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Kick off 14:00 (UK)

2-2
13 September 2020 Venue Technique Stadium Attendance

Kick off 14:00 (UK)

Sheffield United
2 - 2
Leicester City

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Match Previews

Lipka looking to build on London City win

13 September 2020

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Midfielder Kasia Lipka says confidence is high within the camp ahead of Sunday's home clash against Leicester City.

Neil Redfearn's side sit top of the FA Women's Championship after last weekend's 4-1 win at London City Lionesses, with the Foxes close behind after their 3-0 win at home to Blackburn Rovers.

Two goals each from Katie Wilkinson and Jade Pennock earned United the three points, and Lipka says the result has brought belief to the squad after seven months without a game due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think it gave everyone confidence. Pre-season was really different with COVID-19 and bubbles and having a new manager. We all know the strength in the squad, but to go out and put in that performance in and get that result, it's just given everyone that belief that we can still get those results.

"We've kept the majority of the squad together and added some as well, but to just get such a convincing result is a big boost for this weekend."

With Pennock and Wilkinson continuing their fine form from last season, the pair now have 48 Blades goals between them, with Mel Johnson also added from Aston Villa where her 12 goals helped Villa to promotion last season.

All three contributed last Sunday with Johnson playing a big role in the opening two goals, and Lipka believes the attacking trio will strike fear into any opponent this season.

"When you've got those players in front of you, you know we'll score goals. Adding Mel as well, we have the top three scorers from last season. Going out with those three in front of you just gives you so much confidence. The way they all link-up as well, they all worked really well together and that will scare teams. Having the three top scorers from last season is a statement in itself."

For Lipka, last Sunday marked her first full 90 minutes in almost two and a half years after recovering from an ACL injury she picked up in May 2018 while playing for Sunderland.

After a year out, Lipka rejoined the Blades after spending time at the club as a youngster, but only made a handful of appearances as she continued her recovery from the injury.

But with 90 minutes and an excellent performance behind her, Lipka described it as an "amazing" feeling to get through a full game.

"It's been such a journey. When people say ACL you think it's nine months, but it's not nine months, it's not as simple as being out for nine months and then being back to where you were. It's been really challenging, there's been difficulties with COVID-19 and I had a lot of niggles last year, but in some ways, I feel even better now than I did before my injury.

"There's a lot of relief but also a lot of joy that I managed to get through the game and felt like I was getting back to my best too.

Lipka was playing a slightly different role than her usual defensive midfield position, as part of a new-look Blades midfield which included Naomi Hartley and Rhema Lord-Mears, the latter who was also making her first league start for the club.

The combination clearly worked though as United cruised to an opening day win, and Lipka believes head coach Neil Redfearn has already made his mark on the team despite only being in charge for a few weeks.

"I was playing a bit higher than usual and I enjoyed that bit of freedom. We had Ellie [Wilson] making her debut too and she was really strong.

"It's been a relatively short pre-season for everyone but we've clicked really quickly. Neil has only been in a few weeks but is already instilling basic principles of how we want to play, so regardless of where you play those principles remain the same, I think that's become quite infectious. Everyone's buying into that and it showed on Sunday."

The Blades now return home to Chesterfield's Technique Stadium for the first time since February to face a rejuvenated Leicester City on Sunday.

The Foxes have recruited heavily and moved to a fully professional set up, with a number of new signings, including former Blades Sophie Barker, Sam Tierney and Olivia Fergusson.

While the game is unlikely to be a defining one given it's still early in the season, Lipka knows her and her team mates have the ability to get the result wanted on Sunday, but is not underestimating the challenge.

"It's so early and they've got pretty much a new team. We know a lot of those players but early on it's hard to look at other teams. It's a cliché, but it's very much look at ourselves and what we can do because we know on our day we can compete with any team in the league.

"We'll look at them and how we can minimise their strengths, but ultimately it's how we play on the day and confidence wise we're going into the game off the back of a really good result."


United Women return home to the Technique Stadium this weekend to face Leicester City on Sunday 13th September, 2pm kick-off, with the game streamed live at faplayer.thefa.com/home/womens-championship

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Match Reports

United Women 2-2 Leicester - report

13 September 2020

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Neil Redfearn's Blades were pegged back by a last-minute penalty against Leicester City, but came from behind in the second half to lead 2-1 amidst a share of the points.

Returning to the Technique Stadium for the first time in seven months, United fell behind inside two minutes when Millie Farrow tapped home from close range.

While it was far from the ideal start against a full-time professional outfit, the Blades fought back in style and controlled large parts of the first half.

Sophie Walton went closest when her looping effort came off the crossbar, before Mel Johnson scored her first for the club and her first of the afternoon with a brilliant effort from range.

It gave United the momentum to build on at the start of the second half and the hosts took the lead when Johnson was well placed to tap home after Jade Pennock's effort had been pushed away.

Both sides gave it everything in what became a match of attrition, both teams knowing how important the points could be despite being early days in the campaign.

United couldn't really find a chance to seal it as Leicester pinned them back looking for an equaliser, but the centre-back pairing of Leandra Little and Ellie Wilson repelled everything the Foxes threw at them.

But the visitors got their point in the dying minutes when debutant Hannah Coan was adjudged to have fouled Flint inside the box, the Leicester striker picking herself up to fire home past Kitching for a share of the points.

"I'm super proud of them," said head coach Neil Redfearn. "They battled, they fought and I thought we deserved to win. They're full-time, we were hanging on a little bit but there wasn't much in it. You're looking at a good performance today. I thought we were magnificent today. Everyone will beat one another, all we can do is concentrate on ourselves and make sure the level is good and it was good today."


Blades: Kitching, Wilson, Little, Hartley, Lipka (Lord-Mears 72), Pennock, Wilkinson (Matthews 88), Dixon, Walton, Sarri (Coan 67), M. Johnson.
Unused subs: Batty, Docherty, A. Johnson.

 

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