United Ladies' excellent unbeaten run of ten games from the opening day came to an end with a surprise home defeat to sixth place Bedworth United.
The Blades were not helped in their preparation by having four regular players out injured, two of whom, Jorden Spurr and Alex Hickerman, are expected to be out until around Christmas. Despite this, the home side were still favourites going into kick-off.
The game marked goalkeeper Kirsty Johnson's 200th first team game, the second highest in the club's history and nine years of dedicated service between the sticks. On a dull first day of British wintertime the game also marked the last league game United will play at Swallownest, before moving to the United Academy.
Bedworth surprised United by taking the lead on 11 minutes when Jodi Hunter headed home at the back post from a corner kick. United probed for the equaliser and nearly found it when Sophie Bell crossed for Rachael Ruddach to head downwards only for goalkeeper Kim Dougherty to pull off a fine save.
Bell did provide the equaliser herself, however, on 35 minutes, cutting in from the left and firing a fine goal to level the scores. All square at the break.
Despite United making most of the play they were hit on the break twice as the half got going. Kirsty Farnsworth was a thorn in United's side all game with her pace and nine minutes into the half charged down a clearance by Johnson and followed up to put Bedworth 2-1 ahead. Nine minutes later Alex Shilton's low shot made it a shock 3-1 lead.
United responded straight away and Ruddach was leading by example and headed in a flighted free-kick from Jen Pearson for 3-2.
The remaining 25 minutes should have seen United pull the game back with the lion's share of possession. Veteran striker Tania Marsden was put on to aid the recovery but she and others couldn't find the equaliser and United eventually ran out of time.
Blades: Johnson, Hopkinson, Neary, Hartley, Bell, Smith (Marsden), Ruddach, Hall (Wainwright), Pearson, Brown, Carroll.