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Ladies' Fixtures, League Table and Latest News from John Shepherd




Back row (L to R):  Graeme Driver (Coach), Helen Wakefield, Natalie Crofts, Sophie Thomas, Katrina Brett, Lynne Grainger, Kate Rowell, Lisa Bailey, Gemma Gale, Nigel Hughes (Coach)


Front row (L to R):  Sarah Wilson, Lauren 'Ozzy' Davids, Christina Wright, Nell Taylor (Captain), Helen Mitchell (Manager), Caz Whiteman, Jodie Crofts, Lisa Giampalma, Rachel Charles


Not pictured:  Clare Holmes, Chloe Sutton




North-East Regional Women’s Football League Division 1 (South) Table

(Final Position)






















Howden Clough










Castleford White Rose




















AFC Preston




















Ossett Albion










Harrogate Railway





















Bilton Athletic










Wigton Moor










Collingham Tadcaster









* 3 points deducted

Click Here To View SFC Ladies 2006-07 Match Reports

SFC Ladies' Results, Line-ups, and Odd Reports

North East Women’s Regional Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 20/04/08

Sheffield FC Ladies  1    Keighley Ladies  1 



Barring a miracle from Howden Clough, Sheffield virtually clinched the

league title this afternoon at the Sheffield United Academy with an exciting 1-1 draw against a strong Keighley side thanks to Lisa Giampalma's first half strike, writes Trevor Herrington.


The hosts started the game with a fresh wind in their favour, but it was Keighley who had the first real chance as Caz Whiteman diverted a shot wide with her legs. A few minutes later and it was the Keighley 'keeper’s turn to get into the action, reaching a fierce cross by Rachel Charles and just diverting it far enough away from the inrushing Clare Holmes. Gemma Gale's inswinging corner then saw two Sheffield players looking to get their head on it, which unfortunately resulted in Lisa Giampalma just heading it over Clare Holmes, who was right behind her and poised to score. It was all Sheffield at this point as, with the help of the wind, they pinned the visitors back in their own half. Next to try her luck was Lynne Grainger, whose effort from yet another Rachel Charles cross was just the wrong side of the post. Just past the fifteen minute mark and a rare foray into the Sheffield half almost saw the visitors take the lead when a defensive slip allowed a Keighley forward a free shot at goal, but luckily it was wide of the mark with Caz Whiteman well beaten. The Sheffield ‘keeper made amends moments later when Keighley broke through again, this time being on hand to smother the shot and avert the danger. At the other end, a free kick from Rachel Charles was met perfectly by the head of Lisa Bailey, but her effort was straight at the 'keeper. The breakthrough finally came on twenty minutes when good work in midfield by Lisa Bailey saw her play the ball into space, and there was Lisa GIAMPALMA to fire home into the top corner with a first time shot. Five minutes before the break a cross into the area from Lynne Grainger created mayhem in the Keighley defence, the ball eventually falling to Lisa Bailey who scooped her shot high over the bar. The half ended with a Keighley player receiving treatment on the field for a badly gashed head after an accidental clash of heads with Lisa Giampalma, Sheffield’s midfield powerhouse managing to recover enough to at least get to her feet before both teams retired the dressing rooms.


Sheffield started the second half once again on the attack as a Gemma Gale corner right into the box saw the ball break loose to Lynne Grainger, whose shot was well saved. With Keighley now having the wind at their backs they started to create more openings, the Sheffield defence having to be wary of the quick-paced forwards. The next goal would prove decisive, and the hosts once again bombarded the Keighley defence with a series of corners, Clare Holmes just missing out when Gemma Gale's perfectly flighted ball was deflected just enough to miss the Sheffield forward’s head with the goal at her mercy. On the hour mark Sheffield had a lucky escape when the Keighley number 3, playing up front, sprinted clear. Fortunately, Caz Whiteman did extremely well to get down quickly and turn the ball away. At this point there was very little to choose between either side, both teams playing extremely well. With seventy minutes on the clock the second goal of the game finally arrived, but it was the visitors who were rejoicing as, once again, the Keighley number three broke free only this time she made no mistake, firing a fierce shot beyond the outstretched hand of Caz Whiteman. Sheffield responded positively, with Clare Holmes shooting straight at the 'keeper when well placed. Lynne Grainger then had a good run to the byline before turning the ball into the area where Clare Holmes was once again handily placed, only this time her deft flick hit the underside of the bar and went back into play. (A slow motion replay was not available to prove whether or not the ball had crossed the line. I did manage to make a quick sketch, but this proved to be inconclusive - Editor). Keighley were under immense pressure during the last ten minutes, Lisa Bailey twice going close, first with a header and then with a shot that had the 'keeper beaten all the way as the ball went just the wrong side of the post. With three minutes left to play another Gemma Gale corner brought panic in the visitors’ defence as everyone missed it. Unfortunately, so did Katrina Brett who ghosted in at the back post but just failed to get the connection needed to divert the ball home. The last action of a very entertaining and exciting game saw Helen Wakefield deliver a cross into the area, and once again it was Katrina Brett who had made the run to get into an attacking position, but her header was wide of the mark.


So, as it stands at the moment, Sheffield remain on course to claim the league title unless Howden Clough can score 43 goals in their remaining two games against bottom-of-the-table Collingham Tadcaster (result unavailable as I write) and our opponents of today, Keighley. (Stop Press:  Howden Clough 4  Collingham Tadcaster 1  -  Editor). Nothing is one hundred per cent certain because, as you know, football's a funny old game. However, what is certain is that the whole Sheffield squad including players, coaches and manager should be congratulated for a fantastic job this season. The way the team have conducted itself, both on and off the pitch, has been exemplary and it has been a pleasure to watch them. Enjoy your end of season break ladies, you all deserve it, and here's to next season!


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Natalie Crofts, Lauren Davids, Christina Wright, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Lisa Giampalma, Nell Taylor, Lynne Grainger, Clare Holmes, Lisa Bailey

Subs:  Helen Wakefield (for Charles), Jodie Crofts (for Holmes), Katrina Brett (for Grainger)


Goalscorer:  Lisa Giampalma

Player Of The Match:  Lisa Giampalma



North East Women’s Regional Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 06/04/08

Collingham Tadcaster Ladies  0    Sheffield FC Ladies  13 



The last away game, and the penultimate game of the season, saw Sheffield romp to their biggest away win ever with a 13 - 0 annihilation of already relegated Collingham Tadcaster, writes Trevor Herrington.


The scoring started on 8 minutes with Lisa GIAMPALMA firing into the bottom corner. This was then followed by a brace from Lisa BAILEY  before Clare HOLMES then added two goals to the score. Five minutes before the break Lisa BAILEY was on hand again to get her hat-trick, which was followed three minutes later by Clare HOLMES, also completing her hat-trick. Just before the break it was the turn of Lynne GRAINGER to get on the scoresheet with a rare headed goal.


The second half provided no respite for the Collingham side, although the travelling fans had to wait until the hour mark for another goal, when skipper Nell TAYLOR was put through and coolly slotted the ball beyond the 'keeper. The woodwork was also playing a vital part to aid the hosts, with both Lisa Bailey and Lisa Giampalma hitting the bar in quick succession. Helen

Wakefield then went through on goal and also hit her shot against the bar. The visitors made it into double figures on 79 minutes when Rachel Charles squared the ball into the area for Clare HOLMES to tap into an empty net. The quickness of the visitors was proving the downfall of Collingham, who were trying to play the offside trap but, time and again, they were caughtflat-footed by the sheer pace of the Sheffield side. Clare HOLMES got her fifth of the afternoon with three minutes left to play, and two goals on the stroke of full time from Sarah WILSON and Helen WAKEFIELD brought the game to a close.


No surprise with the resul,t but it was good to see the side play

the match to the finish and boost their already considerable goal difference. With Howden Clough still having to complete their fixtures and Sheffield's last match being a month away, they remain top of the table with the job almost completed.


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Christina Wright, Lauren Davids, Lynne Grainger, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Lisa Giampalma, Nell Taylor, Helen Wakefield, Clare Holmes, Lisa Bailey

Subs:  Sophie Thomas (for Davids), Sarah Wilson (for Gale), Helen Mitchell (unused)


Goalscorers:  Clare Holmes (5), Lisa Bailey (3), Lisa Giampalma, Lynne Grainger, Nell Taylor, Sarah Wilson, Helen Wakefield

Player Of The Match:  Lisa Bailey



North East Women’s Regional Football League Division 1 (South)

Thursday, 03/04/08

Sheffield FC Ladies  5    Manvers Ladies  0



Sheffield put last Sunday’s defeat behind them with a comprehensive 5-0 win against Manvers at the Bright Finance Stadium, writes Trevor Herrington.


On a pleasant Thursday evening in front of a good size crowd, the hosts got off to a perfect start on the 10 minute mark when good team work released skipper Nell TAYLOR. whose shot beat the 'keeper. Clare Holmes then pulled a shot just wide, and Helen Wakefield then went close as the visitors found it difficult to contain the home side. An inswinging corner from Gemma Gale then caused panic in the Manvers defence as it hit the bar and went to safety. A sweeping move involving Natalie Crofts and Helen Wakefield saw Clare Holmes just miss the mark. Helen Wakefield then had a header well saved by the Manvers 'keeper. Just before the half hour mark the lead was doubled when, once again, good build up play released Jody CROFTS through on goal and she put the ball beyond the 'keeper’s outstretched hand. Five minutes later and Sheffield scored again. This time it was a good one-two between Clare Holmes and Lisa GIAMPALMA that enabled the diminutive powerhouse to slot the ball home. Christina Wright then had a great chance to get on the scoresheet with a header, but missed the target. The last action of a one-sided half saw Lynne Grainger fire just over the bar.


The second half saw Manvers make a rare sortie into the Sheffield half, gaining a corner kick, but this was soon cleared. On 50 minutes there was yet another goal for the hosts as a long ball forward from Christina Wright found quick thinking Jody CROFTS, who pounced on the indecisiveness of a Manvers defender and the 'keeper to nip between them and despatch the ball into an empty net. Still the chances came, with Helen Wakefield once again making the 'keeper produce a good save. The scoring was wrapped up on 77 minutes with the goal of the game. A great cross from Rachel Charles into the area found Lisa BAILEY waiting to volley it into the top corner of the net. Charles then had a chance herself, heading over from a Gemma Gale corner.


