York 1sts 1-3 Sheffield 2nds
York women’s first football team were again consigned to the disappointment of defeat as visitors Sheffield snatched a 3-1 victory on Wednesday afternoon. Goals early and late in the first half, and a third five minutes from time were enough to earn an injury-depleted Sheffield their second win of the season.
The defeat leaves York still searching for their first three points of the campaign, now four matches old, but many positives can be taken from their showing. Attractive long-ball play down the flanks exerted considerable pressure on the Sheffield defensive line but the finishing touch was frustratingly absent. York captain Maz Brewster urged an attack-minded approach from the outset and the team responded with the lively left-wing runs of Louise Kedge intimidating an exposed Sheffield defense and delivering accurate crosses across the face of goal.
However, York’s early spirit was soon dampened as defensive uncertainties allowed Sheffield midfielder Chloe Sprenger to latch on to an ambitious long-ball and round goalkeeper Annalie Schutz to score.
The home team matched their opponents throughout the opening half, but it was a Sheffield set-piece that proved decisive just before the break, doubling their advantage. A neatly-executed overhead kick from Nat Troggatt looped over the York goalkeeper after a left-wing corner had only been partially cleared.
In a lapse of concentration after the second goal, Sheffield allowed their opponents an immediate route back into contention. In first-half injury time, a perfectly weighted through-ball from the York midfield caught their opponents off guard and striker Ruth Morris slipped in unnoticed to narrow the deficit with a composed low finish.
Zoë Raffray was introduced at the interval to quicken the pace and seek an equalising goal for the hosts. The second half was, however, rather low key with chances rare at both ends. Sheffield were content to defend their advantage and their rearguard remained resolute. The home team were adept at switching the focus of attack, but could not find the telling pass.
Although lacking their first-half potency, Sheffield remained a fleeting threat with Tolu Osinubi dropping back from the forward line to orchestrate play. Having survived one goalmouth scramble, York finally saw the match slip from their grasp in the 85th minute. Having repelled a late York forward burst, the away side forced a right-wing corner with a swift break and, when York once again failed to clear the danger, Osinubi tapped in to cement the three points for Sheffield.
Speaking after the match, Brewster said, “it was a good performance overall and I thought the third goal flattered them somewhat.” The team will certainly have to focus on the emerging positives in preparing for next week’s home encounter with high-flying Durham.