Ladies First Team vs. Guiseley Vixens (1 : 2)
FA WNL Northern Division
In spite of a fantastic penalty save from Sheffield FC's Lauren Santoro, writes Oli Coultas, it was Guiseley AFC Vixens who returned home with all three points after a 2-1 win at the Home of Football.
A battling performance from Sheffield saw them go ahead just before the half-hour mark - Megan Tinsley crossing superbly from the left wing to the feet of Ellie White, who took her time and calmly placed it past Vixens' goalkeeper Bethan Davies to put Sheffield one-nil up.
But the lead wasn’t to be taken in at the break. A corner was swung into the box by Sophie Walton and met by Guiseley captain, Alarna Fuller, who headed home into the corner from close range.
Guiseley nicked the win just minutes from time. Liv Auker playing a ball over the top of the defence to Ellie Casper who took a touch and shot past substitute ‘keeper Santoro to send the away side happy.
There were talking points in the game. After a penalty was awarded to Guiseley midway through the second half, Club ‘keeper Elizabeth Hobson got her marching orders. But substitute Santoro stepped up and her first touch in the game saw her dive correctly to save Walton’s penalty.
The majority of the match was played in high spirits, with both sides attacking with intent. Molly Havard had an early chance to put Sheffield ahead early on, when she linked up well with Lisa Giampalma but Havard's shot unluckily clattered the post.
Minutes later, an indirect free-kick was given in the box for the home side for an apparent back-pass. The ball was played back and struck well, but was stopped on the line by the Guiseley defence.
Megan Tinsley and Molly Johnson went close in the first half, but Sheffield couldn’t quite find the back of the net until White put the hosts ahead in the 28th minute.
Guiseley had their chances in the first half as well. Liv Auker having the pick of the bunch with an acrobatic effort which went just over the crossbar. But it was a set piece that resulted in the equaliser, Fuller finding space at the back post to nod home Walton's delivery.
The second half saw both teams going at it. Giampalma found herself space in the box and was playing the ball, taking a touch before shooting, but Davies makes herself big to deny her the goal. Guiseley's Beth Stanfield then saw her volleyed effort bounce back into play after hitting the post on the hour mark.
The penalty and sending off in the 66th minute was the changing point in an evenly matched game. After the dismissal, Sheffield gave a good account of themselves playing with ten, but the extra player showed towards the end of the game.
Giampalma had a good chance to put Sheffield two-one up when Tinsley crossed but her header couldn’t be directed goal-bound.
A late Sheffield chance had fans on their feet thinking a goal was certain. Millee Clarke (pictured below) with a driving run into the box, making the angle just right, but a fantastic recovery slide by Fuller denied her opportunity.
But with time running out, though, Sheffield hearts would be broken as they were found high up the pitch allowing Auker to expolit the space up the right, deliver a ball into the box, where substitute Casper was on hand to finish coolly.
In spite of plenty of added on time, Sheffield couldn't find the breakthrough required in spite of throwing everything at it, including sending the whole team up for a last gasp corner. Guiseley's goal near the death will leave Sheffield downhearted after an overall well-battled performance.
“We came into today's game looking for three points to try to kick start our November", admitted Sheffield FC manager Kyle O'Reilly. "Sadly, that's not happened despite putting ourselves in a good position to do that."
"Over the 90 minutes, we’ve had the better of the chances and could have been a couple of goals up, but the difference has been they’ve taken their opportunities and we’ve not. A moment of madness and some lapses in concentration have hurt us, and have given us a lot of work to do in the latter stages."
"In spite of being a player down, we’ve still plugged away looking to get ourselves back in the game, and frustratingly nearly did too!"
"For the neutral, it was great entertainment; for us, its an opportunity passed up to move ourselves up the table. There's no time to dwell on this though, as we have to crack on and work doubly hard against Hull City this week-end in a game both teams will want all the points.”
Photos courtesy of Hollie Molloy.