Three penalties, a red card and a controversial goal as Sheffield United narrowly lose to Liverpool

Liverpool moved to within one point of second in the FA Women’s Championship after prevailing 1-0 in an incident-packed game of three missed penalties against Sheffield United.

Sunday, 25th April 2021, 7:55 pm
Jade Pennock missed a penalty as Sheffield United Women lost to Liverpool

Reds goalkeeper Rylee Foster was stretchered off in injury time after dramatically saving Jade Pennock’s spot-kick as Blades chased a late equaliser, Amalie Thestrup scoring the only goal of the game controversially in the 30th minute.

Taylor Hinds was sent off for handling the ball to give away the third penalty of the game, after Katie Wilkinson for the Blades and Kirsty Linnett for the visitors earlier also missed from 12 yards.

Despite the defeat, Blades boss Neil Redfearn was happy with what he saw from his players after a hard-fought encounter.

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"I'm proud and delighted with our performance today against a full-time side," he said. “We have played some good stuff and dominated large parts of the game.

“I can't comment on the goal because I didn't get a good view of it but the girls thought she was offside.

“I'm not criticising our two players for missing penalties - they have both been absolutely brilliant for us all season and it takes courage and toughness to step up and take them.

“We are still fighting to finish third, if we possibly can, it has been pretty much neck-and-neck with Liverpool all season. But the bigger picture is that we are trying to build a team to play in the top league and that takes time.”

Liverpool opened with the lively Linnett forcing Blades goalkeeper Fran Kitching into a diving save with a shot from the edge of the penalty area in the third minute.

But it was the home who squandered a golden chance to take the lead in the 23rd minute when Courtney Sweetman-Kirk was sent sprawling just inside the box, but striker Wilkinson drilled her penalty low against the post and behind for a goal kick.

Instead, it was Liverpool who took the lead when good play from Melissa Lawley and Linnett opened the way for Thestrup to tap home from point blank range.

Several Blades players staged a long and concerted protest that the Liverpool striker was offside but referee Magdalena Golba awarded the goal.

It could have been still worse for the hosts in first-half injury-time when Amy Rodgers saw a close-range shot deflected just wide and Rhiannon Roberts headed the resultant corner off target.

Blades applied most of the second-half pressure but Linnett missed a great chance to ease Liverpool’s afternoon when her spot-kick was well saved by Kitching in the 66th minute.

And then came a frantic finale, with Hinds sent off for a second yellow when handling a cross in the box and Pennock presented the perfect opportunity to equalise.

She couldn’t take it though, as Foster first denied her from the spot before suffering a nasty blow in stopping the rebound which saw her stretchered off as Liverpool took all three points.

To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com