Sheffield United Women 0 Birmingham City Women 2 '“ Carla Ward takes positives from Continental Cup defeat
A second-half screamer from substitute Lucy Staniforth and a goal from Shania Hayles was the difference in a 2-0 victory where the visitors had more than their fair share of chances.
But some solid defending and a bit of luck ensured the score remained reasonable, though Marc Skinner's Birmingham side hit the woodwork an incredible five times during the match.
But Ward felt there was plenty for her side to take heart from after their performance against the Super League outfit.
'I take a lot of positives from that to be honest,' Ward said,
'With how we've set things up this week I thought the girls executed the game plan brilliantly.
'It's taken them a long time and a long range effort to take the lead and after that I think our girls were a little bit deflated.Â
'We looked a bit tired but I told them at the end I can take it when players come off having given everything and they did today, I can't fault any of them.
'The goal was frustrating but we had two of our midfield players who took each other out and it's left Lucy free to launch one, but it's one of those things.Â
'We have one or two players to come back and we're working on creating more chances because not scoring has been the story of our season so far.'
United centre-back Lisa Ryan turned a cross onto her own crossbar before Chloe Arthur looped an effort of her own onto the woodwork soon after.
Arthur then hit the bar again, this time in more spectacular fashion as she struck an effort from almost 30 yards which rebounded back into play.
The Blades' debutant goalkeeper Nic Hobbs was kept busy, having to make a save from her own defender Danielle Cox before denying Sarah Mayling an opener.
Birmingham kept the flow of efforts coming after the break. Charlie Wellings saw two efforts from distance flash wide before substitute Staniforth took matters into her own hands.
Shortly after coming on the pitch, the midfielder spotted Hobbs off her line and lofted a brilliant effort from the centre circle into the back of the net.
Birmingham hit the post once again as Wellings had another go before another Birmingham substitute in Hayles sealed the points.
A knock down into the box saw Hayles turn and volley a sweet effort past Hobbs to end what could have been a potentially frustrating day for the Super League side.
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