Overall, a convincing display with good passing and movement from a team that was solid throughout, with Caz Whiteman not having a single shot to save. Next up is the last away game of the season, at Collingham Tadcaster


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Kate Rowell, Christina Wright, Natalie Crofts, Gemma Gale, Helen Wakefield, Lisa Giampalma, Nell Taylor, Lynne Grainger, Clare Holmes, Jodie Crofts

Subs:  Katrina Brett (for Rowell), Rachel Charles (for Wakefield), Lisa Bailey (for Holmes)


Goalscorers:  Jodie Crofts (2), Nell Taylor, Clare Holmes, Lisa Bailey

Player Of The Match:  Natalie Crofts



North East Women’s Regional Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 30/03/08

Sheffield FC Ladies  3    Howden Clough Ladies  5 



Sheffield's league title hopes took a serious dent this afternoon as they went head to head against main rivals Howden Clough, writes Trevor Herrington. With the non-availability of the Bright Finance Stadium due to waterlogging, the game was switched to the Keepmoat Stadium second pitch - home of Doncaster Belles.


On a decent playing surface and in bright sunshine, the game got underway with Sheffield having the benefit of a breeze blowing in their favour. As both sides got to grips with one another it was Sheffield who were having more of the ball, but Howden were well marshalled at the back, giving the hosts little opportunity of a goalscoring chance. It was somewhat against the run of play when the visitors took the lead. A quick break upfield saw the ball spread to the right, and the cross into the middle found a Howden forward completely unmarked. She didn't waste the opportunity, heading home from from close range. A minute later and Howden were two goals to the good when the Sheffield back line was left flat-footed, allowing the visitors to beat the offside trap and lob the ball into the net over the advancing Caz Whiteman. Somewhat shell-shocked the hosts started to respond, with Lisa Giampalma's header being gathered by the 'keeper after a good cross by Gemma Gale but, on 21 minutes, Howden added a third goal with a shot from just inside the area. The visitors were buoyant at this stage, as well they should be considering that they had three attacks which all proved decisive, whilst at the other end Sheffield were struggling to pierce a solid defence. The hosts were unlucky when a Gemma Gale corner was headed over by Rachel Charles, but a few minutes later they were rewarded when a ball down the right channel was chased by Lisa Bailey, who then crossed into the area for Clare HOLMES to slot home. This joy lasted less than a minute though as, straight from the restart, some catastrophic defending let Howden score once again. The misery of the half was completed just before the whistle when Caz Whiteman failed to gather an easy ball, giving the visitors a simple chance to go into the break 5-1 ahead.


With the game virtually over as a contest, the hosts came out for the second half in a positive mood and had the visitors on the back foot, with Lisa Bailey firing just over the bar. Lisa Giampalma then just failed with an attempt from a great cross by Gemma Gale. Just after the hour mark Sheffield pulled a goal back when Nell Taylor's cross into the six yard area was poked home by Clare HOLMES. Howden then had a rare attack as they broke through the defensive line, but Lauren Davids was on hand with a great tackle to avert the danger. She was in the wars again a few minutes later, this time damaging her neck, which resulted in her having to be replaced by Natalie Crofts. With a slight reshuffle of the defence, the home side once again laid seige to the visitors’ goal, Lisa Bailey having the ball in the net only to be judged offside. With less than ten minutes to go Sheffield pulled another goalback when good work from Helen Wakefield, whose cross into the area came off the post with Lisa GIAMPALMA the first to react and stab the ball home. With less than five minutes to play it was panic stations in the visitors’ defence as they tried to clear their lines. They did mount another attack on the Sheffield goal but the shot was way over the bar. Despite the endless pressure Sheffield just couldn't get another goal as time ran out, much to the relief of the visitors.


This was a game Howden had to win to stay in with a chance of the title, whilst Sheffield would dearly have enjoyed beating their rivals for the first time this season and, but for a  disastrous first hal,f they could have got something out of the game. However, it should not be forgotten that the pride and committment of their second half display showed that they are still a team working hard for each other and, with just three games left to play, they are still in the driving seat to win that elusive title


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Kate Rowell, Lauren Davids, Christina Wright, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Lisa Giampalma, Nell Taylor, Lynne Grainger, Clare Holmes, Lisa Bailey

Subs:  Helen Wakefield (for Charles), Natalie Crofts (for Davids), Jodie Crofts (for Rowell, Katrina Brett (unused)


Goalscorers:  Clare Holmes (2), Lisa Giampalma

Player Of The Match:  Lauren Davids



North East Women’s Regional Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 16/03/08

Ossett Albion Ladies  0    Sheffield FC Ladies  3 



A first half penalty from Caz Whiteman and goals in the second half from Rachel Charles and Helen Wakefield saw Sheffield take over top spot in the league this afternoon at Dimple Wells, writes Trevor Herrington.


On a pitch which still had plenty of grass, it was the visitors who made the first telling move of the afternoon when Lynne Grainger's cross was met by the head of Clare Holmes, who  couldn't direct it on target. There was plenty of encouragement from the stand for the home team today as current league leaders Howden Clough were here to watch the game and hope Ossett could dent Sheffield's promotion challenge. They almost had something to cheer on ten minutes when a well worked corner to the edge of the area gave the home side a shooting chance which Caz Whiteman saw late but was still able to make the save. Back at the other end and this time it was Clare Holmes who became provider, laying the ball off into the path of Rachel Charles, who fired over the bar. Rachel Charles then sent a ball into the danger area to Lisa Giampalma, whose pass to the far post just eluded Lynne Grainger, running in unmarked. The visitors were having a good spell of play at this stage, restricting Ossett to the odd long ball forward, which was easily dealt with by the Sheffield back four. Sheffield should have taken the lead  when good work on the left saw Nell Taylor square the ball into the area where Clare Holmes was waiting, but somehow the striker missed the target from six yards. The visitors did get the breakthrough they deserved on 25 minutes when Clare Holmes was brought down in the area and Caz WHITEMAN stepped up to send her opposing number the wrong way. Ossett came back straight away as one of their forwards was put through on goal, but Lauren Davids was on hand with a last ditch tackle to avert the danger. With Ossett pressing forward, play became scappy as the visitors couldn't get the ball out wide and kept on  being caught in possession too many times. Some semblance of order was restored once the midfield had reorganised following a break in play after Gemma Gale caught the full force of the ball in the face, resulting in a bloody nose. Sheffield ended the half the stronger.


Ossett were the first to mount an attack in the second half, but great tracking back by player of the match Kate Rowell snuffed out the danger. At the other end, a long ball forward saw a chase between Clare Holmes and the Ossett ‘keeper result in the latter just winning and flicking the ball away from the Sheffield striker. The next goal would be crucial and so it proved as, on 51 minutes, a well taken corner into the six yard box from Gemma Gale was met by the diminutive Rachel CHARLES, whose bullet header flew into the back of the net before the Ossett 'keeper could react. Clare Holmes then went through on goal, but a great tackle from her marker saved the home side on this occasion. It was all Sheffield at this stage; in fact they had controlled the whole half, with Caz Whiteman virtually a spectator in the visitors’ net. The game was sealed  on 73 minutes when the referee penalised the home side for a back pass to the 'keeper. Quick thinking by Clare Holmes saw her grab the ball and play a quick free kick to Lisa Giampalma, whose scuffed shot found its way to Helen WAKEFIELD arriving at the far post where she had no trouble in putting it into the net. Substitute Lisa Bailey then almost got on the scoresheet, picking the ball up in midfield and driving forward before playing a one-two with Lisa Giampalma on the edge of the area, but the 'keeper was there to make the save. Clare Holmes was unlucky when a goal looked on the cards until the 'keeper just managed to flick the ball away from her head, but Sheffield had done enough as the referee brought the game to an end.


After a somewhat scrappy first half, Sheffield took control and dominated the rest of the game. Assured performances from all concerned, with a particular mention to Kate Rowell who did a great man-to-man marking job on the Ossett forward. Another win at a place which has always proved difficult in the past, yet another clean sheet, and to take top spot off Howden Clough during their spying mission was the icing on the cake. There can be no complacency, though, as we get to the final run in. Next up is a home fixture against Keighley on Easter Sunday.


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Natalie Crofts, Lauren Davids, Christina Wright, Kate Rowell, Rachel Charles, Lisa Giampalma, Gemma Gale, Nell Taylor, Lynne Grainger, Clare Holmes

Subs:  Helen Wakefield (for Grainger), Lisa Bailey (for Gale), Jodie Crofts (for Charles)


Goalscorers:  Caz Whiteman (pen), Rachel Charles, Helen Wakefield

Player Of The Match:  Kate Rowell



North East Women’s Regional Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 09/03/08

Harrogate Railway Ladies  1    Sheffield FC Ladies  5 


So to the first of a tough run of four games which will decide whether or not Sheffield win the league this season, writes Helen Mitchell. Harrogate are the only team to have scored past us at home in the league this season, so a tougher match was expected.

Sheffield were straight into their running with Clare Holmes providing a chance for Lisa Giampalma to score within the first minute, but the midfielder hit it left-footed, off-balance, and the shot spooned away over the goal. Four minutes later though, and Lisa GIAMPLAMA made no mistake as she slotted home a corner from six yards out. Harrogate replied immediately with a break up the left which cut through Sheffield's defence with ease, and the striker was able to slot the ball past Caz Whiteman at the near post for the first goal that Sheffield have conceded in the league since mid-January. The visiting team reacted really well though to soon get a better rhythm going and, on 12 minutes, Gemma GALE restored Sheffield's lead with a fine finish from Lynne Grainger's low left-wing cross. Rachel CHARLES extended that lead after 34 minutes when she drove the ball low into the right corner from Gemma Gale's pass, although the ‘keeper probably should have done better. On the sideline, Jodie Croftsstated reckoned she could have saved it,and, given her two 'clearances' off the Harrogate line later in the match, she might well have done so! Lisa BAILEY added a fourth shortly before half-time with a typically excellent finish from 12 yards out to a Rachel Charles corner which the keeper had attempted to punch clear.  So, 4-1 at the break, although it could have been more with Clare Holmes, Lynne Grainger, Lauren Davids and Rachel Charles all having good efforts to add to their team's tally.

