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Match Reports

Bedworth United 0-5 United Ladies - report

20 March 2017

After the previous week's below par performance in the County Cup at Barnsley, United responded with probably their best performance of the season to win at title rivals Bedworth.


The league has been a real 'tortoise and hare' race with Mansfield Town leading all season and on Sunday they completed their 20-game programme with a benchmark points total of 43 to beat. United and Bedworth lead the chasing metaphorical tortoises with some six games in hand due to so many extra cup games each.


Sunday's game between the two was Bedworth's chance to close United's three point advantage. The Blades took a full 16-strong squad south into Warwickshire, Italian striker Melissa Celi was back in the starting XI after injury had previously cost her her place.


Bedworth are the only team thus far to have beaten United in the league so both squads were fully focused in the warm up on the task ahead. The first 20 minutes turned out to be quite a surprise as it was the Blades who immediately hit top gear, playing their great passing game and with clinical finishing stormed into a 3-0 lead !


Celi had already gone close, bending a shot that the Bedworth 'keeper did well to tip wide but after 10 minutes play she was put through and stroked United into a lead they'd never lose. The stiff breeze may have been at their backs but United were not using it for long ball tactics instead were using their usual on the floor passing game and opened Bedworth up again after 16 minutes. Rachel Ruddach finding Jen Pearson in the box, who finished with amazing technique, swivelling to volley for 2-0. When Tania Marsden was put through to drill in the third after just 20 minutes United were in dreamland, hardly a killer goal so early on but more than hoped for.


Bedworth, kicking into the wind, were struggling to get out of their half and finding every United player on top of their game. The game settled down up to the break, Bedworth nearly getting a goal back with a low shot just wide. 3-0 at the break and a perfect performance by United so far.


The opening phase of the second half saw Bedworth's best spell of possession as it was United kicking into the wind. However, the Blades defence stayed firm and in particular Nat Froggatt was as usual on the end of any high ball into the box to clear.


United weathered the pressured and conditions and began to threaten. On 76 minutes the game was effectively over when Kim Brown drove a cross into Celi in the box to neatly turn and fire United's fourth. Her second of the game and reward to her manager Dan O'Hearne for restoring her the starting line-up.


United still were not finished as Sophie Bell, who had worked so hard down the right touchline all game, was on the end of a diagonal ball from Marsden to make it 5-0 after 82 minutes.


United completed a very professional all round performance by keeping a clean sheet. Kirsty Johnson getting down to save a late Bedworth shot brilliantly at her near post, thus pushing the league clean sheet duration to 450 minutes. Remarkably United still have only conceded one goal away from home in the league this season. It was also the first time Bedworth had been denied a goal all season.


So the result means United have a six point cushion over Bedworth and seven over Peterborough, all three clubs have six games left to play with the Blades and `Boro to play twice yet.


On Sunday United host seventh placed Kettering Town Women at the SteelPhalt Academy, kick-off 2pm.


Blades: Johnson, Brown, Hopkinson, Froggatt, Hartley (Wainwright), Bell, Ruddach, Pearson, Spurr (Carroll), Celi (Smith), Marsden.


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