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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

21 November 2019 Venue New Ferens Park Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

0 - 4
Sheffield United

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Match Previews

Emily Batty targets cup and league double

20 November 2019

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Goalkeeper Emily Batty admits she's learning all the time after making her first two appearances for Sheffield United Women in the team's last two Continental Cup ties against Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers.

Batty has played back up to Becky Flaherty in the FA Women's Championship but was handed her debut against Villa last month before making her home debut against Rovers 24 hours after her 21st birthday at the start of November.

Ahead of Thursday's critical Group A clash with group leaders Durham, Batty is now settling into life at the club.

"I was really nervous before the [Villa] game but the girls really eased me into it. They were really supportive and the coaching staff were as well. It was just really good to get out there on the pitch."

United fell to a 3-1 defeat but Batty made several big saves during the match and was in goal again when Blackburn came to Sheffield earlier this month with the Blades looking to bounce back from defeat.

Batty was assured throughout and was unlucky not to keep a clean sheet after getting finger tips to a late Blackburn penalty, but she made a good save minutes later to ensure they score remained 4-1 to the Blades.

"I was millimetres away!" she said of the Blackburn penalty. "It's so nice because I feel like I've learned so much in the few months that I've been here and to be given the minutes to play, I'm grateful for it because it shows Carla has trust in me, she has faith in putting me in the goal."

Batty's adaptation to life at Sheffield United has been helped by her former Doncaster Rovers Belles goalkeeping coach, Tom Pressman, also making the move from Doncaster to Sheffield in the summer, the two working together last season before linking up again at Shirecliffe in pre-season.

"He's a very good coach. He works on the little details you wouldn't think would be necessary, the little adjustments you don't realise are so important until you get out on the pitch and it's crazy how much I've learned from him in such a short space of time."

Batty though has had a new goalkeeper to work with in Flaherty. The Northern Ireland international also joined the club this summer from FA Women's Super League side Everton, but the two have wasted no time in striking up a good working relationship.

"We just get on. We have the same sense of humour, we're always laughing and I think it probably annoys Tom half the time! But it makes sessions more enjoyable and we really encourage each other so it's been really good."

Batty started her career in the Lincoln City Centre of Excellence before joining Belles as a 16-year-old. She was part of the squad alongside fellow Blades Sam Tierney, Leandra Little, Sophie Barker and Jade Pennock that won the last FA WSL 2 title in 2018.

Batty remained with the club after demotion to the FA Women's National League and played regularly last season, becoming the club's number one before making the step back up to the second tier with the Blades.

With a double-header against Durham coming up with Thursday's clash preceding Sunday's league encounter as the Blades prepare to make their bow at Chesterfield's Proact Stadium, Batty is targeting nothing less than maximum points from both games.

"I don't think I've ever played the same team within the space of a few days but we're looking at this and hoping for six points between the two games, anything less and we'll be disappointed. I think we've got the squad and the capabilities to achieve that."

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Match Reports

Durham 0-4 United Women - report

21 November 2019

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Sheffield United Women recorded a superb 4-0 victory at Continental Cup Group A leaders Durham to jump ahead of their rivals with just one game to go to decide who makes the quarter-finals.

A first United goal for teenager Keri Matthews opened the scoring before Aimee Palmer added a second with a superb free-kick before half-time.

Jade Pennock continued her form with another goal just after the hour mark before substitute Maddy Cusack rounded things off with a stunning volley just two minutes from time.

United asserted their authority on the game early doors when Pennock headed Veatriki Sarri's cross onto the crossbar inside a minute.

Sarri fired over shortly after before Durham had a brief hold on the game but couldn't make the most of their pressure before the Blades took the lead.

Alethea Paul's driving through ball found Matthews who promptly ran through and slotted home her first goal for the club.

Less than 10 minutes later and Palmer made it 2-0. A free-kick for a foul on Pennock outside the box gave Palmer the opportunity to step up and curl home an unstoppable effort past Megan Borthwick.

From then on the Blades rarely relinquished control on the match and added a third to practically secure the three points with 25 minutes to go.

Cusack had only been on the pitch two minutes when she recreated her link up with Pennock from Sunday's win at Lewes, slotting the ball through the Durham defence for Pennock to make it 16 goals in 15 games.

Cusack got on the score sheet herself late on in superb fashion. A ball dropped to the midfielder outside the box and Cusack promptly hammered a first time volley into the net to put the icing on the cake and leave Blades top of Group A.

Blades: Batty, Barker, Tierney, Little (Fergusson 69), Hartley, Pennock, Paul, Dixon, Matthews (Cusack 62), Palmer, Sarri (Wilkinson 56).
Unused subs: Flaherty, Lipka, Fletcher.

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