United returned to league action on Sunday with a very professional away win at Mansfield Hosiery Mills, repeating the score from when the two teams met earlier in the season.
With Mansfield's usual pitch still waterlogged, the game was switched the 3G pitch at Joseph Whittaker's school in Rainworth. As it proved the playing surface aided United's on-the-floor passing game and the visitors almost totally dominated possession throughout the game.
United travelled without any of their three recognised strikers so Sophie Bell was the one leading the front line for this one. United have shown great strength in depth this season with two-thirds of all the team's 100-odd goals scored from midfielders and so it proved again.
Bell was actually really unlucky not to convert any of her first half chances, hitting a post, forcing two fine low saves and even chipping just wide when put through. United's industrious captain, though, did provide the breakthrough goal when she floated in a cross for Jen Pearson to convert after 36 minutes.
Despite the lion's share of possession the half-time score was just one-nil to United thanks to a lot of spirited defending by Mansfield.
From the restart Mansfield had their best spell of possession for the opening few minutes before United regained the upper hand. United were soon back passing so well and probing so effectively that the Mansfield defence were opened up in twice succession. Pearson setting up Christina Skull for a cool clip past the onrushing 'keeper for 2-0 on 52 minutes. Her first goal since she rejoined the club, it marked both United's 100th goal this season and the 16th different player to score.
Three minutes later it was 3-0 when winger Shannon Smith cut inside to hit a blistering shot home and effectively secure the win. That was the cue for United manager Dan O'Hearne to deploy his two substitutes in Paige Wainwright and Jorden Spurr, the latter returning after around four months out injured.
Goal number four wasn't far away on 64 minutes and almost a repeat of the opener, Bell crossing for Pearson to finish at the far post.
United were so comfortable that full-back Cara Hopkinson was sent up as the second striker and she forced a great save onto the crossbar from a header in the search for more goals. United did get number five right at the end when long-serving Rachel Ruddach headed in Bell's corner and that completed a very professional performance in every department, with special praise for Nat Froggatt, who was named player of the match,
Blades: Johnson, Hartley, Froggatt, Cawthorn, Hopkinson, Smith (Spurr), Pearson, Ruddach, Skull, Brown (Wainwright), Bell.