Playing against the wind in the second half was always going to be a bit harder, and Sheffield took a good ten minutes to adjust. After an hour, Clare Holmes almost scored when she took the ball round the ‘keeper and shot from a wide angle, but a defender on the line cleared the ball for a corner. It was hard graft at times, but Sheffield did well to play their game in the conditions and there were some excellent breaks and moves which could, on another day, have provided more goals. Jodie Crofts was unlucky to block a shot from Lisa Giampalma that was goal-bound, and later to direct a header away from goal right under the crossbar. Natalie Crofts too almost got on the end of Gemma Gale corner from the right. At the back, Christina Wright, Lauren Davids and Kate Rowell never really gave Harrogate a look in. Just as looked as if the half was going to end goalless, Gemma GALE delivered a corner from the left which swung right in against the wind to go in at the far post and, a few seconds later, it was game over: 5-1 to Sheffield and another step nearer their goal this season!

It had been a good, workmanlike performance from the team and one which again showed the togetherness and determination to win, as well as the versatility of the squad. And well done to Caz Whiteman for notching up her 50th appearance for the club


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Natalie Crofts, Lauren Davids, Christina Wright, Nell Taylor, Rachel Charles, Lisa Giampalma, Gemma Gale, Lynne Grainger, Clare Holmes, Lisa Bailey

Subs:  Kate Rowell (for Charles), Jodie Crofts (for Holmes), Katrina Brett (for Grainger)


Goalscorers:  Gemma Gale (2), Lisa Giampalma, Rachel Charles, Lisa Bailey

Player Of The Match:  Lisa Giampalma




North East Women’s Regional Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 02/03/08

Sheffield FC Ladies  15    Wigton Moor Ladies  0 


Sheffield closed the gap on the top two teams with a resounding thrashing of next-to-bottom club Wigton Moor and, in the process, posted the highest scoring league win by any team this season, writes Trevor Herrington. Wigton's cause wasn't helped when they arrived with just 10 players in what was going to be a tough game for them anyway. Thankfully, manager and captain Beryl Hockey was in the line-up to help organise and spur her side on, having recovered from her injury when the two sides met a few weeks ago.


That said, it was one-way traffic from the kick-off as Sheffield attacked the Dronfield end and went one up inside 5 minutes through Gemma GALE. Chances then went begging before Lisa GIAMPALMA doubled the score, followed a minute later by a goal from Rachel CHARLES whose shot went through a defenders legs and unsighted the 'keeper. Next up to celebrate was Clare HOLMES, who poked the ball homefrom close range. Around the 25 minute mark the home side went further ahead when, from a tight angle outside the box, Rachel CHARLES launched a shot that had 'goal' written all over it from the moment it left her boot. Just past the half hour mark saw leading scorer Lisa BAILEY firing home after having several near misses, and it was Lisa BAILEY again who wrapped up the scoring for the first half with a fine lob over the 'keeper.


Despite the scoreline Sheffield stuck to their task of commitment, showing some good skills and passing, and it was no surprise when Clare HOLMES scored again on 51 minutes. Two minutes later and it was celebration time as once again when Clare HOLMES was on hand to grab her hat-trick. To the credit of the visitors they never stopped playing and did get the chance to mount an attack or two, but these were swiftly dealt with by a well organised defence. On the hour mark it was the turn of Lauren DAVIDS to get what is now becoming her customary goal. A minute later and once again Clare HOLMES was on hand to grab her fourth of the day after good work from Gemma Gale. Then came what for me was the goal of the game. From their own penalty area, Sheffield played the ball out and a sweeping move the full length of the field from right to left saw Lynne GRAINGER running in to smack the ball into the net. Thankfully (for this reporter at least) there was a lull in the goalfest, giving me time to get the cramp out of my hand before Gemma GALE increased the lead after good work from Lauren Davids. It was Gemma GALE again who was on hand on 77 minutes to complete her hat-trick. The final goal (and the loudest cheer) came in the final minute when Christina WRIGHT ventured upfield for a set piece and powered home a header, giving the 'keeper no chance.


Once again, a professional performance where the hosts gave full respect to Wigton Moor by playing solidly for the whole game, a fact commented by the referee at the end of the game. Credit must also go to the visitors, in particular Beryl Hockey, who never stopped encouraging her players. Also to Elaine Woods who seemed to be everywhere, including taking the goalkicks. Congratulations too goto Lisa Bailey and Natalie Crofts , who were making their fiftieth appearances for the hosts.  Next week the ladies travel to Harrogate Railway, where they will be looking to keep their title ambitions on track.


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Natalie Crofts, Lauren Davids, Christina Wright, Katrina Brett, Rachel Charles, Lisa Giampalma, Gemma Gale, Lynne Grainger, Clare Holmes, Lisa Bailey

Subs:  Jodie Crofts (for Bailey), Kate Rowell (for Charles), Sophie Thomas (for Giampalma)


Goalscorers:  Clare Holmes (4), Gemma Gale (3), Rachel Charles (2), Lisa Bailey (2), Lisa Giampalma, Lauren Davids, Lynne Grainger, Christina Wright

Player Of The Match:  Gemma Gale



North East Women’s Regional Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 24/02/08

Sheffield FC Ladies  12    Bilton Athletic Ladies  0 


After last week’s cup semi-final exit, writes Trevor Herrington, it was back to business in the league as Sheffield recorded an emphatic win over Bilton Athletic to increase the pressure on the leaders and give their goal difference a boost as seven different players got on the score sheet, Clare Holmes grabbing the lion’s share with four goals.

Sheffield got off to the perfect start after just five minutes when a ball floated towards the Bilton goal was met by Lynne GRAINGER, who controlled it before firimg past the 'keeper. After that it was one way traffic with the visitors trying to hold a high defensive line but getting punished time and again as Sheffield's pace found the Bilton defence static, allowing more or less free access on goal. Thankfully the visitors could feel relieved that the home players were too eager on occasions, being pulled back for numerous offside calls. A goal each from Clare HOLMES and Nell TAYLOR plus a brace from Lisa GIAMPALMA saw the game won by half time, but this by no means tells the whole story as the team had chances galore and, if it hadn't been for some brave and brilliant goalkeeping from Rachel Waslin in the visitors’ net, it could well have been 12-0 by the break.

Bilton had learned the hard way in the first half about 'high-line' defending, and started the second period of the game defending nearer their own penalty area. Lauren DAVIDS was the next to get on the scorers’ list, heading home from a Rachel Charles corner. She was the provider next just past the hour mark, threading the ball through for Clare HOLMES to grab her second of the game. On 66 minutes Lynne GRAINGER grabbed her second of the game, lofting the ball over the keeper. A minute later and Bilton had their first and only decent chance of the game as  the visitors’ forward was through on goal but her shot lacked any real power, Caz Whiteman having little trouble collecting the ball. Lisa Giampalma thought she had grabbed her hat-trick just after that, but the referee had already blown for offside. Clare HOLMES did complete her hat-trick with just under ten minutes to go, substitute Lisa BAILEY added her name to the list a minute later, then the leading scorer then set up her strike partner on 87 minutes for Clare HOLMES to grab her fourth goal of the game. With a minute to go the scoring was completed with a sweet volley from Natalie CROFTS to make it a round dozen.

Next week sees the team at home once more against next-to-bottom Wigton Moor where, hopefully, there will be another goalfest to witness.


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Natalie Crofts, Lauren Davids, Christina Wright, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Lisa Giampalma, Nell Taylor, Lynne Grainger, Clare Holmes, Jodie Crofts

Subs:  Katrina Brett (for Gale), Lisa Bailey (for J.Crofts), Michelle Fletcher (for Taylor)


Goalscorers:  Clare Holmes (4), Lynne Grainger (2), Lisa Giampalma (2), Nell Taylor, Lauren Davids, Lisa Bailey, Natalie Crofts

Player Of The Match:  Natalie Crofts



Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA Women’s Challenge Cup, Semi-Final

Sunday, 17/02/08

Sheffield Wednesday Ladies  6    Sheffield FC Ladies  0 


Sheffield ended their cup run at the semi-final stage against a strong Wednesday line-up at a sunny Maltby Main this afternoon, writes Trevor Herrington. Despite the scoreline (the first time they haven't scored in a game since the first match of the season) it was a good performance by our Ladies, especially in the second half when the higher division side was pinned back for long periods.

The first minute saw Sheffield having to scramble the ball clear from off the goal line when put under pressure, before the Owls took the lead on 11 minutes when the visitors lost possession in midfield, the ball being swept forward for an easy tap in. Wednesday were taking control in the early stages but the visitors kept them at bay until just before the half-hour mark, and were unlucky when a good cross into the area aimed at the inrushing Rachel Charles was headed onto the bar by a defender. A minute later and it was 2-0 to the hosts as an obvious offside was not flagged and the Owls forwards were allowed to go and score with everyone stood waiting for the whistle that didn't come. This seemed to deflate the visitors, who were upset with the decision and then went further behind to a shot from the edge of the area which evaded the outstretched hand of Caz Whiteman. Having got their heads back up and starting to compete once again. It was unfortunate that they should concede a fourth goal before the break.

With the game over as a contest it was more a chance for Sheffield to show how they can play, and also to restore some pride. An early chance for Lisa Bailey ended with a corner, and Gemma Gale's delivery found the head of Rachel Charles at the back post, but the chance went over the bar. Sterling work at the back from Lauren Davids then prevented an Owls striker getting a shot on target with just the 'keeper to beat. Caz Whiteman then coolly collected a ball chipped over her head goalwards, having mis-kicked it to an opposing forward in the first place. The referee then decided to grab the spotlight by penalising the Sheffield 'keeper for picking up the ball from an uncertain back pass, despite Caz first asking him if it would be legal. The official gave the team no help by keeping his mouth shut before gleefully blowing for the offence when it took place. This seemed to galvanise the team even more as the free kick was cleared, but not before the referee had shown a couple of yellow cards for dissent and encroachment. On 67 minutes the home side went further ahead, somewhat against the run of play, when a cross into the area was missed by the defence and the ball was fired home from the edge of the area. With ten minutes to go Lisa Bailey had a great shot which produced an equally great save to keep the Owls goal intact, and two minutes later the score reached 6-0, Sheffield once again being caught on the break. Lisa Bailey then had a good shot go just the wrong side of the post before once again making the 'keeper work hard to save another goalbound effort.

