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Women's Football News
Sheffield FC's match against Sheffield Wednesday was arguably the most intriguing of the opening day fixtures in the Northern Combination and not just because it was a local derby.
Sheffield, promoted as North East Women's Regional League Premier Division champions and with six former Wednesday players in their matchday squad, were making their debut at Combination level, while Wednesday were looking to bounce straight to the FA Women's Premier League following relegation from the Northern Division last spring.
Sheffield grasped the early initiative and went ahead on seven minutes following a corner conceded when Danni Maslin spilled a low cross by Clare Holmes over the line by the merest fraction. It was a very close call, but the assistant referee was on the right side of the pitch to have an uninterrupted view.
Carla Ward met Kerry Parkin's corner and arguably Maslin should have made a clean catch, though she may have been unnerved by conceding the corner. Liz Gomersall saw the chance and before Maslin could recover, had stabbed the ball into the net.
Another header by Ward was well saved, but at the expense of a corner met by Holmes whose header was going wide until met by Gomersall in an aerial tussle with Maslin and Wednesday captain Leanne Severns, the last named coming off worse and requiring lengthy treatment after being sandwiched.
Gomersall's touch sent the ball goalwards and across the line via post and an unsuccessful attempt by Maslin to grasp the ball.
So, halfway through the first half and the hosts were enjoyed a scoreline they perhaps could only have dreamt of, but better was to follow as Kayleigh Mitchell scored direct from an inswinging corner on the left just before the half hour mark with Gomersall's presence at the near post being an unwanted distraction for Maslin.
Wednesday were not at the races in the first half, but an injury sustained late on caused Gomersall to be substituted shortly after half time and while it had been her presence in the Wednesday area which had proved so influential before the interval, her absence from her more accustomed defensive duties was most noticeable when Wednesday scored what proved their consolation just before the hour.
Beth Gingell's free kick saw Rachel Skeemer get goalside of keeper Caz Whiteman, who had come off her line, and Steph Spence was left to head into an empty net.
Wednesday improved in the second half, but with five youngsters, all summer signings, making their competitive debut, it was asking too much to salvage any reward from 3-0 down.
(Report by Julian Barker)
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