Burnley FC Women 3

Prescott 6, Greenhalgh 69, Priestley 79

Sheffield FC 0

BURNLEY FC Women returned to league action with a 3-0 win against Sheffield FC Women to move back up to second place in the FAW National League Northern Premier Division.

An early goal by youngster Leanne Prescott - a neat volley after just six minutes - gave the Clarets a slender lead after a tight first half.

But second half strikes from Sarah Greenhalgh and Evie Priestley brushed the Yorkshire side aside following the slow start to the game.

From the outset, Sheffield were quickest out of the blocks and pressured the Clarets with an early corner and an attack that forced keeper Lauren Bracewell to get down low and save at the right-hand post with an out-stretched arm.

The visitors continued to apply the pressure and Bracewell was again tested from range.

The Clarets made their first notable attack when Sarah Agger passed through to Prescott but her cross was too close to the keeper.

The home side were back on the attack shortly afterwards and Sarah Greenhalgh slotted a fine through bal to Agger out on the wing. Her run to the byline and cross was well placed but a defender headed clear and the clearance fell to Prescott who superbly volley into the net.

Sheffield regrouped and came back at the Clarets with strikers Hope Knight and Isabel Sullivan repeatedly testing the defensive line but Cara Bickett, Mel Brown and Olivia Wilson worked tirelessly to keep them at bay - bravely throwing themselves in to blocks and tackles to protect the home side’s lead.

Greenhalgh went close to doubling Burnley’s lead but just before the break, Bracewell was called in to action again to deny Sullivan.

With the second period under way and the advantage of playing down the slope at Padiham, the Clarets started to control the game.

Greenhalgh shot wide as she drove in on the keeper from a Levi Rathburn pass and now it was Sheffield’s turn to defend.

But the Clarets eventually doubled their lead with 20 minutes remaining when Agger collected the ball deep in her own half and looped a long pass forward for Greenhalgh to race on to, the striker outpacing the defence and lifting the ball over the advancing keeper to make it 2-0.

A third goal arrived 10 minutes later when Mel Brown’s fiercely struck free kick from 30 yards was too hot to handle for the Sheffield stopper who spilled the ball and Greenhalgh was on it in a flash before unselfishly passing to the unmarked Priestley to make it 3-0.

The game played out with the Clarets having the better of the late chances, but the score remained 3-0 at the final whistle.

On Sunday, Burnley FC Women join the Women’s FA Cup in the second round proper.

It is the first season the Clarets have not had to compete in the qualifying rounds - another indication of how far the team has advanced in the women’s game.

The Clarets host league rivals Hull City Ladies - who are bottom of the table - at the Ruby Civil Arena with kick off at 1pm.

Admission is £3 for adults and £1 for under 16s.