So the dream of a cup final is over but Sheffield can be proud as, despite the scoreline, they played their part in an entertaing game and, with a little more rub of the green, would surely have at least made the score sheet. A magnificent second half display wnsured that the fans who made the trip took some comfort from the game. Next up it's back to the important stuff of league action as Sheffield play hosts to Bilton Athletic and try to claw back points from their games in hand in a bid for the championship.


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Christina Wright, Lauren Davids, Michelle Fletcher, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Lisa Giampalma, Nell Taylor, Lynne Grainger, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts

Subs:  Clare Holmes (for J.Crofts), Kate Rowell (for Wright), Natalie Crofts (for Grainger)

Player Of The Match:  Lauren Davids



North East Women’s Regional Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 10/02/08

Sheffield FC Ladies  1    Wickersley Ladies  0    



A goal just after half time from Jodie Crofts was the deciding factor in this hard fought game today at the Bright Finance Stadium, writes Trevor Herrington.


On a bright, sunny afternoon it was the visitors who started in a determined mood, no doubt stung by the 5-0 reverse they suffered a fortnight ago. Wickersley were chasing down everything and, when Sheffield did play the ball forward, they were finding it difficult to string passes together due to the heavy state of the pitch, which cut up almost as soon as the game commenced. A long range shot from Lisa Giampalma saw the ball bounce off the 'keeper’s legs. but she managed to retrieve it at the second attempt with Lisa Bailey closing in. The 'keeper then did well first to save from a Lisa Bailey shot and, not long after that, a Gemma Gale free kick which was goal bound. Wickersley then had a good chance to take the lead when a quickly taken free kick released the visitors’ forward, who headed goalwards only to be thwarted by the onrushing Caz Whiteman racing out to the edge of the area and averting the danger. Sheffield slowly started to take a hold on proceedings but, despite the pressure, the teams went into half time on level terms.


Sheffield started the second half far more positively, attacking straight from the kick off and, with just a minute played, they took a vital lead. The ball was fed through to Lisa Bailey down the right, and her cross was met by Jodie CROFTS to poke the ball home. This seemed to settle the team down and Natalie Crofts almost doubled the lead, her first time shot being well saved by the Wickersley 'keeper. Next up was Lauren Davids who found herself unmarked to meet Gemma Gale's corner; unfortunately she only got the slightest of touches and the ball ended up going out for a throw in. The introduction of Lynne Grainger and Rachel Charles gave the hosts fresh legs to run at the Wickersley defence who, at this stage, had to concentrate all their efforts on containing their opponents and just getting the odd chance to break upfield. However, with only one goal in it, the game was there to be won and Wickersly threw caution to the wind in the last ten minutes, pressing for an equaliser. Player of the match Lauren Davids made up for her earlier miss in front of goal with a well-timed tackle when stopping a Wickersley forward who was through on goal. On the stroke of full time a first time shot from Lynne Grainger went just the wrong side of the post. Deep into injury time, great work by Jodie Crofts and Lynne Grainger saw the ball delivered into the area to an unmarked Lisa Bailey but, with the goal at her mercy, the chance went begging. That was the last action of a very entertaining and enthralling game as the home side claimed another three points and, still having games in hand over Howden Clough and Castleford White Rose, both these teams must now be looking seriously over their shoulders as the Sheffield juggernaut rolls on.


It was a hard fought match today, and credit must go to the visitors who played their part to the full, a fact not lost on the home supporters who applauded them off the field. Next week sees a break from league action as Sheffield go head to head against Sheffield Wednesday in the semi-final of the County FA Cup. Could there be a surprise in store for the Owls?



Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Christina Wright, Lauren Davids, Michelle Fletcher, Gemma Gale, Natalie Crofts, Lisa Giampalma, Nell Taylor, Helen Wakefield, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Lynne Grainger (for Wakefield), Rachel Charles (for N.Crofts), Kate Rowell (for Fletcher)


Goal scorer:  Jodie Crofts


Player Of The Match:  Lauren Davids

North East Women’s Regional Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 03/02/2008

Wigton Moor Ladies  0    Sheffield FC Ladies  6    



Sheffield closed the gap on the teams above them this afternoon (Howden Clough and Castleford White Rose didn’t play) with a comprehensive if not unexpected victory over a progressively depleted but resilient Wigton Moor.


With the game starting just over half an hour after the scheduled 1:30 kick off (the referee was late, then had to nip back home for his whistle!), Sheffield elected to play up the slight slope for the first half, and with the wind behind them. On a heavy and uneven pitch, the visitors immediately imposed themselves upon the hosts, and early chances for Gemma Gale, Lisa Giamplama and Jodie Crofts all went begging before Wigton Moor suffered their first setback of the afternoon within ten minutes of the start. Their influential captain took the ball full in the face from close range and, being the wearer contact lenses, was soon nursing a rapidly swelling left eye which ended her participation there and then. Having no substitutes available, the hosts were therefore down to ten players. Sheffield’s first goal came shortly afterwards when, on 12 minutes, the ball was played out to Helen WAKEFIELD on the left who carried it forward, played a neat one-two with Lisa Bailey, then coolly slotted home from inside the area. Gemma Gale had a 30-yard volley saved by the home ‘keeper before the visitors doubled their lead on 16 minutes, a corner on the right delivered by the same player reaching Jodie CROFTS inside the six-yard box, who bundled it into the net. Sheffield continued pressing, with the occasional venture upfield by Wigton Moor being ably dealt with by the defence, but the conditions weren’t really allowing them to play with their usual freedom, and the few chances being created came to nought before they doubled their lead yet again in the space of two minutes just after the half hour mark. On 33 minutes, Lisa BAILEY won a tussle for the ball just outside the area and picked her spot with a superb stike over the ‘keeper.  Two minutes later, Natalie Crofts played a ball into the area which the ‘keeper spilled under pressure, allowing Lisa BAILEY to collect the loose ball and claim her second goal of the game. The visitors’ leading scorer almost secured her hat-trick in added time when she fired past the stranded ‘keeper, only to see her shot deflected onto a post by a recovering defender, So Sheffield ended the half just four goals to the good, but having had to make an enforced changed when Lauren ‘Ozzy’ Davids felt a strain around her hip and was replaced by Michelle Fletcher who slotted in at left back, allowing Christina Wright to fill the centre back slot vacated by Ozzy, a role not unfamiliar to her.


Another Wigton Moor player withdrew during the break through injury, leaving them to field only nine players in the second half, but the expected goal avalanche didn’t materialize. Chances came and went, whilst the hosts remained resilient in defence and even managed the occasional, though unsuccessful,l sortie into the Sheffield half.  Around the hour mark, Jodie Crofts had a good shot blocked and hit the rebound over, then Lisa Bailey struck a longer range effort high, wide and handsome before being replaced by Rachel Charles. The lead was eventually extended on 72 minutes when Katrina Brett played a great ball to the feet of Jodie CROFTS in the right side of the area, who struck home with great aplomb – her last kick of the game as she was immediately replaced by Kate Rowell. The conditions continued to prevent the visitors pressing home their numerical advantage, the final goal of the afternoon not arriving until just three minutes from time when a great ball from Christina Wright was met  in the left side of the area by Lisa Giamplama, her rasping shot being parried by the ‘keeper into the path of Rachel CHARLES who tucked it away.


Not an easy game against a depleted side, given the conditions and state of the pitch, but another three points in the bag and another clean sheet is not to be sniffed at. Next week sees the return fixture from last week with the visit to The Bright Finance Stadium of Ozzy’s old team, Wickersley.



Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Katrina Brett, Lauren Davids, Christina Wright, Gemma Gale, Natalie Crofts, Lisa Giampalma, Nell Taylor, Helen Wakefield, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Michelle Fletcher (for Davids, Rachel Charles (for Bailey), Kate Rowell (for J.Crofts)

Goal scorers:  Helen Wakefield, Jodie Crofts (2), Lisa Bailey (2), Rachel Charles 


Player Of The Match:  Helen Wakefield



North-East Regional Women's Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 27/01/08

Wickersley Ladies  0    Sheffield FC Ladies  5    



Sheffield kept the pressure on their nearest rivals with an emphatic performance to leapfrog over Wickersley and go into third place in the table with goals from Rachel Charles, Gemma Gale and Helen Wakefield, plus a brace from leading scorer Lisa Bailey. writes Trevor Herrington.


On a gloriously sunny day resembling summertime, it was Sheffield who were on the attack straight from the kick off as Helen Wakefield crossed from the left wing to Jodie Crofts, the youngster’s shot being blocked by a defender. Lisa Bailey was the next with a chance, which she put over the bar when in a good position. Just on the ten minute mark the visitors got the breakthrough they needed when sterling work by Lisa Giampalma near the corner flag saw her dig out a cross into the area, where Rachel CHARLES was waiting to head home unchallenged. With the slight advantage of a wind blowing down the pitch Sheffield then had a succession of corners, but all were cleared. Wickersley's first serious attack came after twenty minutes when a through ball saw Caz Whiteman come out to block, driving the attacker wide enough for the final shot to only hit the side netting. Five minutes later and a great cross from Rachel Charles only needed a touch for goal number two, but nobody was there to apply the final touch. The winger then found herself in a similar position to her goal scoring effort earlier as Gemma Gale sent the ball into the area, but this time her attempt was over the bar. It was all Sheffield at this point, with both Lisa Bailey and Gemma Gale going close with shots on goal. Good work by the tireless Lisa Giampalma then released Jodie Crofts to send over a cross which Nell Taylor headed just wide. The visitors finally got their just rewards on the stroke of half time when a Gemma GALE corner went straight into the net, the Wickersley 'keeper waving at it as it passed her by. It was no more than the visitors deserved to send them into the break two goals to the good.


