Ladies First Team vs. Blackburn Rovers (0 : 7)
FA WNL Northern Division
League Champions for the past two seasons, Blackburn Rovers, showed their class as they put Sheffield FC to the sword in a comprehensive 7-0 win at the Home of Football, inflicting Sheffield’s worst league defeat since their inaugural season in 2003/04.
An early onslaught from the visitors brought Sheffield back down to earth after two consecutive wins. Saffron Jordan struck on three minutes with a superb turning volley into the top corner, opening the flood gates as Ellie Stewart and Lagan Makin put the game to bed within the first six minutes, with Sheffield over-awed by their distinguished opponents.
Lisa Giampalma almost responded after 15 minutes when a good Ellie White delivery found the head of the winger, who in turn beat the goalkeeper with a fine header only to be denied by the woodwork.
Blackburn continued to show their class and ruthlessness though, and on the half hour mark Natasha Flint, given too much time, powered a fourth into the back of the net with ease. Minutes later, the England U23 international was on the scoresheet again thanks to a super team goal: Jess Holbrook playing provider for Flint to bury past the helpless Liz Hobson for a 5-0 lead.
Blackburn weren’t finished there, and Holbrook would cap off a dominant first half by adding a sixth just before the break.
With the game dead and buried, Club came out brighter in the second half following some honest half-time words, in a bid to limit their embarrassment and rescue some pride.
Millee Clarke and Giampalma provided high energy in the forward lines, and combined well to create a couple of openings, and overall, the team looked to move the ball with more idea and purpose but ultimately to no avail.
Flint almost grabbed her hat-trick but was to be denied by the cross bar, while Makin added a seventh for Blackburn, with her second of the game in the final ten minutes.
A dejected Sheffield boss, Kyle O’Reilly, offered a summary of his thoughts post-match:
“After a positive week with two wins on the bounce, Blackburn Rovers proved themselves to be a number of levels above us today. If we were to ever get anything from the game, we had to be at our best and then a little bit more.”
“Sadly we’ve not started well and found ourselves 3-0 down after six minutes. A mixture of complacency and fear I think held us back, especially first half, and teams like Blackburn will eat you alive if that’s the case.”
“They came to us with massive amounts of experience and success at a senior level, both things we lack as a squad. Yet, they still ran themselves hard and maintained a high standard for 90 minutes, and we have to learn from their mentality and work ethic very quickly or we run the risk of similar outcomes as we now have a very tough few fixtures against the leagues stronger sides.”
Photos courtesy of Paula Johnson.