Sheffield United Women lost 3-2 to Lewes on Saturday in a thrilling encounter at Bramall Lane leaving the side one place, but nine points from the foot of the table.
Ellie Mason almost gave Lewes the lead in the 5th minute, managing to pirouette around a defender after taking a heavy touch when stealing the ball from goalkeeper Stenson, but she dragged her shot just wide of the far post.
A free kick from out-wide in the 10th minute resulted in Sophie Haywood managing to head the ball on target at the back post, but the effort lacked the power to challenge the Lewes goalkeeper.
Lewes’ midfielder Amelia Hazard had a good game, carrying on her fine form from last week’s FA Cup match against Manchester United, and her ball across the box in the 14th minute would’ve resulted in a certain goal if not for a fine block by United’s defence.
It was United in the end who scored first. Courtney Sweetman-Kirk bagged her fifth goal of the season from a corner midway in the first half, using movement to get free at the back post and head past Sophie Whitehouse.
Hazard continued to impose her influence on the game, and the 22-year-old battled superbly to win the ball and drive it across the box, which Kirsty Barton swept first time into the top corner only 6 minutes after United took the lead.
The game did not stay at 1-1 long after the break, with Ellie Mason capitalising on a defensive error in the 46th minute to drive down the left into the box and fire into the top corner.
United’s response was strong. It was 2-2 a few minutes later when defender Naomi Hartley cushioned a wide free kick into the far corner after a superb delivery from Bex Raynor.
It was three goals in 15-minutes – and the best moment of quality in the game shortly after. 18-year-old Lewes midfielder Grace Palmer picked the ball up just over the half-way line and played a stunning through ball with the outside of her boot to slot in Ellie Mason, who finished coolly for her second goal of the game.
The game grew into a bit of a stalemate in the final 30 minutes, but Georgia Walters was presented with a half-chance right at the death when a Hazard tried to head clear a free-kick which had been dinked into the back post.
The clearance fell to Walters, who tried to cut across the ball but sent it wide past the right of the goal.
After the game, United manager Jonathan Morgan said he was disappointed with what he saw as a self-inflicted defeat – claiming that the goals were more a gift from errors than creativity from the opposition.
Morgan said “We’re building, we’re trying to become better in possession which, in fairness to the girls, over the course of this year they haven’t had a lot of that because of the way the season’s gone.
“We want to make sure we keep focused to retain this level.”
Lewes boss Scott Booth was also disappointed with the manner of the goals his side conceded, but understandably delighted with the win.
He reserved praise for Grace Palmer, who’s pass must go down as one of the assists of the season.
He said: “Grace is doing really, really well, she’s learning all the time, she’s developing all the time, and she’s very young but she’s had a lot of game time this season.
“We’ve seen already, that she’s a player constantly developing and getting better every game.”
The match was streamed for free on The FA Player, which you can find here to watch full matches, highlights, and interviews from the women’s game.