Sheffield FC beat promotion favourites Bristol City 3-1 to record their first win of the season and establish themselves as something of a bogey side for the Vixens.
With all the talk pre-game being about Bristol City gaining revenge for Sheffield’s surprise draw at Stoke Gifford Stadium early in the season, it came as a shock when Sheffield took the lead early on through a Chelsea Flanagan penalty. Hannah Dale was felled in the box, and the tall striker made no mistake from 12 yards.
Just after the 20 minute mark, Sheffield should have made it two. Jodie Michalska and Hope Knight combined well to fashion a chance for Flanagan who’s shot was well saved by the feet of Caitlyn Leach.
Bristol City then grew into the game as the front three of Tatiana Pinto, Rosella Ayane and Millie Farrow grew into the game, and it was Ayane who would draw the Vixens level just after the half hour mark. The Chelsea loanee beat the offside trap and as the ball dropped over her shoulder she let it bounce before hitting a sweet left-footed half volley over Juliana Draycott and into the top corner.
A momentum swing towards third-placed City was expected, but Sheffield came back at them strong, causing problems if not creating chances. The chance came just before the break: a deep free kick from Ellie Gilliatt found Michalska just inside the box and she headed powerfully and accurately past a diving Leach to make it 2-1 going into the break.
As expected, Bristol City created more chances in the second half. Top scorer Farrow first shot wide, and then forced Draycott into a great save after the ball had broken to the striker following a penalty area scramble.
As Bristol got more desperate, space opened up for Sheffield, Hannahs Cain and Dale found space in and around the defence. It was Dale who sealed the victory 16 minutes from time with a free kick from wide that evaded both Sheffield and Bristol heads and found the far corner of the net.
Bristol still pushed for the goals to leave Dronfield with a point, but they couldn’t find a way past a stubborn wall of blue, and counterattacking opportunities were presented for Sheffield. Sadly one of these counterattacks ended in a suspected lower leg fracture for Hannah Cain as the England under 17 international tried to find a way past Eloise Wilson.
Despite this, a first WSL2 victory was cause for plenty of celebration at the Home of Football Stadium and Sheffield will look to continue their good form when they face the same opponents at home in the Continental Tyres Cup at home after the mid-season break on the 2nd July.