Ladies Development Team Halted by Champions Liverpool
Two first half goals were enough to keep the points in Merseyside as Sheffield’s development squad gave themselves a mountain to climb at the Halton Stadium. A set piece and a defensive error ended Sheffield’s three match unbeaten run.
After the 5-1 win away at Durham, Club were looking to build on their momentum away at last season’s FA WSL Development Northern Division champions, Liverpool.
The game started at a high tempo with both sides struggling to build sustained periods of pressure or high quality chances. However, it was Liverpool asking the most questions.
A wide free kick midway through the half broke the deadlock. The initial effort was dealt with by the Sheffield defence, but Liverpool were quickest to react to the second ball, with Simran Jhamat slotting it away to open the score line.
1-0 soon became 2-0 when a searching ball caused confusion in the Sheffield defence, and the opportunistic Liverpool forward, Missy Bo Kearns, profited from a late-attempted clearance, slotting into an empty goal.
The break brought about an improved quality and, in turn, an open game of football in the second half, with both sides keeping the opposition defences on their toes. Shannon Durkin came close at the back post after a low driven cross eluded the Liverpool defence. Unfortunately, the Sheffield forward was unable to get enough purchase on the ball to halve the deficit.
Megan Tinsley went closest midway through the half when a clearance fell kindly to the fullback 20 yards out, and the resulting shot beat the keeper all ends up but the crossbar was to deny Tinsley her goal.
Ellie Hawcroft, a solid presence after her introduction, also went close late on forcing a save from the Liverpool keeper who managed to push the ball onto the woodwork.
Sheffield manager, Kyle O’Reilly, gave his thoughts following the game:
“Not our best day at the office. First half, we were off the pace and lacked any sort of idea and creativity, while allowing Liverpool to profit from their chances. From there, it was an uphill task, but all credit to the players – they tried to make a go of things in the second half but we can’t give teams a head start against a team like Liverpool.”
“I thought the substitutes all did well and gave us a little bit extra when they came on, but we could have played for six months and the ball seemingly wouldn’t have gone in for us. We’ll learn from it and build up again ahead of our final two fixtures.”
Sheffield FC Ladies Development team’s next match is on Sunday 22 April against Doncaster Rovers Belles at home.