United Ladies clinched the East Midlands Premier League title with their 11th straight league win, this time away at bottom of the table Ruddington Village. The Ladies needed only a point going into the game to be mathematically sure of securing first place. Manager Dan O'Hearne had a full squad at his disposal and went for a positive 3-5-2 starting formation.
The hosts have struggled after coming up into this level but gave a good account of themselves in the opening phase of the game. However, it was United who went ahead after 12 minutes play when an Alex Hickerman cross from the United left aimed for Tania Marsden eluded both its target and 'keeper and went straight into the goal. United went route one for a second goal on 20 minutes when defender Molly Cawthorn sent a great through ball into space for Marsden to chase and the experienced striker made no mistake with a deadly accurate finish.
Three minutes it was 3-0 when right wing-back Sophie Bell crossed for Jen Pearson to head against the Ruddington crossbar and Rachel Ruddach to follow up the rebound from close range.
Plucky Ruddington kept going and pulled a goal back on the half hour. The stiff cross wind had caused problems for both sides already and a well whipped in corner kick deceived United's defence and went straight in. That was only the third away goal United had conceded in the league all season. United had a few shots off target before the whistle for the break. At 3-1 United were fairly comfortably on their way to the points needed.
United stepped up the possession in the second half and created several good chances. Jen Pearson made it 4-1 after 55 minutes with a fine shot from outside the box. As the pressure continued United had two goals disallowed for offside, firstly a Bell header and then a shot from Ruddach. A mixture of defending in numbers and at times wayward United finishing kept the scores the same until the 75th minute when a short corner was crossed in by Jorden Spurr for defender Nat Froggatt to flick home for 5-1.
With five minutes left Kim Brown made it 6-1 with a low drive and the scoreline began to reflect the number of chances created. In the end the scoreline wasn't the most important thing as the three points were gained and thus the championship secured.
At the end of the game the United players allowed themselves to celebrate after a long season. Manager O'Hearne summed up: "Stats don't lie, we have been the best team by far in the league this season and the Ladies fully deserve all the credit in clinching the league trophy with two games left to go. "Personally it's been a rollercoaster since I arrived at the club three seasons ago but we have turned it around by bringing in not just good players but good people as well and now we are reaping the rewards."
The Ladies have two home games left to play with the visit of Kettering and then Peterborough. United will be attending the league cup final /awards presentation on 21st May at Arnold Town FC where they will receive the league trophy.
Blades: Johnson, Cawthorn (Hopkinson), Froggatt, Hartley, Bell, Ruddach, Spurr, Hickerman, Brown, Pearson (Carroll), Marsden (Celi).