A thrilling cup tie saw Burnley narrowly escape a cup upset at the hands of Chorltonian Ladies in the second round of the Argyle Sports Cup.
After the disappointment of last Sunday’s postponement at home to FC United of Manchester Chorlts were the quickest out of the blocks as they looked to catch their higher division opponents off guard.
It was the visitors who struck first as a long range effort came back off the underside of the crossbar after just nine minutes but it was the home side who had the better of the play, their determination off the ball, refused to allow Burnley to settle into any kind of rhythm partly in thanks to the influential Elizabeth Livesey, restored to the midfield.
The home side began to take control of the game and should have lead on 18 minutes when a rapid counter attack from winger Jamila Hodges saw her play in Jordanna Shaw who forced Burnley goalkeeper Leanne Smith into a superb save forcing her to push a low shot round the foot of her left post.
It was a warning sign for Burnley and they found themselves behind on 22 minutes as superb pressure from the Chorlts midfield saw the visitors surrender possession and Sarah Cuthbert played a superb through ball into the path of Shaw and she fired it across the helpless Smith into the bottom left hand corner from the edge of the area.
Chorlts went close again on 25 minutes Debbie Price ran down the right hand side before picking out Ellie Taylor with a superb cross but the Chorlts midfielder couldn’t quite turn her effort on target. A minute later Burnley drew themselves level as a Chorlts goalkick was flicked on into the path of Burnley Captain Justine Wallace who volleyed into the top corner from 35 yards out. A strike of such quality that the forward herself seemed surprise it had gone in.
The goal didn’t deter Chorlts and they almost responded immediately as Livesey forced a save from Smith with a 30 yard effort of her own before Shaw volleyed over from 35 yards directly from a Shauna Edmondson throw in.
Burnley rallied in the final moments of the first half as an impressive 35 yard cross field pass from centre back Taylor Gregson put Elizabeth Hamer through on the right hand side but her pass couldn’t pick out a teammate and the chance was lost.
The second half became a much tighter affair, the visitors clearly taken off guard by the threat posed by Chorlts, with neither side wanting to risk going behind. It took until the hour mark until the first clear cut chance came as a Burnley corner found its way to the far post and was almost turned home but for a superb save on the line from Claire Jefferson to keep it out.
At the other end, Chorlts came close with a set piece of their own as a wonderful free kick from Ellie Caddick was whipped in to the far post finding Cuthbert almost heading home with Smith doing well to claim at the second attempt. Burnley responded on the counter attack as Rebecca Hayton went close rolling an effort just wide of the post.
Burnley rang the changes, the fresh legs saw them take greater influence on the game, and they thought they had taken the lead on 75 minutes when a cross to the near post was headed home but for the raising of the offside flag. A minute later Livesey came to Chorlts rescue as she made a superb diving tackle in the penalty area to deny Linny Craig who was baring down on goal.
In a tight game it was likely to be a set piece that separated the two sides and it came on 83 minutes when Rebecca Hayton, arriving late at the far post, thundered a header off the underside of the crossbar.
Both sides went close in the latter stages, with Caddick again whipping in a superb free kick into the penalty area before Burnley saw a deflected cross tipped onto the post by Jefferson. However it was the visitors who finished strongly to secure their place in the next round in a thrilling advert for the women’s game.