Team Hallam and the Black and Golds drew at Hillsborough with Women’s Football 1s finishing 1-1 with goals from Grace Wardle and Sydnie Naylor.
Before kick-off, a minute’s applause was impeccably observed for former University of Sheffield Club Captain, Cerys Beth O’Boyle, who died in September. An incredible player, a much-loved captain and a true Black and Gold.
In true University of Sheffield spirit, it was indeed the Black and Golds who started on the front foot, making several breaks down the right.
However, the early pressure didn’t amount to any real chances, with some crosses fizzing dangerously across the six-yard box from both wings without a decisive touch on the end of them.
Despite coming under early pressure Team Hallam, lead by Sheffield United Women’s midfielder Sam Tierney, picked themselves up and created some dangerous opportunities.
The first real chance of the game fell to Hallam just a few minutes later as Katie Williams’ deflected drive from the edge of the box was saved smartly by Emily Batty in the Black and Gold net in the 12th minute.
Those chances seemed to spark Hallam into life as they proceeded to dominate the next 10 minutes with Tierney, Williams and Marsh controlling the midfield.
We had to wait until the 26th minute for the next good chance of the game and this time it fell to Uni of on the counter. The ball broke kindly for Carly Jackson down the right and her cross almost ended up in the far corner, striking the post and bouncing out to a Hallam shirt.
Both defences were certainly on top as the first half drew to a close but that didn’t stop Hallam from having some of the game’s best chances to take the lead.
The second half started in a pretty uneventful fashion as neither team were able to stamp their authority and, as the game wore on, it started to become an increasingly scrappy affair.
However, with just over 20 minutes to go, a corner from Jeffrey was directed home by Wardle to give Team Hallam the lead. The centre half was quick to celebrate with the bench and delighted the Hallam faithful.
But just two minutes later, the Black and Golds found an equaliser as a surging run from centre forward Jackson resulted in a hard hit shot towards Hallam ‘keeper Huscroft, who could only palm the shot to the feet of Naylor who calmly slotted the ball in the back of the Hallam net.
Team Hallam were hoping their lead could be restored as quickly as it was taken away as Wilcock raced clear after a mistake from Taylor, but Whittle was on hand to make a crucial last-ditch block.
Minutes later, Hallam player Csomor met a deep cross from the left at the back post, only to divert her effort wide.
The winner nearly arrived late on as Tierney’s free-kick was met by Williams’ head, only to strike the post. The ball was still in play but Batty rushed off her line to deny Wilcock the winner.
In a last-gasp attempt to take home the bragging rights, Tierney charged through the defence and seemed likely to cap off a wonderful display, only for Whittle to once again make a crucial intervention.
The draw was probably a fair result as a dangerous Sheffield Hallam attack was well-matched by a strong and resolute University of Sheffield defence. Both sides should be content after sharing the spoils in what was a hard-fought draw.
Image: Dan West