fed her to sprint in and beat McTague to the ball to make it 3-0.
On Sunday, at the Yorkshire Payments Stadium, home of Brighouse Town, Burnley exited the FA Cup at the third qualifying round stage, losing 3-1.
The Clarets competed well in the early stages, and had the best chance when Embley passed to Craig on the edge of the box. With retreating defenders challenging her on both sides, she shot wide.
Embley was again provider when she crossed from a wide position to find Danielle Cooper close to the far post. Cooper quickly converted to open the scoring.
The Clarets continued to press the home side’s goal. Justine Wallace forced the keeper to tip over the bar from a free kick on the edge of the area.
Slowly the home team worked their way into the game. A free kick from 25 yards caused a goalmouth scramble that Bracewell managed to clear.
On 40 minutes Bracewell rushed to challenge a striker who was through on goal. The striker made a quick poke at the ball pushing it wide, but Bracewell was unable to avoid a collision and the referee awarded a penalty, which was duly converted.
In the remaining minutes of the half the Clarets had to soak up some pressure, withaa long-range shot bouncing off the top of the bar.
In the second half, Greenhalgh appeared to be upended in the box but the referee did not see an infringement.
The Clarets continued to press, and Greenhalgh cut through to head wide of the post from a cross by Embley.
Brighouse were then awarded a free kick midway inside the Clarets half, and at the far post, Lauren Doyle ran behind the Clarets backline and struck wide of Bracewell
Within two minutes the Clarets conceded again. A deflected ball was intercepted in midfield and a long forward pass picked out Brighouse striker Lindsay Tugby, who shot past Bracewell from the edge of the box.
Embley found the net, but an assistant judged Greenhalgh to be off side, and later Cooper volleyed just over from a corner.
Brighouse rattled the bar again from another long-range shot, though Bracewell had it covered.
Greenhalgh was thwarted by the keeper and Jo Holt had an effort cleared off the line, while Craig forced a fine save as Brighouse held on.
On Sunday, Burnley travel to Huddersfield Town LFC in the FA Women’s National League Cup.