Sheffield FC Women secured their first points of the new season with a 3-1 win at home to Loughborough Foxes, thanks to a brace of goals from Gina Camfield and a Loughborough own goal.
It was a scrappy opening 15 minutes for both sides, with the first chance of the game falling to Sheffield on 16 minutes when Paige Crossman met Brooke Smith’s corner with a bullet header which was tipped onto the crossbar by Loughborough keeper, Holly Mayfield.
Camfield scored the opening goal on 22 minutes, tapping the ball in from five-yards after Crossman’s one-on-one effort was saved but spilled by Mayfield.
Shortly after, the visitors almost got level, but a superb back-post save by Laura Parsons denied Mia Walter’s side-footed volley.
Loughborough’s persistence paid off on 41 minutes when Ella Ritchie got on the end of a through ball to the right and smashed a low effort into the bottom left corner.
It didn’t take long for Graham Abercrombie’s side to respond though, as high pressure from Sheffield caused Mayfield’s attempted clearance to be brilliantly blocked by Camfield, sending the ball straight into the net just before half-time.
Half-time finished: Sheffield FC Women 2-1 Loughborough Foxes.
Soon after the restart, half-time substitute Brooke Marsden whipped a corner to the back-post and a scramble in the box caused the Loughborough defender to get the last touch, sending the ball into her own net to put Club in the driving seat.
The game should have been dead and buried just moments later as Ashleigh Edwards cut in and curled a shot from the edge of the box which was parried by Mayfield across goal, but the incoming unmarked Crossman side-footed onto the bar and over from 5 yards out.
The let off seemed to re-energise Foxes, and the remaining 30 minutes became much more of a battle than it should have been for the hosts, and had the visitors finishing been a bit more precise, Sheffield could well have rued their missed chances.
In the 70th minute, Edwards thought she’d extended Sheffield’s lead when she smashed the ball into the bottom left corner in the area, but the assistant referee had put his flag up for offside.
Edwards turned provider as she sent a perfectly-weighted through ball into the run of Crossman between the Loughborough centre halves, but the Sheffield player hit her low shot too close to Mayfield who saved well with her feet.
The Foxes turned up the pressure in the last 20 minutes with Rebecca Knight’s cross from the right side smashing against the crossbar and out, and then a Lauren Nicholl’s effort from inside the box deflecting narrowly over the bar.
Camfield had a chance to secure her hat-trick just before full-time when she struck a first time shot over the bar after Edwards had squared the ball across, but Sheffield was able to see out the game and secure a 3-1 victory.
Sheffield FC: Parsons, Housley, McLoughlin (c), B Smith (Kemp 46’), Griffin (Pearson 80’) , Conroy, S Smith (Marsden 46’), Crossman, Giampalma, Edwards, Camfield
Subs not used: Hobson, Harness
Goals: Camfield 22’, 44’ and Loughborough OG 47’
Loughborough Foxes: Mayfield, Taft, Sharpe, Webb, Mcgrother, Steele (c), Lowe, Cooper, Walters, Nicholls, Ritchie (Knight 58’)
Subs not used: Miller, Mathews, Marshall
Goal: Ritchie 41’