Graham Abercrombie’s side suffered an opening day 1-0 defeat away to Stoke City on Sunday, with Ali Hall sealing the deal with a superb volley from a corner. Sheffield substitute, Ellie Millar, had the chance to equalise late on, but headed just over the bar.
After an even and slow start, the hosts had the first chance of the game on four minutes, when Beth Roberts smashed a shot from 20 yards straight over the bar.
Three minutes later, Sheffield got their first chance of the game after Ashleigh Edwards received the ball from a long throw and hit a shot straight at Daniela Kosinska in the Stoke goal.
Stoke had their second chance of the game on 14 minutes: Ali Hall burst through midfield and hit a long-rate effort that was comfortably held by Liz Hobson in goal.
The chances dried up until the 21st minute, when Nicola Hudson’s deep free-kick almost squirmed in the net but Paige Crossman was there to clear the ball off the line.
Stoke continued to create the better chances with Hall meeting Kelsey Richardson’s corner and just heading over the bar from six yards.
On 25 minutes, Stoke should’ve taken the lead when Abby Hunt went through on goal, but a superb stop by the goalkeeper, Hobson, denied her. Izzy Sullivan almost scored for Club just before half-time as she turned the Stoke midfielder on the edge of the box and hit a curled effort just over the bar.
The second half got underway, and Hunt tried her luck from distance but her effort was tipped out by Hobson for a corner.
The first chance of the second half for Sheffield came on 53 minutes when Brooke Marsden hit a dangerous ball across goal that looked to be beating Kosinska, but the City ‘keeper was able to get a hand to it.
The hosts took the lead on 59 minutes. After an array of set pieces into the box, Hall volleyed the ball into the net from a corner after a scramble in the box saw the ball bounce out to her to smash a shot just under the bar.
A buoyant Stoke were immediately on the front foot again as Roisin Kivel received the ball on a counter-attack, cut on her left, and hit a powerful shot straight at Hobson.
Crossman created another great chance for the visitors with a fantastic cross to the back-post which Marsden was narrowly unable to get a touch on to send it over the line.
A double substitution by Sheffield on 72 minutes saw Brooke Smith and Ellie Millar replace Brooke Marsden and Olivia Harness.
Sheffield seemed instantly reinvigorated, but hopes of a fightback soon took a hammerblow as Nicole Kemp reacted to a poor refereeing decision, and was shown a straight red card.
A minute later, Hunt broke forward and hit a shot low and hard towards the corner of the goal, however, despite her efforts the shot was saved comfortably by Hobson.
Gina Camfield was replaced by Georgia Wilson on 77 minutes, and Hobson made another tremendous save shortly afterwards, picking a strong Stoke header out the top corner.
The unmarked Ellie Millar met Sullivan’s deep set-piece and headed just over the bar, which turned out to be Sheffield’s last chance of the game.
Sheffield FC: Hobson, Crossman, Kemp, McLoughlin, Housley, Griffin, Harness (Millar 72), Edwards, Sullivan, Camfield (Willson 77), Marsden (B Smith 72)
Unused Substitutes: Pearson, Parsons
Stoke City: Kosinska, Hudson, Bowyer, Gibson, Roberts, Richardson, Hall, Kivel, Hunt (Pemberton 65), Hughes (Steele 80), Dudley-Jones (Garner 87)
Unused Substitutes: Brown
Report by Charlie Walden; Photography by Josh Myers