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REPORT | BURTON ALBION 1-2 SPORTING KHALSA

28 March 2022

A first Burton Albion goal for Hajrah Mahmood was not enough for the Brewers as they fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat against Sporting Khalsa in the FA Women’s National League.

Cancelling out Laura McQuilkin's stunning first-half opener, Mahmood’s equalising goal topped off a period of dominance for the home side, who had the better of chances after the restart.

Pushing for a winning goal, Burton fell behind for the second time in the match after Julie Stirrup’s ambitious effort from the outskirts of the box found its way in after hitting the inside of the post.

Losing their sixth consecutive game, the Brewers stay in 11th position, seven points away from safety.

Much like the last time the two sides faced off, the match started evenly, with both teams spending their fair share of time in the opposition's final third.

Despite this, chances were few and far between, with Khalsa’s McQuilkin driven strike from the edge on the 18th minute the only notable attempt in the opening exchanges.

Finding space, her effort was struck well but was central and at the perfect height for Alice Langstone to catch the ball with ease.

Next, it was the Brewers who looked to break the deadlock, with Mahmood searching for her first goal for the club. Battling well to beat Chelsey Leigh Wright to the ball, Ella Ritchie played the ball into the path of Mahmood. Skipping past Stirrup’s incoming challenge, she saw lined up to shoot but saw her effort curl wide of the near post.

Gaining a strong foothold in the game, the Brewers were stung by a sucker punch goal. Bouncing into her stride, McQuilkin’s stunning half-volley from outside the area looped over Langstone and into the Brewers net.

The visitors then went close to doubling their lead just before the break if not for a fantastic last-ditch challenge. Seemingly breaking away from her marker inside the box, Olivia Woolston was closed down well by Charlotte Jarvis, who dove in to force the ball out for a corner.

Khalsa then found themselves in the same position that the Brewers did soon after the restart, with Beth Gallagher preventing an equalising goal. Bursting forward, Mahmood broke free of the visitor’s defence, running through on goal. Slowing down to ready herself for a shot, her low effort was blocked by a sliding challenge from Gallagher.

Saved by a fantastic tackle, Khalsa then had the woodwork to thank from the resulting corner. Dropping to the foot of Milly Wortley, her shot at goal rebounded off the post, with the stray ball hacked clear by the ‘keeper.

On top in the second-half, the Brewers found a deserved equaliser soon after their previous missed chance. Richie’s corner could only be cleared as far as Mahmood, with her first-time effort deflecting past Stacey Garnham and finding the bottom corner.

Confidence was flowing through the home side, with Beth Naqwi next to try her luck. Looking to replicate McQuilkin's impressive goal in the first-half, her first-time effort dipped just over the bar, with the rustling of the top of the net making some believe that she had scored.

Unlucky not to take the lead, the Brewers then fell behind through another impressive away goal. Squared into her path by Woolston, Stirrup’s curling effort from the outskirts of the box seemed to be bouncing wide, but instead clipped the inside of the post, nesting into the back of the net.

Giving her side the lead, Stirrup then saw her following attempt saved by Langstone before Burton were given a man advantage. After arguing with the referee, left-back Gallagher was given a 10-minute sin-bin.

However, Burton failed to make the most of their additional player, with wayward strikes from Jarvis and Mahmood the closest they came to scoring a second.

Burton now face a trip to Leek Town on Sunday, who currently sit fifth in the league. 


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