One of the teams mixing it at the top of the Women’s Championship, likely to push for the title all the way, Sheffield United missed out on the chance to go top over the weekend. We spoke with head coach Carla Ward about the match, her ace in the hole and the weekend ahead.
Up against a Charlton Athletic side who hadn’t scored a league goal yet this season, the Blades were left frustrated after a 2-2 draw that saw the Addicks claim their first point. For Ward, although the match didn’t finish with the score she would have wanted, it has given her team plenty to think about moving forward this season.
“We’ve reflected, looked at it and picked the bones out of it and it was a frustrating one. The first half we didn’t execute what we wanted to and we made it very, very clear at half-time what we wanted. I think the second half we were a lot better and we created a lot of chances but at the end of the day in that final third we weren’t ruthless enough. We’ve just had a meeting for 45 minutes discussing it and the team have taken good ownership of it and it’s about making sure now we kick on from it. Teams are probably going to come and do that and it’s about learning how to break them down because naturally that might happen now.”
For United it wasn’t just two dropped points but a missed opportunity to go top of the league as Aston Villa and Durham had shared the spoils in their midday clash.
“Yeah, it does make it more frustrating but what the weekend showed is this league is not as straightforward as people think. Nobody’s going to walk it and win every single game, every team can take points off every team and we talked about that at the start of the season. We just have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Having stayed a little off the radar last season, Jade Pennock has played her way to the forefront of people’s minds with her strong displays for the Blades. The adaptable 26-year-old the star of the high-flying attack that boasts Katie Wilkinson and Olivia Ferguson.
“I think people forget where she played the first half of last season. We put her at right-back a lot and now she’s in a more familiar position in that attacking front three. I make no secret of it and people laugh at me the amount I go on about Jade but she’s an unbelievable talent, probably doesn’t get the credit she deserves and for me she’s been one of our standouts.”
Back in Continental Cup action this weekend [at home to Blackburn Rovers], Ward, like most of her counterparts, will use the competition to rotate her squad where possible but with a strong chance of reaching the knock-outs, the coach isn’t just using the match as an opportunity to minutes.
“The league is a priority, that’s where we want to compete but we want to take the cup seriously so this weekend it will be the same again. We want to go strong, but there will be some changes and some chances given to other players.”
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