BURTON Albion's Development Squad fell to a 3-1 defeat on their return to Staffordshire Girls and Ladies Premier Division action at the weekend.
Despite several positives in the performance, the Brewers ultimately suffered defeat at Cresswell Wanderers in their first game after the Christmas break.
Albion started brightly, linking up well in midfield and trying to find gaps in the Cresswell defence to get through. There were good runs in behind early on from Mia Fellows which caused the defence some problems, but not enough to see Burton take the lead.
And the hosts would duly take the lead after 18 minutes, with some poor defending allowing Sophie BALL to finish for 1-0.
And just past the half-hour, more poor defending from a corner saw the Brewers go down 2-0 after 35 minutes, Olivia HAYWARD grabbing the hosts' second.
Burton decided to make a change to the system around this time, changing to a back four rather than a back three to try and get a foothold back into the game. Albion began to play the ball on the floor more, rather than going long, looking to keep possession.
A good ball forward from Alexia Agnew caught out the Cresswell defence, who could only turn the ball into the path of Mia FELLOWS to slot the ball into the net and halve the deficit just before the break.
HALF-TIME: CRESSWELL WANDERERS 2-1 BURTON ALBION
Cresswell started the second half strongly and had one goal ruled out for offside before HAYWARD grabbed her second and the home side's from a free kick.
But the Brewers continued to work hard, with good pressing all over the pitch resulting in more of the ball during the second half, but Albion were unable to properly test the opposition keeper.
A sustained period of pressure from Cresswell followed in which the experience of the opposition showed, with good positioning catching the young Brewers team out in midfield at times.
An injury to midfielder Bethan Wass 15 minutes before full-time signalled another change for Burton, putting an extra striker up top to try and chase the game, but unfortunately nothing came their way.
FULL-TIME: CRESSWELL WANDERERS 3-1 BURTON ALBION
Manager Joe Kirkland said: "We didn’t do too much wrong for the full 90 minutes. To concede the three goals in the way in which we did was frustrating.
"We just have to make sure that in certain periods of the game we aren’t hiding. Players need to want the ball and have the desire to make things happen - all it takes is one player to change the dynamic of the game, we didn’t do that today unfortunately."
Providing an update on the development team, Kirkland said: "We had a tough period leading up to Christmas for a number of reasons, but with a few changes we’re now back into a really positive place.
"We’re excited to grow as a group and are looking forward to getting a few wins along the way."