The second half saw Wickersley win their first corner, the effort landing on top of Caz Whiteman's bar before the danger was cleared. Wickersley had a little five minute flurry of pressure which the Sheffield defence dealt with easily before regaining the momentum once more. The lead was increased on 53 minutes when good inter-passing between Lisa Giampalma and Gemma Gale released Helen WAKEFIELD to go on a run down the left wing before cutting inside and slotting the ball into the far corner. Just before the hour mark it was leading scorer Lisa BAILEY who got her name on the score sheet, her shot sailing over the 'keeper. She then became provider with a good cross into the area as Helen Wakefield shot just wide. The scoring was completed on 63 minutes, and once again it was Lisa BAILEY with a quality strike for her second of the game. A series of substitutions then took place to give some players a rest and others more match practice, Chloe Sutton being the unlucky one out of the four ‘on the bench’ not to get any action this afternoon. There were still plenty of chances; Natalie Crofts bringing out a good save from the 'keeper, as well as a goalmouth scramble and a header from Nell Taylor being cleared.


Overall it was a thoroughly deserved victory as Sheffield play catch up with their games in hand. The work ethic was once again superb, with everyone playing their part and helping each other. Next up is a trip to Wigton Moor who, although languishing near the bottom of the league, could still prove tricky to overcome.  It's these games where team spirit and discipline will be vital in the quest to win the league.


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Natalie Crofts, Lauren Davids, Christina Wright, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Lisa Giampalma, Nell Taylor, Helen Wakefield, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Michelle Fletcher (for Wright), Sophie Thomas (for Bailey), Katrina Brett (for Wakefield), Chloe Sutton (unused)


Goal scorers:  Rachel Charles, Gemma Gale, Helen Wakefield, Lisa Bailey (2)


Joint Players Of The Match:  Lisa Giampalma, Natalie Crofts

Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA Women’s Challenge Cup, Quarter Final

Sunday, 20/01/08

Steel City Wanderers Ladies  0    Sheffield FC Ladies  23    



After last week's heroics at Castleford White Rose, it was cup action once again as Sheffield eased their way into the semi-finals of this competition with a record score of 23 – 0, write Trevor Herrington. Played on the all-weather pitch at Sheffield United Academy it was the perfect surface for the ladies to play their passing game, totally overwhelming the opposition with three players scoring hat-tricks, a penalty from goalkeeper Caz Whiteman and, to add insult to injury for Wanderers, an own goal. But for the woodwork on at least four occasions and the occasional heroics of both Steel City 'keepers (a subsitution of the original stopper just before half time being necessary due to injury), Sheffield's eventual score would undoubtedly been in the thirties.


With the goals too numerous to mention in detail, it was a masterful performance as the team kept focused until the last ten minutes of the game when they eased off slightly, but still kept their passing game going. They even had a goal disallowed, when Jodie Crofts was deemed offside. Other notable moments were Caz Whiteman going walkabout in the first half, with the resultant attempt from Wanderers luckily just off target, but she made amends with a well struck penalty. Substitute Katrina Brett made a rare foray upfield towards the end, almost suffering a nosebleed as she unleashed a shot which sailed just over the bar. Credit to a Wanderers side who never gave up, even though their one and only effort to trouble the Sheffield 'keeper came after more than an hour of play, and they played the game in the right spirit despite the overwhelming odds.


Next up is a trip to Wickersley, with more vital league points at stake.



Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Natalie Crofts, Lauren Davids, Christina Wright, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Lisa Giampalma, Nell Taylor, Helen Wakefield, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Katrina Brett (for Bailey), Michelle Fletcher (for Davids), Sarah Wilson (for Wakefield)


Goal scorers:  Bailey (5), Taylor (4), J.Crofts (4), Giampalma (2), Charles (2), Whiteman (pen), Wakefield, N.Crofts, Gale, Fletcher, + own goal


Player Of The Match:  Nell Taylor 



North-East Regional Women's Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 13/01/08

Castleford White Rose Ladies  1    Sheffield FC Ladies  2    



After last week’s resounding cup success over Huddersfield Town, it was back to league action with a tough fixture at second placed Castleford White Rose, writes Trevor Herington. Games between these two sides have always been close and today was no exception, with Sheffield edging it 2-1 thanks to goals from Jodie Crofts and Nell Taylor.


After the heavy rain in recent days the pitch was very sticky, with a greasy top surface which meant that both sides had to be precise in their passing to avoid any unnecessary slip ups. It was the visitors who were first to show with Rachel Charles having a shot cleared away just after the kick off. The home side then made a good break upfield, only for the final shot to be pulled wide of the mark. Back at the other end a well taken corner from Rachel Charles was cleared, but only as far as Lisa Giampalma whose first time shot was cleverly back-healed by Lisa Bailey before the 'keeper did well to save right on the line. As expected, it was a very tight game with chances at a premium, and both sides having periods of possession. On the half hour mark an intercepted clearance by Lynne Grainger saw her put the ball through to Jodie Crofts who just beat the onrushing 'keeper to the ball only for her chipped effort to bounce just the wrong side of the post. White Rose then had a good chance after a sweeping move upfield, only to be denied by the feet of the diving Caz Whiteman. With ten minutes left to half time, a free kick by the home side created a goalmouth scramble before the ball was eventually cleared to safety. The visitors finished the half stronger as Lisa Bailey first chipped the ball goalwards to be tipped away by the 'keeper, then was put through on goal before a great tackle from a White Rose defender denied her the chance to shoot. The final action of the half saw Gemma Gale send over an inswinging corner which the 'keeper did well to claw away off her goal line.


The visitors started the second half in the same determined mood with Jodie Crofts through on goal, but her shot was straight at the 'keeper. Next up came midfield dynamo Lisa Giampalma who shrugged off a defender twice her size to get in a cross, but there was no one there to apply the final touch. The pressure finally paid off in the 52nd minute. A sweeping move from one end of the field to the other saw Caz Whiteman throw the ball out to Lynne Grainger who took it down the wing before threading it through to Lisa Bailey, her side-footed pass to Jodie CROFTS seeing the youngster coolly slot the ball home into the far corner of the net. White Rose came back strongly, pinning the visitors back and, just under ten minutes later, the game was level with the home side equalising from a corner as the Sheffield players hesitated, waiting for the referee to blow his whistle so that an injured player could get attention. After much argument the game restarted and, to be fair to the hosts, I wouldn't have expected our players to have given up such an attacking advantage at this vital stage of the game. With tired legs all around it was time to make a change, and on came Clare Holmes to add fresh power up front at the expense of Jodie Crofts, who had run herself into the ground for the cause of the team. You could say it was an inspired substitution as, on 66 minutes, Sheffield regained the lead. Once again it was Lynne Grainger moving down the left wing who fed the ball into Clare Holmes, who managed to hold it up before releasing it into the path of player of the match Nell TAYLOR, who hit it hard and low from the edge of the box giving the 'keeper no chance, much to the delight if the traveling faithful. Once again White Rose came back strongly, putting the defence under considerable pressure, but Lauren Davids and her fellow defenders were in commanding form to resist the onslaught. Lisa Giampalma had a break, but her shot was the wrong side of the post. The home side then had a glorious chance to draw level as the Sheffield defence stood still, but Caz Whiteman came out to narrow the angle and save the danger. With two minutes left to play it was Clare Holmes who once again was provider, setting up Nell Taylor with a similar opportunity to that which had given Sheffield the initial lead, only this time she dwelt on the ball too long and the 'keeper was able to come out and block her effort. It was now just a case of discipline and holding onto the ball, which the visitors did admirably to secure their first ever win at White Rose, and a very valuable three points in their quest for the league title.


It was an excellent game of football by both sides, but Sheffield fully deserved the victory and, although the players will always vote for a player of the match, it truly was a magnificent team effort from everyone involved. Next up is a another break from the league as the team tackle Steel City Wanderers in the County FA Cup, with a semi-final place the prize. 



Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Sophie Thomas, Lauren Davids, Christina Wright, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Lisa Giampalma, Nell Taylor, Lynne Grainger, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Clare Holmes (for J.Crofts), Helen Wakefield (for Charles), Natalie Crofts (unused)


Goal scorers:  Jodie Crofts, Nell Taylor


Player Of The Match:  Nell Taylor



Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA Women’s Challenge Cup

Sunday, 06/01/08

Sheffield FC Ladies  4    Huddersfield Town Ladies  0    



After a six week break during which this cup tie had been postponed three times, Sheffield got back into action with a resounding win against their higher league opponents, writes Trevor Herrington,  with a goal from Jodie Crofts and a hat-trick from Lisa Bailey.


On a pitch made heavy by the recent weather conditions it was the visitors who settled the quicker, with Caz Whiteman having to make a good save within the opening minutes. At the other end, a harmless looking shot was gathered by the 'keeper, only to spill the ball at the feet of Lynne Grainger who played it into the middle of the area, but there was no-one following up to convert the chance. The lack of match practice was showing in these early exchanges, with Town looking dangerous each time they had the ball. Once again, Caz Whiteman was on hand to make a good stop and deny a Huddersfield forward. With Rachel Charles playing in an unfamiliar right back role, it was left to the more experienced Christina Wright and an outstanding display by Lauren Davids to guide the youngster along. The team finally settled just after the quarter hour mark, and a shot by Nell Taylor was once again parried by the visitors' stopper. This time there was someone on hand to follow up the effort as Lynne Grainger shot for goal, only to see her effort well blocked by a defender. Not long after, a through ball to Jodie Crofts saw the young striker tussle for the ball neck-and-neck with a defender as the 'keeper came to narrow the angle. She did get the final flick but the 'keeper did well to get down and avert the danger. Huddersfield then went close when a weak goal-kick was pounced upon and a first-time shot whistled past the post. Sheffield took the lead on 38 minutes when some tenacious tackling by Lisa Giampalma saw her release the ball through to Lisa Bailey, who took it to the edge of the area before squaring the ball across for Jodie CROFTS to slot home at the second attempt. The hosts almost doubled their lead in added time, Lisa Giampalma chipping the ball just the wrong side of the post.


