Sheffield United Ladies "didn't get out of second gear" in home win over London Bees
Sheffield United Ladies manager Carla Ward admitted her side didn’t get out of second gear as they defeated London Bees 3-1.
Goals inside the first half an hour from Jade Pennock and Olivia Fergusson set Carla Ward’s side on their way to the victory that maintained the pressure on Aston Villa atop the FA Women’s Championship table.
Former Bees striker Katie Wilkinson rounded things off just minutes after Nikita Whinnett had given the visitors a lifeline, with United securing their sixth successive win in all competitions.
Ward said: “It was a funny game because I don’t feel like we ever really got out of second gear, but we played some good stuff.
“We spoke about playing quickly off one and two touch and when we did that we caused them a lot of problems.
“The goals aren’t coming from one player, they’re coming from a few and that’s important and I thought the front three were class and the midfield was superb too.
“Collectively that performance, I couldn’t single anyone out because I thought they were all brilliant.
“We’re in a position now where teams want to come and take points off us and Aston Villa. That’s a credit to us and we’ve got to make sure we don’t take our foot off the gas, we maintain our standards and put teams to the sword because ultimately that’s what we’ve done.
Both sides started the game brightly and both had chances to go ahead before Pennock’s opener. With 17 minutes gone, Pennock played a neat one-two with Fergusson and calmly slotted home into the corner to put the hosts ahead.
The hosts made the most of their momentum when Fergusson doubled the advantage after a quick counter attack, slamming home Wilkinson’s low pass across the penalty area.
Both Pennock and Fergusson missed big chances to double their own goal tallies ahead of the break before Whinnett ran on to a through ball early in the second half, slamming home past Becky Flaherty to halve the deficit.
But to the frustration of the visitors they were 3-1 down just moments later. Pennock turned provider when she slipped in Wilkinson who promptly finished low past Sarah Quantrill to restore the two-goal lead.
Pennock went agonisingly close to another as the game entered stoppage time but her effort from the edge of the box just dipped over the bar as the Blades went searching for a fourth.
London Bees manager Lee Burch said: “We started quite brightly and for the first 20 minutes we were arguably the better side, and it came down to two big moments. “We’ve had a very good chance which we haven’t taken and they’ve gone down the other end, had a carbon copy chance and scored.
“They’re in a good place and all three strikers scored and that’s what it’s all about.”
Sheffield United (4-3-3): Becky Flaherty; Sophie Barker, Sam Tierney, Leandra Little, Naomi Hartley, Jade Pennock, Maddy Cusack, Katie Wilkinson, Alethea Paul, Aimee Palmer, Olivia Fergusson. Substitutes: Kasia Lipka for Little 66, Veatriki Sarri for Paul 71, Keri Matthews for Fergusson 81. Substitutes not used: Emily Batty, Chloe Dixon.
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