United Ladies returned to league action after a weekend off and took all three points against Birmingham and West Midlands Ladies in a comfortable win at the SteelPhalt Academy. The Blades maybe out of all three cup competitions but the league form continues to impress, stretching an unbeaten run to 12 games.
United took a while to get into their stride but made the breakthrough after minutes 19 from a corner. The ball dropped to Hollie Barker, who controlled and volleyed home for her first ever Blades goal.
United, at times, were frustrated by Birmingham's high defensive line but still carved out the best clear-cut chances of the half. Barker turned provider for Tania Marsden to slot home United's second after 37 minutes. Barker nearly made it three just before the break when her header was cleared off the line.
The home side stepped up a gear for the second half, playing some very neat football and were comfortably in control. Sophie Bell made it 3-0 from inside the box, set up by Nat Shaw on the hour. The same two nearly made it four when Shaw's chip was dropping wide but for Bell to reach the ball on the byline, however, she could only hit a post with her tight-angled shot.
After 64 minutes it was four when Barker set Shaw up to shoot, her shot being parried by the goalkeeper but Marsden was on hand to tap in.
United's squad strength was underlined with the three substitutes of quality to keep the pressure on when Nat Froggatt, Millie Kenyon and Jodie Hartley all came on. Shaw made her third assist of the game on 71 minutes, she robbed a full-back, raced into the box and set up Kim Brown for an easy finish and thus completing the scoring at 5-0.
Evie Robinson had a shot saved at close range and in the final minute Kenyon hit a post as United saw the game out after a good second half performance.
Interim manager Carla Ward, who has set high standards for the team, summed up: "We weren't at our best but to go out there and score five goals for the third consecutive league game, you have to be pleased. There's a real togetherness among the group and I think that's really showing in our play."
With fourth-placed Burton losing at home to fifth-placed Radcliffe, United have consolidated third position and are now five points behind second-placed The New Saints in the FA Women's Premier League Midlands Division. On Sunday (4th) United host second-bottom Rotherham United.
Blades: Houldsworth, Robinson, Marshall, Neary (Froggatt), Barker, Brown, Pearson, Beanland (Hartley), Bell, Marsden (Kenyon), Shaw.