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Match Reports

United Ladies 4-1 Long Eaton - report

19 February 2018

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United made it 15 league games unbeaten with a hard-working home win.

This was the fourth consecutive game played at home, of which maximum points were gained, pitching United well into the top three. Boss Carla Ward made three changes to the team that started against Radcliffe with experienced pair Nat Froggatt and Jorden Spurr, plus new signing Georgia Stevens, brought in.

The game took a while to really get going with two stoppages and both sides struggling to gain an upper hand. Long Eaton had a couple of good chances with a fierce shot just over and one dragged wide. United slowly got going and new signing Stevens was soon involved down United's left flank.

After a few half chances United finally made the break through after 42 minutes with Stevens squaring to Nat Shaw for an easy tap in. United finished the half strongly and a second followed before the interval, the central defensive pair of Marshall and Froggatt caused problems and the latter doubled the lead.

Long Eaton were still very much in the game and pulled a goal back 19 minutes into the second half after a defensive mix-up gifted an open net. That aside, United were well organised, calm and played a neat, short passing game, backed by hard work when not in possession. The two-goal margin was restored only a minute later when Shaw drilled a shot home from an acute angle for her 19th of the season in all competitions.

United's intensity and fitness made the final phase a little more comfortable which led to several more good chances. Sub Tania Marsden hit a Long Eaton post as did Stevens twice in the same move. The debutant's endeavours were finally rewarded four minutes from time when she cut in from the left and placed a low shot home into the corner of the visitors' net to secure all three points.

United manager Ward commented afterwards: "Having made so many changes from last week I was pleased with how the girls played. It was a fairly stop-start first half but we always tried to play the right way and the second half showed that. Credit to Long Eaton, I feel their league position doesn't reflect their quality and they certainly made us work for it. It was very pleasing to not only come away with the points but four goals and a very good debut for young Georgia Stevens."

The run of form has taken United to second in the league, though the other top three teams have games in hand. The Blades now enter their final phase of the season with all six remaining games all away from home, including visits to both the other title rivals.

Blades: Houldsworth, Brown, Froggatt, Marshall, Barker, Bell (Kenyon), Spurr (Beanland), Hartley (Marsden), Stevens, Shaw, Pearson.

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