Ladies Off The Mark With Home Win Against London Bees
Sheffield FC Ladies bounced back from defeat away at Oxford United on the opening day of the WSL2 season, to record a 3-1 win at a soggy Home of Football Stadium against London Bees.
Sheffield forward, Katie Anderson, was the star of the show as the hosts overcame London Bees to record their first win of the season in an open game in Sheffield.
Anderson set the tone early on, with two shots in the first ten minutes, her first - a clipped effort over the head of Bees' keeper Nicola Hobbs - hitting the crossbar after just 35 seconds, before cutting inside from the right to put a second shot wide of the bottom corner just three minutes later.
But it was the young forward's third effort which opened the scoring on 15 minutes after an excellent start to the game by Sheffield. A good move saw the hosts work the ball across the pitch from left to right with Jenna Dear finding Anderson's run into the penalty area, and the forward cut inside her marker to fire home from 12 yards.
London Bees started to threaten, using their left-hand side to good effect via the impressive Paula Howells. Danielle Gibbons was out of her six yard box smartly to save at the feet of Destiney Toussaint, before Sheffield's keeper was called into action from a venomous Emma Beckett free-kick from 20 yards which Gibbons palmed to safety with a strong diving save.
The visitors pulled level on 24 minutes when Sheffield were caught scrambling at the back, Gilliatt making a great covering tackle initially, but the hosts never recovered their shape and the ball finally broke to Howells who fired home for 1-1.
Bees thought they'd taken the lead when Toussaint found the back of the net on 30 minutes with a well-executed header, but the linesman’s flag ruled it out as Sheffield regained their discipline at the back.
Sheffield promptly restored their lead eight minutes later as Anderson produced a trademark cut-in from the right, but this time she squared for Dear to finish with a bending first time shot beyond the gloves of the diving Hobbs.
The second half remained as open as the first, with regular chances at both ends throughout the half. A couple of dangerous set pieces from Bees were cleared by Sheffield who then extended their lead when Anderson broke through the midfield once more, finding Emma Johnson – the visitors kept out her shot, but Melissa Johnson was on hand to steer the loose ball over the line for 3-1.
Bees' best chance to get back into the game came with 25 minutes to go when Jo Wilson couldn't direct her header goalwards off a Howells cross. Instead, it was Sheffield who should have extended their lead: Melissa Johnson should've scored from Hannah Dale’s low cross, and Dear saw a good effort tipped over the bar by Hobbs.
The visitor's substitute, Evie Clarke, might have pulled a consolation goal back in stoppage time, but a smart stop by Gibbons put paid to that, and Sheffield saw out the game to collect all three points.