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Kick off 13:00 (UK)

17 November 2019 Venue Lewes Attendance

Kick off 13:00 (UK)

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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

Lewes 1-2 United Women - report

17 November 2019

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Sheffield United Women returned to winning ways in the FA Women's Championship with a well-earned 2-1 victory away at Lewes.

Goals in the first half from Jade Pennock and Veatriki Sarri put Carla Ward's side well on their way to victory before Katie Rood pulled a goal back with half an hour to go.

As they have so often this season, United came flying out of the blocks and dominated the possession during the early exchanges.

It took just 12 minutes for the breakthrough to come and it was a familiar source of goals when it arrived.

Maddy Cusack's weighted through ball found Pennock who steadied herself and slotted beyond Faye Baker into the far corner.

The Blades continued to control the match without creating any clear chances, but Sophie Barker, Pennock and Cusack were lively in their link up play down the right while Sarri and Olivia Fergusson did similar on the left.

It was the movement and patience that opened up the space for the Blades' second goal. The ball was played out to Sarri who moved into space and promptly hammered the ball into the top corner from well outside the box.

Katie Wilkinson saw an effort cleared off the line before Fergusson saw a shot saved, but the chances began to dry up in the second half though United maintained control on the game.

15 minutes into the second half, Lewes halved the deficit when Rood ran forwards towards the edge of the box and fired an effort into the far corner.

Aimee Palmer curled a free-kick just wide as the Blades looked to respond but in the end Lewes couldn't create the chances to force an equaliser and United walked away with a deserved three points.

Blades: Flaherty, Barker, Tierney, Little, Hartley, Pennock, Cusack, Wilkinson (Paul 66), Palmer (Lipka 80), Sarri (Dixon 80), Fergusson.
Unused subs: Batty, Matthews.

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