AFC Fylde Women bowed out of the Lancashire FA Women’s Challenge Cup on Sunday after succumbing to a 4-2 defeat against Burnley FC Women at Kellamergh Park.
In an action-packed Lancashire derby, it was the Claret Women who claimed a last-gasp victory over the Coasters thanks to a late brace by Millie Ravening.
After Amy Hughes had earlier scored twice to cancel out strikes from Burnley’s Evie Priestley and Ellie York, a dramatic finale saw Ravening score with two headers to secure Burnley’s place in the final four of the competition.
In a contest that could have gone either way, Danielle Young’s team put in a spirited performance and pushed Jonathan Morgan’s talented Burnley side to the wire. In a pulsating cup tie, the Claret Women managed to put away their chances in the dying embers of the game to advance to the next round.
Taking a break from league action, these two local rivals faced off in the county cup and gave everything for the win on a particularly wet afternoon on the Fylde coast.
The Coasters headed into the game on the back of a 4-1 win away to Alnwick Town Ladies FC in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup. As for their opponents, Burnley also enjoyed success in the same competition by defeating Tranmere Rovers last time out.
After a bright start, the Coasters went ahead in the eighth minute when Hughes produced a sublime finish into the bottom corner. Winning the ball back high up the pitch, Hughes instinctively turned towards goal before drilling a shot into the near corner past Burnley goalkeeper Lauren Bracewell.
Fylde’s lead did not last long as Burnley levelled in the 16th minute directly from a corner kick. Ellie May lofted a delivery into the box that Fylde goalkeeper Grace Pomfret attempted to palm away to safety. However, Burnley striker Evie Priestley capitalised on the loose ball with a controlled volley into the roof of the net for the equaliser.
There was almost an instant response from the hosts when Emily Hollinshead curled a left-footed effort on target but Bracewell was equal to it.
The visitors continued to threaten from set pieces and scored again from another corner routine. May’s cross was only partially cleared to the edge of the area, where Burnley defender Ellie York showed great composure to arrow a left-footed strike into the top right corner of the net. York’s first goal for the club gave Burnley a 2-1 lead in the 23rd minute.
Despite the setback, the Coasters battled back in search of a leveller. And it duly arrived in the 36th minute when Hughes again found space in the box and coolly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner.
Barely a minute later, the Coasters almost regained the lead when Faye McCoy turned on the edge of the area before firing a shot just over the crossbar. The teams went into the break all square.
Half-Time: AFC Fylde Women 2-2 Burnley FC Women
Shortly after the restart, the visitors created the next big chance when Leah Embley dribbled down the right and cut the ball back to May, who steered her shot inches wide of the post.
As the continual downpour made the playing conditions increasingly difficult, the Coasters had to defend resolutely to nullify Burnley’s high press.
The Coasters then came agonisingly close to scoring when Emily Hollinshead was played through and found herself in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper. As Hollinshead directed a shot towards goal, Bracewell denied her with an outstanding block from point-blank range.
At the other end, Pomfret made an excellent save to keep out Courtney Willis’s header before substitute Sarah Greenhalgh scooped a close-range effort over the crossbar.
Probing for the winner, McCoy then showed great strength to create a shooting opportunity just inside the penalty area. Under defensive pressure, McCoy could only drag her shot wide of the post.
In the 88th minute, there was late heartbreak for the Coasters as Burnley midfielder Millie Ravening connected with a pinpoint cross from the right and guided a header into the bottom corner for the decisive third goal.
Deep into stoppage time, the visitors extended their lead with another unstoppable header by Ravening, who nodded a deep cross from the left into the far corner. The bounce of her header just evaded Pomfret’s reach before finding the back of the net.
Full-Time: AFC Fylde Women 2-4 Burnley FC Women
Next up, the Coasters will look to make further progress in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup when they face Middlesbrough Women FC in the Second Round. This home tie against the Teessiders will be played at Kellamergh Park on Sunday 27th November, with kick-off at the earlier time of 1.00 pm.
AFC Fylde Women: Pomfret, Fryer, Carroll, Taylor, Merrin, Forster, Rowe, Fields, Hollinshead (72′ Binks), McCoy, Hughes
Unused substitutes: Hunter, Young, Hignett, Whitaker
Report by Scott Jones