BURTON Albion were on the wrong side of a five-goal thriller as they fell to a 3-2 defeat to sixth-placed Peterborough United.
Quickfire goals from Beatriz Borque and Jessica Driscoll at the end of the first half turned the scoreline in their favour after a stunning goal from Ella Ritchie gave the Brewers the lead in the opening stages.
With 15 minutes remaining, an excellent strike from Borque was enough to seal the game for Peterborough, with a late goal from Beth Naqwi only enough to count as a consolation.
The Brewers were the better of the two sides in the opening exchanges, gaining an early lead with the first attack of the game.
Winning the ball in the midfield, Naqwi slid the ball into the feet of RITCHIE. Taking the ball into her stride from around 40 yards out, the forward’s ambitious strike flew over the head of Amy Butler, nestling into the top corner.
Peterborough responded with a chance of their own, going close to an immediate equaliser. Driven into the box by Cassie Steward on the right-wing, Megan Parrett met her cross at the near post but looped her shot over the bar.
Setting up the previous attack, Steward almost scored a goal for herself in a bizarre fashion. Whipping in a corner from the right, the ball crashed against the bar, rebounding out for a throw-in.
The Posh were probing for a levelling goal, with two saves in quick succession from Alice Langstone denying them midway through the first-half.
First pushing Hannah Hipwell’s low driven shot from the edge around the post, the Brewers keeper was then called into action by Kier Perkins, catching her tame header from close range.
After scoring the opener, Ritchie’s openings in front of goal were few and far between for the remainder of the first 45 minutes, but she almost doubled Burton’s advantage near the end of the half. Bouncing over her shoulder from a throw-in, Ritchie’s half-volley from a narrow-angle whistled past the post.
Hajrah Mahmood - making her first start for the Brewers first team after graduating throug the youth ranks - then saw an ambitious strike from outside the box saved before Peterborough found an equaliser.
From the corner, Steward’s cross could only be nodded clear as far as BORQUE, who powered the ball from inside the six-yard box.
The home side had the momentum. Captain Perkins forced Langstone into a smart save with her feet before Driscoll turned the score in the favour of the hosts.
From a free-kick, Parrett’s lobbed ball into the box was met by DRISCOLL, who flicked her header past Langstone.
The Brewers refused to lie down in the final minutes of the first-half and could have gone into the break with the score level.
A perfectly weighted ball through by Mahmood played in Ritchie one-on-one with the keeper, but the attacker directed her shot wide of the post.
Going into half-time with a slender advantage, Peterborough were inches away from doubling their lead soon after the restart. Positioned on the right of the 18-yard-box, Borque’s riffled effort cannoned off the bar and over.
A smart flick by Mahmood then played in Charlotte Creswell, but a last-ditch challenge by a covering Peterborough defender stopped the goal-scoring opportunity.
The resulting corner caused danger in the Posh box, with Mahmood rising highest to flick the ball onto Charlotte Jarvis, but her attempt flew just over.
The Brewers were getting a foothold in the second half, until a phenomenal strike from BORQUE gave Peterborough a cushion in the scoreline.
Picking up the loose ball on the edge, her curling left-footed effort found the corner of the goal, leaving Langstone with no chance.
Peterborough almost put the game beyond the Brewers with 10 minutes remaining through St, but her powered attempt was palmed away smartly by Lansgtone, who got down well to keep the contest alive.
The save was pivotal, with the visitors scoring moments later from a well-designed set-piece. Standing over a free-kick, captain Amber-Leigh Denny laid the ball off to NAQWI, whose side-footed effort from the edge found its way through a pack of Peterborough defenders and into the net.
Two was so nearly three for Burton straight from kick-off, with Ritchie going close to adding to her earlier first. Elloise Copson gifted possession to Richie just outside the box, but her effort narrowly missed the target, keeping the score at 3-2.
Losing their last three, the Brewers will be looking to get back to winning ways when they face Lincoln City on Sunday.