A first return to the Home of Football in over six months was not a happy one for Sheffield FC Women who succumbed to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of a lively West Bromwich Albion, courtesy of goals from Shannon Stamps, Jade Arber x 2, Leigh Dugmore and Natalie Murray.
The visitors came rushing out the blocks with Shannon Stamps opening the scoring on just two minutes, curling the ball over Elizabeth Hobson, after receiving the ball in the penalty area off a Katie McLoughlin deflection.
West Brom’s free-flowing football had Sheffield pulled out of position throughout the first half, and allowed them to double their lead on 11 minutes when Jade Arber got on the end of a long ball and slotted coolly past Hobson.
Sheffield’s afternoon became even more uncomfortable shortly after as Albion got a quick third, Leigh Dugmore’s free-kick from the left beat everyone and planted in the bottom right corner on 17 minutes.
Izzy Sullivan had the best chance of the half for the Club as she hit a rebounded effort just wide of the post when Baggies ‘keeper Poppy Bastock spilled a long, looping cross.
The visitors continued to dominate the first half and half time finished Sheffield FC 0 – 3 West Brom.
The second half resumed, and it looked like the visitors were going to start as they did in the first, however, a phenomenal save from Hobson denied Natalie Murray’s one-on-one near-post effort from the right-hand side.
Things were starting to pick up for a much more resilient Sheffield, and they almost pulled a goal back on 57 minutes when Brooke Marsden cut in on the left-hand side and hit a brilliant curled effort onto the post.
The next 10 minutes were promising for Graham Abercrombie’s side with Marsden hitting a good free-kick at goal and a couple of dangerous corners into the West Brom box.
Marsden and Ashleigh Edwards were replaced by Georgia Willson and Jen Pearson on 69 minutes, but two minutes later, the visitors scored a fourth when Murray slotted past Hobson after receiving a precise through ball.
Graham Abercrombie made his final substitution of the game on 73 minutes with Olivia Harness replacing Sullivan.
Arber was really pushing for her second goal of the game and, after receiving the ball in open space, she hit a fantastic effort towards the top right corner which Hobson managed to tip the ball out for a corner.
However, a minute later, Hobson was unable to stop Arber’s effort after she latched onto a Murray pass across the box and side-footed the ball past Hobson to make it five.
The game slowed down in the last 10 minutes and full-time finished Sheffield FC 0 – 5 West Bromwich Albion.
Sheffield FC: Hobson, Crossman, McLoughlin, Millar, B Smith, Housley, Ashton, Edwards (Pearson 69), Sullivan (Willson 69), Camfield, Marsden (Harness 73)
Unused: Griffin, Parsons
West Bromwich Albion: Bastock, Vincze (J Davies 69), George (c), Orthodoxou, Baines, K Davies, Greaves, Dugmore (Nymoen 58), Stamps, Arber, Murray
Unused: Harper, James
Report by Charlie Walden; Photography by Josh Myers