Sunday 6th November was a good day for the red half of Sheffield. At Bramall Lane the men were enjoying their record FA Cup highest score whilst at the same time three and a half miles away at the SteelPhalt Academy, the Ladies were setting their record league highest score!
United were still below full strength with four regulars out but welcomed back Molly Cawthorn to the defence. Manager Dan O'Hearne, who recently gained his UEFA B Licence, is like some Premiership bosses developing his side using a flexible three at the back set up for selected games. Ruddington Village have struggled since coming up into this league after losing key players in the summer.
The visitors, however, shocked United from kick-off when Jenna Yates put Ruddington ahead after just 42 seconds! Buoyed by this the visitors put up spirited resistance and a frustrated United took some 23 minutes before Kim Brown was put through to net an equaliser. Three minutes later United went ahead when Sophie Bell teed up Jen Pearson to shoot number two and United were at last getting the upper hand.
Rachael Ruddach, on her 36th birthday and still as influential as ever in the middle of the park, came agonisingly close to scoring when her volley hit a post and trickled along the line into the 'keepers grateful arms. Sophie Bell made it 3-1 on 40 minutes from a one-on-one and right at the end of the half set up the vastly experienced striker Tania Marsden who flung herself to make it four from point blank range.
The second half saw United really get into their stride and three minutes in Jen Pearson scored the best goal of the game with superb technique, flicking a volley from just inside the box. United then hit top gear with a further four goals in even minutes .Marsden was put through to make it six, Brown's shot rebounded off a defender for seven, Pearson then scored her third with a turn and shot for eight and Bell fired straight back in a poor goal-kick out for nine.
With the game lost, Ruddington kept on battling to their credit and their 'keeper made two very good saves in particular during a 15 minute lull as the rain returned to try to dampen United's day.
On 76 minutes Bell was put through by Brown to complete her hat-trick for number 10 and two minutes later Marsden set her up for her fourth and number 11.
Ruddington were really struggling now to stop United's relentless attacks, Pearson hit a post and Marsden missed two good chances. Bell returned the earlier compliment by setting player-of-the-match Brown up for number 12 and that looked like it as the clock ticked down.
Marsden wasn't quite finished yet, however, and was set up for a tap in by Jodie Hartley in the last minute for 13-1, a score equalling United's best in a league match. Finally, with the last kick of injury time, Marsden struck again for her fourth and took it to 14-1.
Ruddach summed up the game: "After the frustration and disappointment of last week's result we were desperate to put that behind us and get back to winning ways. The girls put in a really disciplined performance." Meanwhile, manager O'Hearne added: "Whilst pleased with the scoreline we are not getting carried away and realise we still need to keep working hard and learning from our mistakes in order to become successful."
The win takes United to second in the table.
Blades: Johnson, Hopkinson (Wainwright), Neary (Hall), Cawthorn, Hartley, Smith, Bell, Ruddach, Pearson, Darbyshire (Marsden), Brown.