Ten minutes into the second half and once again it was the Huddersfield 'keeper who had to be at her best to save after Lisa Bailey unleashed a shot from just inside the area. The continued pressure from Sheffield finally payed off as they went two goals in front. Some determined tackling by Jodie Crofts resulted in the 'keeper only being able to parry a shot, and Lisa BAILEY was first to snap up the chance in front of goal. It was nearly all Sheffield now as the visitors had no answer to the pressure being created by the home side. Efforts from Nell Taylor,  Lisa Giampalma (twice), and a long range shot from Gemma Gale being just some of the chances from which the score could have been increased. However, they did capitalise on their superiority on 74 minutes when Lisa BAILEY was left unmarked in the area. Despite being closed down she managed to find space to unleash a shot into the bottom corner of the net. A couple of substitutions saw Natalie Crofts taking over from Helen Wakefield and then Sophie Thomas replacing Lynne Grainger, allowing Rachel Charles to move into a more familiar role on the wing. It was the youngster’s corner on 82 minutes that sealed the game. Her cross into the area was met on the volley by Lisa BAILEY to complete her hat-trick.


After the first 15 minutes of 'blowing away the cobwebs'. so to speak. the home side played as if they hadn't had an enforced break at all, and any neutrals watching would have been hard pressed to guess which team was in the higher division. A good, solid, all round performance from everyone reaped the reward of a quarter-final tie away at Steel City Wanderers in a fortnight's time.


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Rachel Charles, Lauren Davids, Christina Wright, Gemma Gale, Helen Wakefield, Nell Taylor, Lisa Giampalma, Lynne Grainger, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Natalie Crofts (for Wakefield), Sophie Thomas (for Grainger, Helen Mitchell (unused)


Goal scorers:  Jodie Crofts, Lisa Bailey (3)

Player Of The Match:  Lisa Bailey


Sheffield & Hallamshire County Women's Challenge Cup
Sunday 25/11/07
Sheffield FC Ladies  16    Brinsworth Whitehill  0
Eight goals in each half saw Sheffield progress into the second round of the FA County Cup at the expense of Brinsworth Whitehill, writes Trevor Herrington.

The County League side were given a footballing lesson as Sheffield let loose from all angles and distances to record one of their best scores ever at the Bright Finance Stadium. It was Lisa GIAMPALMA who opened the scoring for the hosts , before a cracker from Nell TAYLOR made it two goals to the good. Then, with 25 minutes on the clock, a cross from Clare Holmes found Jody Crofts, who laid the ball off to Lisa GIAMPALMA to get her second of the day. On the half hour mark, some fine work by Natalie Crofts saw her slip past the advancing 'keeper and put the ball into the six yard box to give Lisa GIAMPALMA an easy chance to complete her hat-trick and make it 4-0. Five minutes later and this time a Gemma Gale corner was met by the head of Clare HOLMES to power home. Brinsworth just couldn't get out of their own half as a team as Sheffield kept up the relentless pressure. Nell TAYLOR then grabbed her second of the game with a shot before Lisa GIAMPALMA hit her fouth with a well worked goal. The last goal of the first half also saw Nell TAYLOR complete her hat-trick. At 8-0, if this had been a boxing match then the referee would have stopped it by now, but there was another half to go.
Out came the visitors, plucky as ever to start the second half. With eight minutes of the half played, the Brinsworth goal was breached once more as Clare HOLMES raced through on her own to slip the ball round the 'keeper and into the net. Just past the hour mark and Natalie Crofts played a ball into the area which a defender headed over her own 'keeper and Rachel CHARLES had the easiest of chances to guide the ball over the line to make it 10 -0. Five minutes later and a Gemma Gale free kick was well punched out by the Brinsworth 'keeper, but the ball fell to Chloe SUTTON on the edge of the area and she chipped the ball into the empty net. More sustained pressure inside the visitors penalty area saw the ball fed out to the wing, where Rachel Charles delivered a pin-point cross for substitute Lisa BAILEY to get on the score sheet. The young Sheffield right-winger was having a free run, and her next effort was turned onto the bar but, a minute later, the 'keeper had no chance with a fierce drive fierce drive from an acute angle as Rachel CHARLES made the score 13-0. With ten minutes left  it was Lisa BAILEY once again on the score sheet , her shot going inside the upright with the 'keeper stranded. Time for the last substitution and manager Helen Mitchell came on, replacing Kate Rowell but, instead of taking her place in defence, she put herself in goal to allow ex-Brinsworth player Caz Whiteman the chance to play outfield for the remainder of the game. It also gave the Sheffield goalkeeper some much needed exercise for the afternoon as she hadn't had a shot to save all game. Rachel CHARLES completed her hat-trick for the afternoon with another fierce shot into the far corner, before Lisa BAILEY completed the goalscoring for the afternoon with a shot from the edge of the area to claim Sheffield's fourth hat-trick of the game.

The game was virtually over after the first twenty minutes, but credit to both sides; Sheffield for showing ruthlessness and killing off the opposition in a professional performance whilst Brinsworth who, despite the scoreline, never let their heads drop and tried hard throughout. A special mention also to their 'keeper who, despite the scoreline, pulled off some fantastic saves and was also an inspiration to her younger colleagues, encouraging them throughout. Next week it's back to league business with a trip to Harrogate Railway.

Sheffield FC:  Caz Whiteman, Katrina Brett, Christina Wright, Kate Rowell, Gemma Gale, Natalie Crofts, Nell Yaylor, Lisa Giampalma, Rachel Charles, Clare Holmes, Jodie Crofts
Subs:  Chloe Sutton ( for Taylor), Lisa Bailey (for J.Crofts), Helen Mitchell (for Rowell)

Goalscorers:  Lisa Giampalma (4), Nell Taylor (3), Rachel Charles (3), Lisa Bailey (3), Clare Holmes (2), Chloe Sutton

Player of the Match:  Lisa Giampalma

North-East Regional Women's Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 11/11/07

AFC Preston Ladies  2    Sheffield FC Ladies  2    



Sheffield were looking to complete a quick league double over Preston, having thumped them 6-0 in last week's home encounter, writes Trevor Herrington. However, despite a brace of goals from Clare Holmes, the visitors came away frustrated at having dropped two points as Preston took advantage of a disappointing second half showing to level the score.


Sheffield saw the return of Sophie Thomas and Rachel Charles from injury, both taking a substitute roll for today's game. On a very uneven pitch and with a strong cross wind, it was the visitors who made the perfect start by opening the scoring on 4 minutes. Jodie Crofts avoided a lunging tackle to whip the ball over from the right touchline and Lynne Grainger was on hand to have a shot which was beaten out by the ‘keeper, but Clare HOLMES pounced on the loose ball to slot home. The home side did have the ball in the net a few minutes later, but the referee had already brought play back for an offside decision. Sheffield then had a justified penalty appeal turned down when a Preston defender blatantly handled the ball (with both hands), but the referee waved play on. The visitors were enjoying a good period of play at this point, and a good move between the Crofts twins saw the ball released to Lisa Bailey, today playing on the right wing, who saw her shot hit the outside of the post. Sheffield capitalised on their possession in the 17th minute when a well-struck corner from Gemma Gale, right into the heart of the penalty area, found Clare HOLMES rising above everyone else to head into the corner. Preston almost got back into the game soon after when Caz Whiteman, attempting to clear the ball, got her studs caught in the turf and sent the ball straight to a Preston forward, but the Sheffield 'keeper redeemed herself by safely gathering the resulting shot comfortably. Despite the height and physical superiority of the visitors, the Preston players were tenacious and robust in their challenges, the referee being rather too lenient on some occasions.  Around the half hour mark Clare Holmes almost grabbed her hat-trick when her shot was mishandled by the home 'keeper, the ball almost going over her head before being collected at the second attempt. At the other end it was Preston who had a break down the wing and, when the ball was played into the area, it was Christina Wright who was first to react and clear the danger with all the other defenders having been drawn out of position. Back came the visitors, with Jodie Crofts having a goalbound shot well saved by the 'keeper. The youngster then sent over a perfect corner for Nell Taylor to run on to, but her powerful header flew over the bar, amid some desperate defending by the home side. Just before the break, Gemma Gale hit a free kick from outside the area just over the bar.


Once again it was the visitors who were the first to show in this second period, Chloe Sutton going on a run and setting up Lisa Bailey for a shot just off target. Minutes later it was Clare Holmes' turn to be provider, laying the ball off to Jodie Crofts, whose shot was well saved by the Preston  'keeper. The home side got back into the game on 65 minutes when a speculative effort from 35 yards out was carried by the wind and over Caz Whiteman's head as the defence was pushing out. This was the catalyst that seemed to unnerve the visitors as they went from their normal, confident passing game to not being able to string two passes together, and hitting long balls into the air at every opportunity. The home side was now putting Sheffield under increasing pressure, the visitors losing the battle in midfield. With 15 minutes left Lauren Davids had a good chance from a corner kick, but her effort was over the bar. Four minutes later the game was tied. Once again a long ball from defence found Christina Wright isolated with two attackers cover, giving her and Caz Whiteman little chance to stop the home side leveling the scores. Sheffield responded positively, but it was 'too little, too late' as, despite having numerous shots, the home side were happy to soak up the pressure, see the game out, and take the point given to them. As for Sheffield, it was very disappointing to come away with just one point in a game they should have won after dominating the play for the majority of the game. A number of players were well below their best in the second half against a very average team, the one highlight being the performance of Natalie Crofts who played with the maturity of someone a lot older than her 17 years.


Next week sees a distraction from league action with the visit to the Bright Finance Stadium of Brinsworth Athletic Ladies in the first round of the Count Cup.



Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Natalie Crofts, Christina Wright, Chloe Sutton, Katrina Brett, Lisa Bailey, Nell Taylor, Gemma Gale, Lynne Grainger, Clare Holmes, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Rachel Charles (for Bailey), Lauren Davids (for Brett), Sophie Thomas (for Sutton)


Goal scorers:  Clare Holmes (2)


Player Of The Match:  Natalie Crofts

North-East Regional Women's Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 04/11/07

Sheffield FC Ladies  6    AFC Preston Ladies  0    



Sheffield were looking to bounce back after their unbeaten run was brought to an end last week, and they did it in style with their biggest win of the season so far, writes Trevor Herrington, hitting Preston for six without reply. There were a few line-up changes today, with Rachel Charles missing her first game through injury, and a debut for 'keeper Clare Keats.


The game got underway on a beautiful autumn afternoon in bright sunshine, Gemma Gale having the first effort of note after just five minutes with her shot going wide of the mark. Not long after, a break from left back by Chloe Sutton found Clare Holmes up front and she swung over a cross which was headed just wide by Lisa Giampalma. The home side was in full control and dominating proceedings, but just couldn't put together that final decisive pass or shot to trouble the Preston 'keeper. Indeed, it was 20 minutes before the visitors tested Clare Keats' goal, a short free kick being safely dealt with by the debutant. The Preston defence was soon under more pressure when a Gemma Gale free kick to the back post found Lisa Giampalma unmarked, the diminutive midfielder rising to head just wide once again. Just before the half hour mark the home side finally got the breakthrough all their pressure deserved. A ball through the middle of the Preston defence set Clare Holmes free and, one-on-one with the 'keeper, her effort was blocked. With the ball running loose, Helen WAKEFIELD was the quickest to react and put the half chance into the net. A few more efforts came and went, but Sheffield could not extend their advantage before the break.


The second half saw the home side emerge from the dressing room with their shooting boots on. Five minutes after the re-start, Lisa Giampalme fed the ball out wide to Helen Wakefield whose tantalising cross along the six-yard box was met by Clare Holmes running in, but the striker missed the opportunity to score. A minute later and the same move, only to the near post this time, saw the same result with the visitors defence at sixes and sevens. Preston were fortunate a few minutes after that when, once again, a Helen Wakefield cross saw the 'keeper fumble the ball, but luckily there was a defender on hand to clear the ball off the line with the Sheffield forwards ready to pounce. The home side had certainly stepped up the pace at this stage, with Preston finding it difficult to get out of their own half. Clare Keats kept her concentration though, when called upon, dealing easily with a long range free kick from the visitors. Sheffield finally got a second goal on 63 minutes when a good ball through the middle found Lynne Grainger, and her first time lay-off to Helen WAKEFIELD saw the winger hit a shot from the edge of the area which went beyond the 'keeper's outstretched hands. Another corner, and this time Clare Holmes once again found that luck was not on her side as her goalbound header was cleared off the line. The game was virtually made safe on 72 minutes when, once again, a good cross from Helen Wakefield was cleared but only to the edge of the area, where Katrina BRETT was on hand with a first time shot into the roof of the net. Clare Holmes then had a glorious chance to get her name among the scorers when Gemma Gale's corner found her unmarked just outside the six yard box, but the normally reliable striker volleyed the effort over the bar. Jodie Crofts was the next to test the overworked Preston 'keeper with a fierce drive, but was denied with the best save of the game. With time running out and just three minutes left to play a one-two with Clare Holmes saw Jodie CROFTS add the finishing touch, giving the 'keeper no chance. A minute later and it was 5-0 as a long ball from defence found Jodie Crofts who laid the ball off to substitute Lisa BAILEY, and last season's top scorer hit a first time shot from the edge of the area into the top corner. A minute from the end and the rout was complete with arguably the best goal of the game. A long ball from inside her own half down the touchline by Lisa Bailey (with the outside of her foot) found Jodie CROFTS who carried the ball forward to the corner flag, then cut inside and dribbled it along the byline before shooting from the narrowest of angles into the net.


So it was back to winning ways for the team, with good performances throughout; a clean sheet for Clare Keats and the defence, the usual powerhouse show from the midfield, and an outstanding contribution from Helen Wakefield,  as well as the constant threat of the forwards on the visitors' goal. Preston can breathe a sigh of relief that Clare Holmes was out of luck today, as any other day she would probably have managed at least a hat-trick with the chances she had. Next Sunday sees the second trip of the season to Humberside for Sheffield as today's league programme goes straight into the reverse fixtures.



Sheffield FC Ladies:  Clare Keats, Kate Rowell, Christina Wright, Chloe Sutton, Gemma Gale, Helen Wakefield, Nell Taylor, Lisa Giampalma, Lynne Grainger, Clare Holmes, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Katrina Brett (for Giampalma), Natalie Crofts (for Rowell), Lisa Bailey (for Grainger)


Goal scorers:  Helen Wakefield (2), Jodie Crofts (2), Katrina Brett, Lisa Bailey


Player Of The Match:  Helen Wakefield

North-East Regional Women's Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 28/10/07

Howden Clough LFC  2    Sheffield FC Ladies  1    


Sheffield entered their biggest game of the season so far against the current table-toppers still boasting a one hundred per cent league record, but without key players Caz Whiteman in goal, Lauren Davids in defence and Captain Fantastic, Nell Taylor, in midfield. However, the squad was boosted by the return to the starting line-up of fit-again Clare Holmes and Christina Wright, with Chloe Sutton back as a substitute, so the team could by no means be considered under-strength.


On a narrow pitch with a decent playing surface, it soon became clear that the home side were intent on employing the same philosophy that had seen them triumph in the League Cup on their visit to Dronfield two months previously – going in hard and trying to unsettle Sheffield with some pretty rough-house tactics. The early indications suggested that they were on the right lines as the visitors seemed a little unnerved, and it payed dividends just after twenty minutes when Sheffield lost possession mid-way into their own half and then allowed the the Howden Clough player to run into the area, evade a couple of challenges, and beat stand-in ‘keeper, Emily Clements, from close range. Heads could have dropped at that stage, but Sheffield quickly rallied and struck back within three minutes: a superbly taken corner by Rachel Charles on the left sailed beyond the far post where it was met by the head of Lynne GRAINGER who sent the ball looping over the home ‘keeper to nestle in the far corner of the net.  The goal seemed to galvanise the visitors, who began to compete more and give as good as they were getting, whilst also starting to play the ball around in the manner to which we have become accustomed, and it remained a much more even contest until half time arrived.


Sheffield returned to the fray after the break knowing that they were gaining the upper hand, and that the home ‘keeper was now facing the low sun. They were undoubtedly on top and the better side but could not turn their superiority into goals, wasting what opportunities came along and failing to test the home ‘keeper with two or three free kicks won within shooting range. Then, half way through the half, the inevitable happened - a rare Howden Clough attack saw the ball played through to a player at least three yards offside (only two yards according to the home bench) but referee refused the Sheffield appeals and allowed the subsequent lob over Emily Clements to stand as it rolled into the net. To say that the visitors were unhappy is an understatement but they still had twenty minutes left to pull it back, and created the chances to do so. Clare Holmes had a golden opportunity when she shook off a defender to carry the ball into the area, beat the despairing dive of the ‘keeper, then took one touch too many and allowed the recovering defender to get a foot to the ball and put it out for a corner. The ball did finish up in the home net on one occasion, but the ‘goal’ was disallowed for a heavy challenge on the ‘keeper. So the final whistle came with the score unchanged and Sheffield leaving the field frustrated with themselves and the referee, who was advised of the visitors’ displeasure in no uncertain terms.


Ultimately the game turned on one bad decision, but Sheffield know that they were better than their hosts once they became less intimidated and started to battle back, and created enough chances for such an incident not to have influenced the eventual outcome. Sadly, the complaints continued into the post-match hospitality and were in danger of descending into the unsavoury realms of ‘sour grapes’.

It was obvious that the referee was a Howden Clough regular, being on first name terms with the home side, but Sheffield have to remember that they don’t have a divine right to three points in every game, and that we have our own regular, and equally familiar, referee at the Bright Finance Stadium. Unfortunately, he is scrupulously fair and never does US any favours!

(See 'News' for further developments on this story)


So it was a setback after a bruising encounter, but showed that Sheffield ARE the best team in the league and just need to convert more of their chances into goals. Coming up are back-to-back meetings with Hull-based AFC Preston, and an immediate opportunity to get the cart back on its wheels. 



Sheffield FC Ladies:  Emily Clements, Kate Rowell, Christina Wright, Lynne Grainger, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Lisa Giampalma, Jodie Crofts, Helen Wakefield, Clare Holmes, Lisa Bailey


Subs:  Chloe Sutton (for Charles), Natalie Crofts (for Bailey), Helen Mitchell (unused)


Goal scorer:  Lynne Grainger


Player Of The Match:  Gemma Gale


Saturday, 20/10/07

Sheffield University Ladies  1    Sheffield FC Ladies  7


Sheffield FC Ladies (all played):  Caz Whiteman, Chloe Sutton, Lauren Davids, Christina Wright, Katrina Brett, Jodie Crofts, Jo Fitzgerald, Lisa Giampalma, Helen Wakefield, Clare Holmes, Brook Hodges, Lisa Bailey, Gemma Gale, Michelle Fletcher


Goal scorers: Brook Hodges, Lisa Bailey(2), Gemma Gale, Clare Holmes, Jodie Crofts(2)



North-East Regional Women's Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 14/10/07

Sheffield FC Ladies  4    Harrogate Railway LFC  2    



Sheffield maintained their winning start to the league campaign with there seventh victory at a damp and dull Bright Finance Stadium, writes Trevor Herrington, although it wasn't quite as easy as the score suggests, as the visitors twice took the lead.


