by Saskia Bowes
Having reached the final of the LFA Challenge Cup last year, Chorley were looking to put their recent bad form behind them as they faced familiar league foe Burnley FC Women in the quarter-finals, a team who’d been in fine form.
The game started at a high tempo and both teams were playing some very attractive football. Burnley had pace in abundance up top and this was causing the defence to stretch but goalie Rachel Darbyshire was reading play well to sweep.
The visitors had the first chance of the game when a corner was swung in and a Burnley header looked destined for the bottom corner, but Jan Mitchell did well to hack the ball off the line. Minutes later, a carbon copy corner resulted in Abi Fenton saving a clear goal when she too headed the ball from the line. Despite this, Chorley dominated possession for most of the half with Katy Morris and Rebecca Kemp looking lively in the wide areas of the park.
Chorley’s first major chance was on 30 minutes when a Fenton throw caused confusion in the box and Lisa Topping’s shot was handled by the Burnley defender. Megan Searson stepped up to take the penalty, but it was saved by the Burnley goalkeeper. Chorley continued to play some nice football though and could have gone ahead shortly after, Morris this time with the long-range effort that narrowly drifted wide.
The second half started brightly with Chorley on the front foot. Grace Vella, who was getting into some great positions, had an effort tipped over by the goalkeeper and then her attempted lob only just missed the crossbar. Burnley then took the lead. A through ball was flicked on and striker Linny Craig looped her shot beyond Darbyshire.
Chorley regrouped and looked to throw everything at Burnley, but despite the much- improved performance, couldn’t get that elusive goal.
Player of the game (chosen by the opposition): Laura Walker
Chorley: Darbyshire; Mitchell, Nickson, Searson, Fenton; Kemp (Wild, 65’), Walker (c), Vella, Morris, Topping; Coope. Subs not used: Bowes.
HT 0-0 / FT 0-1
Goals: Craig (73’)
A trip to West Yorkshire on Sunday (2pm) to face Leeds United at their Thorp Arch training ground.