Derby County Women’s six-game unbeaten run came to an end as they were beaten 4-1 by Burnley FC Women at the Lancashire FA County Ground.
Ewe Rams manager Sam Griffiths made three changes to her side that beat Huddersfield Town Women, with Ella Hilliard, Marli Rhodes-Andrews and Kira Rai all coming into the side.
Two goals at the start of the first-half from Lizzie Hamer and Laura Elford set the tempo for Burnley, with Leah Embley adding a third at the midway point of the half, to give the hosts complete control.
Becky McGrother’s thunderous effort off the underside of the bar was only a consolation as Millie Ravening converted from the spot late into the second-half to ensure all three-points for Burnley.
It took just three minutes for Burnley to open the scoring. The Ewe Rams’ defence backed off from Hamer allowing her the space to curl an effort into the top right corner of Imogen Maguire’s goal.
The hosts doubled their lead four minutes later through Elford. She drove forward before unleashing a powerful effort which clattered into the net off the underside of the crossbar.
Embley added a third for Burnley in the 20th minute. She drove with the ball through Derby’s defensive third before calmly slotting the ball past the onrushing Maguire.
Derby looked to find a goal to pull them back into the game through Amy Sims’ header from Rhodes-Andrews’ floated free-kick into the area, but her header was dealt with comfortably.
Another headed effort by Sims went begging in the 36th minute. Emelia Wilson worked the ball well out on the right flank, before delivering a ball into the six-yard box, but Sims’ glancing header was wide of the far post.
It took Maguire two attempts to deal with Lara Miller’s half-volley, as the initial effort slipped out of her grasp, fortunately for the Ewe Rams’ keeper she was able to gather the second time of asking.
A better start to the second-half for the Ewe Rams saw Lauren Bracewell called into action to deny Sims’ powerful low-drive at her near-post.
Back-to-back chances in quick succession fell Evie Priestley’s way, with the first being dealt with by Maguire and the second fired over the bar on the volley.
An unbelievable save by Maguire denied Burnley a fourth as she reacted quickly to get her arms up and deny Priestley from point-blank range in the 64th minute.
Derby did pull a goal back in the 69th minute in similar fashion to Burnley’s second. The ball ended up at the feet of McGrother, who unleashed a venomous effort against the underside of the crossbar into Bracewell’s goal.
Substitute Jess Camwell had chance to pull the Ewes within one, after she latched onto a through ball, only to drag her effort wide.
Camille Jenkins almost made an instant impact off the bench as she drove forwards and smashed a cross-come-shot against the post.
Burnley were awarded a penalty in the 85th minute as Molly Sutherland fouled Priestley in the area. Ravening stepped up and converted despite Maguire going the right way.
The Ewe Rams will look to bounce-back when they take on local rivals Nottingham Forest Women in the East Midlands Derby at Pride Park next Sunday, with tickets available at dcfc.co.uk.
Burnley FC Women
Bracewell (GK), Cooper, Marshall, Walsh, Molinari, Miller, Embley, Ravening, Hamer, Elford (S Greenhalgh 89), Priestley (Willis 89)
Substitutes not used: O Greenhalgh, Coleman-Evans
Derby County Women
Maguire (GK), Ward (C), Clarkson, Hilliard (78), Sims, Joyce, Sutherland, Wilson (Gaspar 76), McGrother, Rhodes-Andrews (Camwell 72), Rai
Substitutes not used: None