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Sheffield FC recorded their sixth victory in a row when beating Derby County 4-0 on Sunday, to preserve their lead of two points at the top of the Northern Division.
Two goals in each half equalled the Yorkshire side's biggest league win of the season to date but captain Carla Ward wasn't entirely satisfied with the team's display on the day.
"It wasn't our finest performance," she admitted to Women's Soccer Scene. "But at the same time, it was a very disciplined and gritty display from the team, and one where we worked really hard to get the points.
"It was a funny game where I don't think anyone stood out individually but we were hugely effective as a unit and our work rate was really good. Having said that, our goalkeeper Claire Wallhead, who for me has been outstanding this season, made a few crucial saves which could have swung the game at any point."
The margin of Sheffield's victory was all the more impressive when noting they were without leading scorer Jodie Michalska. "It's never easy when you're missing top players, especially Jodie with her natural instinct in front of goal," said Carla, who scored one of the goals herself. "But I think it's made a difference this year with so many different players getting on the scoresheet - it's taken the pressure off Jodie a bit too.
"We have a few players now nearly hitting double figures and it is always a good thing to have more than one player firing."
After a good debut season in the Premier League where they finished runners-up to Manchester City, Sheffield were tipped to be amongst the front runners this time around but their flying start may even have taken themselves by surprise.
"I don't think anyone at the club would have expected to be unbeaten after six games," admitted Carla. "This league is very competitive and I think anyone can beat anyone on their day. We didn't play particularly well in the first few games and rode our luck at times to some extent, but the character we have shown to see games out has been brilliant.
"We've put in some much better performances recently and have started to play somewhere near the level we hoped we'd be able to hit this season."
Can Sheffield therefore keep this run going and make a serious title challenge? "I wouldn't say we were especially confident as we are very aware of the standard of every other team in this league, but it's certainly something we want to keep going for as long as we can," replies Carla.
"We've worked so hard over the years to get where we are today, and if we can keep putting the work in on and off the pitch and continue to improve, then there is no reason why we can't be in the top half again come the end of the season."
The Northern Division title race is traditionally a very close and open one and Carla is not expecting things to be any different this time: "The standout performers for me are Blackburn Rovers and Nottingham Forest who have both experienced winning this league before, but then you have to take note of what Preston North End are doing right now too with a new manager and a driven squad.
"I think, as this league has shown over the years, it only takes someone to go on a winning run of three of four games and they put themselves straight into the mix, so it would be foolish to write anyone off just yet."
(Photo courtesy of Paul Robinson)
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