PNE Women stretched their unbeaten to nine matches as they took all three points against Penwortham Town Ladies with a 2-1 win away from home.
The Lilywhites had to work hard to get their win against a strong Penwortham side, with both teams starting well in an end-to-end opening period.
Fortunately, it was the visitors who got the first goal with Lucy Swift crossing the ball into the box and it was a case of being in the right place at the right time for Liv Askam, who tapped the ball into the back of the net after being unmarked in the box.
From that point onwards, Penwortham really stepped up their game – playing high balls over the top of the defence, offering them a threat in attack.
Courtney Woodhead worked hard in defence with some good tackles and clearances to keep her team in control.
Lottie Greenwood also linked up well with Swift and Askam, which caused problems in attack, but a solid Penwortham defence made it difficult for the girls to get something from the work they were putting in.
Penwortham looked hard to break down and were strong physically when on the ball, making some good passes and the Lilywhites began to struggle to keep the ball when they got possession.
The bobbly pitch meant PNE couldn’t play their normal style of fast play football and then Penwortham made the game level.
The goal came after the half-hour mark as a long range strike found the bottom left corner to get the hosts back in the contest.
Just before half-time, Greenwood was taken down and as she fell she was met with a huge clearance from the defender which smacked her in the face. The game was temporarily paused so Greenwood could be attended to.
There were appeals from the visitors as the challenge, which looked to be a poor one, but it was ignored by the referee who held his ground on the no-foul decision. Greenwood found her feet but had to be replaced by Fran Lyons.
Just minutes into the second half, the Lilywhites went back in front as they scored from a corner kick, which met Swift's head to take her team into the lead.
Despite being behind Penwortham still applied the pressure having some good chances in the second half, but they were unable to get past goalkeeper Rose Stuttard.
Ellie Ditchfield came on and worked hard having some chances for the Lilywhites. Her threat led to her finding herself through on goal and she was taken down by a Penwortham defender.
The referee was quick to get a red card out and send the player off for denying a goalscoring opportunity.
Now down to ten players, Penwortham didn’t give up fighting but the visitors held on for another three points.
Speaking after the game, first team coach David Rawcliffe said: “We are taking it one game at a time. The next game is Blackpool and all we can do is keep on winning.
“All we can do is put pressure on the top two. We will go again next week and keep fighting with five games to go for the season.”