Sheffield United back to winning ways against Lewes despite Rood stunner

Katie Rood, pictured in action for New Zealand, scored a stunner for Lewes.
Katie Rood, pictured in action for New Zealand, scored a stunner for Lewes.

Sheffield United got back to winning ways in the FA Women’s Championship with a good performance and narrow win away at Lewes on Women’s Football Weekend.

Goals before the break from Jade Pennock, who continued her good form, and a stunning strike from Veatriki Sarri put the Blades in control before an equally good strike from Katie Rood made for a tight last half an hour.

The Blades started on the front foot and it was Maddy Cusack who went closest when she fired in a free-kick which was held by Faye Baker.

Just minutes later United did take the lead as Pennock continued her superb form. Cusack was the provider and after steadying herself in front of goal, Pennock slotted home past Baker to make it 1-0.

Carla Ward’s side maintained their momentum throughout a dominant first half and went close when Katie Wilkinson saw a header cleared off the line.

It was 2-0 before the break when Sarri let fly from 30 yards and the ball nestled in the top corner to double the lead.

The second half was a tighter affair with less clear-cut chances but the visitors were still dominating the ball, though it was Lewes who halved the deficit when Rood hit a stunner across Becky Flaherty and into the far corner.

There was a return to action for Kasia Lipka with ten minutes to go as the Blades looked to hold onto a vital three points, which they did without Flaherty being overly troubled in the final stages of the game.

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Lewes boss Fran Alonso said: “I think we were very poor in the first half. We didn’t stick to the gameplan. We worked all week on the gameplan and then on the day we just didn’t do it.

“We asked why at half-time but we were already 2-0 down – we know Sheffield United are dangerous on the counter and we gave them too much space.

“The second half I thought we were the better team. They looked stronger than us on balance during the game so it’s a disappointing day for us.

“We didn’t create the chances we wanted. We were a bit more defensive and if you concede two goals in the first half then it’s a big ask against a good team in top form.”

Sheffield United boss Carla Ward said: “That three points is probably the best three points we've had this season. We've dominated the game, the ball and we knew if we could play in between the lines we'd have a lot of success.

“We were disciplined, we were controlled, we were thoroughly deserving of the points and I thought the girls were outstanding.

“Second half they got into our half a couple of times and posed a couple of questions but never worried us.

“That for me is one of the most disciplined performances I've seen from the girls this season and I said to them that win is huge.”

Lewes (5-3-2): Faye Baker; Sophie O’Rourke, Rhian Cleverly, Caitlin Hayes, Danielle Lane, Ella Powell; Ellie Noble, Ava Rowbotham, Emily Donovan; Katie Rood, Jess King

Substitutes: Charley Boswell for King 46, Filippa Savva for Rowbotham 46, Emma Jones for Noble 73

Substitutes not used: Sam Quayle, Annie Timoney, Laura Hartley, Amy Taylor

Goals: Katie Rood 60

Sheffield United (4-3-3): Becky Flaherty; Sophie Barker, Leandra Little, Naomi Hartley, Veatriki Sarri; Sam Tierney, Aimee Palmer, Maddy Cusack; Jade Pennock, Katie Wilkinson, Olivia Fergusson

Substitutes: Alethea Paul for Wilkinson 66, Kasia Lipka for Palmer 80, Chloe Dixon for Sarri 80

Substitutes not used: Emily Batty, Keri Matthews

Goals: Jade Pennock 12, Veatriki Sarri 38

Bookings: Cusack 36

Referee: Steven Hughes

Attendance: 503