Sheffield FC Women suffered a narrow 2-1 away defeat to Sunderland AFC Women in the FA Women’s Northern Premier Division.
A penalty spot goal by Holly Housley opened the scoring for Club, but a quick response by Sunderland saw Kiera Ramshaw’s header make the scores level before Maria Farrugia’s impressive solo goal secured the points for the Black Cats in the second half.
A fairly even first 15 minutes of the game gave way to an excellent spell for Sheffield, the team knocking the ball round well on the immaculately manicured pitch surface at the Academy of Light.
Two quick chances fell to the visitors as Housley’s first-time volley was smashed high of the target from 20 yards, and then young Charley Docherty’s side-footed effort flying just over the bar from close range.
A good break from Rebecca Knight down the right saw her whip a cross to Docherty who headed narrowly wide of the target on 22 minutes as Sheffield continued to impose themselves on the game.
Sheffield were forced into a premature change after half an hour as Brooke Marsden sustained an injury after causing the hosts problems up the left-hand side, and was replaced by Paige Crossman.
Shortly after, Knight was sent tumbling in the area on 37 minutes after latching onto the ball in a crowded penalty area, and Housley stepped up to firmly place the penalty high and left of Claudia Moan in the Sunderland net.
However, Club’s deserved lead lasted just three minutes as a Sunderland corner delivery from the left-hand side found the unmarked captain Ramshaw, who placed a comfortable header past Laura Parsons from close range, levelling the scores going into the interval.
The second half saw both sides create good chances early on with Emily Scarr’s edge of the box free-kick effort hitting the bar for the hosts, and Docherty’s left-footed shot in the box being saved superbly by Moan.
The hosts increased the pressure as the half went on and their persistence paid off on 68 minutes when Farrugia dribbled past everyone, got into the box and guided a low effort past Parsons, the visitors claiming a handball in the build up but nothing doing.
Sunderland almost doubled their lead on 78 minutes when Jess Brown’s six-yard curled effort was cleared amazingly on the line by Brooke Smith with her head.
In spite of a very creditable effort from Sheffield to get back into the game in the closing stages, the score at full-time finished: Sunderland AFC Women 2 – 1 Sheffield FC Women.
Sunderland: Moan, Beer, Herron, Griffiths, McCatty, Ramshaw, Joice, Farrugia, Brown (Warren 85’), Scarr (McInnes 76’), Blakey (Manders 62’).
Subs not used: Cowling, Studholme.
Goals: Ramshaw 41’, Farrugia 68’
Sheffield: Parsons, McLoughlin, Smith, Housley, Griffin, Marsden (Crossman 32’), Camfield (Edwards 62’), Conroy, S Smith (Giampalma 86’), Knight, Docherty
Subs not used: Pearson, Hobson
Goal: Housley 37’