• 23/08/2023

Eden Hinchliffe’s late goal helped Sheffield FC Women earn a 1-1 opening day draw with Loughborough Lightning at the MEPS International Home of Football. 

The substitute struck with 11 minutes to play when she swept home a loose ball from close range to take a share of the points.

It was a deserved equaliser for Club who fell behind on 16 minutes after Zynia Delglyn played in Lauren Purchase who slotted the ball under Leah Kellogg for 1-0. 

Sheffield looked for the winner late on but were shut out by Loughborough as both sides had to settle for a draw in the first game of the FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands season.

The fierce contest began with Club on the back foot as Millie Fugler reacted first to clear away Georgia Hewitt’s low cross on two minutes.

At the other end, a dangerous delivery from captain Brooke Smith sailed out of play with no Sheffield body managing to meet the cross. 

In a frustrating first half for Sheffield Women, it was the visitors who went in front on 16 minutes when Zynia Delglyn threaded the ball through for Lauren Purchase to race in behind and slot home from close range.

John Bennett’s side were feeling the pressure as Loughborough almost made it two at the end of the half as Delglyn headed wide Abby Hateley’s cross much to Kellogg’s relief.

The second half started how the first ended with the visitors on top once more with Lydia Tilbury-Henry firing a shot wide from the edge of the area before tapping over Hewitt’s cross from a yard out on 53 minutes as Club were let off again.

They clicked into gear shortly afterwards as a lovely passing move allowed Smith to get into the penalty area but she couldn’t find the finish as she fired over the bar.

Back came the visitors however as substitute Jessica Collyer drove into the box and hit a low shot which was kept out brilliantly by Kellogg at the near post.

That miss proved costly as Club got back level on 79 minutes when Hinchliffe arrived in the area to tuck away the equaliser which trickled over the line for 1-1. 

From then it was Sheffield on top but they couldn’t make their dominance count late on as they had to settle for a well-earned point.