Sheffield United 1 Charlton Athletic 0 - Katie Wilkinson's winner seals victory for Blades women
Neil Redfearn hailed his ‘game-changers’ as Sheffield United Women made it four wins in a row.
Katie Wilkinson’s second-half header earned the Blades a narrow 1-0 victory over Charlton.
In a tight match with few clear-cut chances for either side, Redfearn’s hosts were generally on top while Charlton were unable to create many chances as Wilkinson’s 16th league goal of the campaign moved United level on points with third-placed Liverpool.
“I thought it was a good performance and we got a deserved win. It was a tough game, we knew it would be tough and credit to Charlton for making it toug,” sai Redfearn.
“I thought in the first half we needed to pass it a bit better and a bit quicker and we made changes at half-time.
“I thought the changes worked well. Jade [Pennock] came on and gave us a bit more width, she got in behind and it also allowed us to put Bex [Rayner] back into the number 10 position where she could find some pockets of space.
“It’s pleasing to score a set-piece and it’s yet another clean sheet which I’m always pleased with. We had good players to come who changed the game. I said to them after the game, the subs aren’t subs, they’re game-changers, they can all make a difference and you saw that today.”
The first half certainly suffered from a lack of clear goalmouth action but the hosts started well, even if they relied on efforts from range from both Wilkinson and Maddy Cusack, while several good crosses were cleared away by the visitors.
Leandra Little had the best chance when she headed a corner just over, and Redfearn made a change at the break by bringing on Jade Pennock for Rhema Lord-Mears.
The change paid dividends and United looked more fluid, Pennock a constant threat down the right, winning the corner which led to the decisive moment.
Cusack’s corner found Wilkinson and the Blades striker headed home the winner into the far corner for her 16th of the season.
Courtney Sweetman-Kirk saw two good chances come and go soon after as United looked to hammer home their advantage, but they were never overly troubled at the back and held on to see out a fourth win in a row.