Sheffield FC Ladies recorded a vital first win of the FA WSL 2 season against Bristol City Women before the league reaches its mid-season break.
With the visitors having a chance to take top spot in the table and Sheffield languishing in 9th with just one goal, Willie Kirk’s side were favourites for a match where tough pitch conditions played a part in proceedings.
Goals from Chelsea Flanagan and Jodie Michalska before the break either side of Rosella Ayane’s superb effort set Sheffield well on their way before Hannah Dale added a third with 15 minutes to go.
Flanagan put Sheffield ahead within five minutes when Ellie Wilson felled Dale inside the box, the striker stepping up to send Leach the wrong way.
On loan attacker Ayane smashed home a superb strike after Emma Lipman misjudged a ball into the box but Michalska responded instantly for the hosts, brilliantly heading home Ellie Gilliatt’s free-kick.
Bristol pushed for an equaliser, Millie Farrow being denied brilliantly by Juliana Draycott before Dale’s free-kick missed everyone and nestled in the bottom corner of the Bristol goal.
The shine was taken off the win late on when Hannah Cain went down under a heavy challenge and had to be stretchered off with her left leg in a brace. But Sheffield held on to record a first win for Zoe Johnson.
* Factfile -
Sheffield FC Ladies 3 (Flanagan 4, Michalska 43, Dale 70), Bristol City Women 1 (Ayane 33).
Sheffield FC (4-3-3): Juliana Draycott; Danielle Cox, Billie Murphy, Emma Lipman, Ellie Gilliatt; Sherry McCue, Hannah Dale, Jodie Michalska; Hannah Cain, Chelsea Flanagan, Hope Knight
Substitutes: Emma Johnson for Knight 70, Chloe Dixon for Cain 88, Kenedy Owen for Flanagan 90
Substitutes not used: Francesca Sullivan, Rhema Lord-Mears, Emily Owen, Clare Wallhead
Booking: Jodie Michalska 90
Bristol City (4-3-3): Caitlin Leach; Loren Dykes, Grace McCatty, Ellie Wilson, Megan Alexander; Chloe Arthur, Jodie Brett, Georgia Evans; Tatiana Pinto, Millie Farrow, Rosella Ayane
Substitutes: Olivia Fergusson for Alexander 65, Poppy Wilson for Evans 72, Flo Allen for Pinto 90
Substitutes not used: Hannah Reid, Frankie Brown, Emma Tustin, Katie Jones
Referee: Ian Dudley
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