Kicking towards the Dronfield end, the Harrogate  'keeper was straight into action within the opening minute as a deep cross from Natalie Crofts found Lynne Grainger lurking at the back post, her header being grabbed at the second attempt. Sheffield were the first to settle and started to set up camp in the Harrogate half as the visitors struggled to clear the ball beyond the half way line. Ten minutes in and Rachel Charles was unlucky not to get a final contact on the ball following some good work by Lynne Grainger and Lisa Giampalma. The home side was finding plenty of width, with both Natalie Crofts and Lynne Grainger doing sterling work on the wings. A succession of corners saw Jodie Crofts deliver a near post cross which captain Nell Taylor flicked on, only to see the ball cleared off the line. Next to test the visitors was Jodie Crofts, who ran on to a through ball but pushed it just too far, allowing the 'keeper to clear the danger. Once again the midfield duo of Lisa Giampalma and Nell Taylor were combining well to set up play around them, Jodie Crofts again being the beneficiary, but this time her shot from the edge of the area was wide of the mark. Harrogate did break through the home defence just before the half hour mark, but Caz Whiteman was on hand to sweep away the danger. Then, very much against the run of play the visitors took the lead. A speculative shot from 35 yards saw the ball go over Caz Whiteman's head, hit the bar, bounce into play and, with no one else reacting quickly enough, it was headed home by a Harrogate forward. Sheffield set about trying to retrieve the situation, Jodie Crofts this time slipping the ball into the path of Rachel Charles whose first time shot was well saved. Lauren Davids was the next to try her luck, getting her head to a Gemma Gale corner, with the effort just clearing the bar. On the stroke of half time the home side finally got their just reward for all the pressure. A through ball from midfield found Rachel Charles, who drove on into the area before striking the ball goalwards. The 'keeper could only parry the effort and, despite the close attention of a defender, Nell TAYLOR was on hand to knock the ball into the empty goal.


The second half saw the home side gain a couple of quick corners, but it was the visitors who once again gained the initiative. With just two minutes of the half played, a break down the Sheffield right saw the ball moved infield and a superb strike from 25 yards found its way into the top corner of the goal, despite Caz Whiteman getting a hand to it. Sheffield responded with Lynne Grainger once again on a run down the wing before slipping the ball inside to Lisa Giampalma, whose shot was just wide of the post. Just before the hour mark, Clare Holmes was introduced as a substitute for Jodie Crofts, the fit-again striker looking for her first goal of the season. With Jodie off the pitch it was Rachel Charles who took over one side of corner kicking duties, her first effort landing right under the bar with the Harrogate 'keeper having to punch away. She was on hand again to save the visitors’ blushes when a break by Lynne Grainger saw the ball delivered into the area with three Sheffield players ready to pounce, but the 'keeper deflected the ball to safety. On 65 minutes the home side finally drew level. A through ball from Gemma Gale found Clare HOLMES beating the offside trap, and she coolly slipped the ball over the advancing ‘keeper, much to the delight of the home crowd and her fellow players. A minute later and it's deja vu as once again Clare HOLMES is quickest off the mark with a carbon copy finish of her previous goal. It was then time for another substitution as Natalie Crofts made way for another of our injured players, Christina Wright, to make a welcome return and gain some match fitness. Sheffield kept up the pressure and, with just under ten minutes to go, Gemma Gale had a long range shot which was gathered by the 'keeper. With only one goal between the teams it was essential the home side kept their concentration, especially in the worsening conditions. This they did admirably, despite a late sortie from Harrogate that saw a free kick headed just wide of the post. With three minutes left the points were sealed when Rachel Charles played the ball to Clare Holmes, the striker then unselfishly releasing it for the unmarked Lisa GIAMPALMA to smash home off the underside of the bar.


Credit to both sides for an entertaining game in difficult conditions. Sheffield were made to work hard for their victory by a stubborn Harrogate side who will surprise a few teams this season. The work ethic of the home side was first class throughout, and it was good to see Clare Holmes, Christina Wright, and Chloe Sutton returning from injury as second half substitutes.


Next Sunday's scheduled game has been postponed as Wigton Moor are now in County Cup action, but a friendly has been arranged on Saturday to provide match practice before the trip to Howden Clough on the 28th, which promises to be Sheffield's toughest test of the season in the league so far.


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Katrina Brett, Lauren Davids, Kate Rowell, Gemma Gale, Natalie Crofts, Nell Taylor, Lisa Giampalma, Lynne Grainger, Rachel Charles, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Clare Holmes (for J.Crofts), Christina Wright (for N.Crofts), Chloe Sutton (for Brett)


Goal scorers:  Nell Taylor, Clare Holmes(2), Lisa Giampalma


Player Of The Match:  Lynne Grainger



North-East Regional Women's Football League Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 07/10/07

Manvers  0    Sheffield FC Ladies  4    



Sheffield Ladies turned on the style this afternoon, running out convincing 4-0 winners to extend their winning sequence at the top of the league, writes Trevor Herrington.


Despite their lowly league position Manvers are no push over on home soil, and it looked as though it could be a frustrating afternoon as the their rearguard kept the visiting forwards at bay, their 'keeper making three top class saves early on. However, it took just over ten minutes before the home defence was breached when a break down the left saw the ball fed into the area where Rachel CHARLES was on hand to turn and shoot and, in doing so, keep her recent goal-a-game ratio going. Despite the early saves, the home 'keeper was becoming unnerved at all the pressure on her goal as Sheffield pressed forward and fired shots in at every opportunity. On 26 minutes the lead was doubled as Jodie Crofts’ shot was deflected to her sister Natalie, who put the ball back into the area where Lisa GIAMPALMA composed herself before firing beyond the 'keeper’s reach. A corner from Gemma Gale then found the 'keeper flapping, but Nell Taylor failed to convert the chance. The game was virtually over as a contest just before the half hour mark when, after yet more concerted pressure from the visitors, a cross into the area saw the 'keeper only managing to palm the ball to the feet of Natalie CROFTS who made no mistake in dispatching it into the net for a 3-0 half-time lead.


The second half saw the visitors go further ahead on 49 minutes with the best move of the match. With Sheffield in possession near their own penalty area, a series of passes involving at least half the team saw the ball moved up into attack, and midfield dynamo Lisa Giampalma provided the defence splitting pass which Lynne GRAINGER ran onto before sliding the ball home past the advancing goalkeeper. With Manvers in disarray, Sheffield were unlucky with their next effort which was cleared off the line. A couple of substitutions allowed the team to reshuffle personnel on the field, but the chances were still there, Gemma Gale driving a free kick just over the bar, quickly followed by Nell Taylor whose shot was also wide of the mark. Manvers started to press forward more as Sheffield took their foot off the pedal, so to speak, playing as much for pride than anything else. However, it didn't stop Gemma Gale hitting a long free kick from inside her own half to find substitute Helen Wakefield running through unchallenged, but her effort was just wide of the post. Lisa Gialpalma once again showed great vision to pick out Lynne Grainger on a run into the area, but brave goalkeeping averted the danger. The visitors had a scare when a rare mix up in defence between goalkeeper and defender saw the ball break loose to a Manvers player but, with the goal wide open, she wasted the chance. That encouraged the visitors to change back up a gear and take control again. Rachel Charles sending a deep corner to the back post, allowing Lynne Grainger a chance that was scrambled away. Substitute Clare Holmes, playing her first game for two months, worked hard to close down the home defence and was desperate to score, going close on two or three occasions. With just over five minutes to go Rachel Charles was again close with an audacious shot/lob from just outside the area that only just dropped over the  bar. The last chance of the game fell to Manvers when Gemma Gale headed onto the back of a Manvers player with the ball running to an unmarked forward, but Caz Whiteman was quick to close her down, making the player rush her shot which was wide of the mark.


So, six wins out of six and five clean sheets sees the Ladies still sitting proudly at the top of the league. Next up is a home fixture, next Sunday (14th) against Harrogate Railway.



Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Katrina Brett, Lauren Davids, Kate Rowell, Gemma Gale, Natalie Crofts, Nell Taylor, Lisa Giampalma, Lynne Grainger, Rachel Charles, Jodie Crofts,


Subs:  Clare Holmes (for J.Crofts), Helen Wakefield (for Davids), Helen Mitchell (unused)


Goal scorers:  Rachel Charles, Lisa Giampalma, Natalie Crofts, Lynne Grainger


Player Of The Match:  Lynne Grainger

North-East Regional Women's Football Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 30/09/07

Sheffield FC Ladies  2    Ossett Albion LFC  0 

Top of the table Sheffield were looking for revenge this afternoon at the Bright Finance Stadium, writes Trevor Herrington. Ossett Albion were the team that ended Club’s undefeated home league record last season. which had stood for almost three years, and with both teams still undefeated so far this season there was everything to play for to gain an early advantage in the league table.


The home side kicked off and immediately attacked down the Ossett right with Helen Wakefield forcing a corner which was cleared by the visitors. Sheffield were having the better of the early exchanges, but ten minutes in Ossett came close from a free kick to the back post, with the header going wide. A minute later and the hosts took the lead. A good through ball from the middle of the park released Helen WAKEFIELD, who cut inside the area to calmly slot the ball wide of the ‘keeper and in at the far post, despite the attentions of a defender. It was now nearly all Sheffield as they controlled the game and put pressure on a very rocky defence. A corner from Gemma Gale onto the head of Lisa Bailey saw the striker’s effort fly just over the bar. On the half hour mark the hosts thought they'd doubled their lead when Rachel Charles hammered home a shot from close range, but the effort was disallowed for offside. Five minutes from the break a goal kick from Ossett landed at the feet of Lisa Giampalma, the diminutive midfielder driving through the visitors’ defence to shoot narrowly wide with the ‘keeper well beaten. Three minutes from the break Sheffield added a much-needed second goal. Quick thinking from Jodie Crofts to play a short corner allowed Lynne Grainger to hoist the ball into the area, and with the Ossett defence not clearing its lines, it was left to Rachel CHARLES to put the ball over the line as it rebounded off the ‘keeper, the youngster now having scored in each of the last four games. She was unlucky not to add another in stoppage time when a snap shot from the edge of the area hit the bar.


The second half saw a flurry of chances for the home side early on, Gemma Gale firing a long range free kick just over and Helen Wakefield going close being just two of the many efforts. Nell Taylor ghosted into the area to get on the end of a Gemma Gale cross, but directed her header the wrong side of the post. With ten minutes left a good run down the wing from Helen Wakefield saw her deliver a cross onto the edge of the area which Rachel Charles hit straight at the keeper. She was unlucky once again after more sustained pressure saw her shoot just over the bar. In added time it was Wakefield again, still full of running, who made strides down the Ossett right to deliver the ball inside to Jodie Crofts, but the resulting shot lacked power.


So undefeated Sheffield stay top of the league and, with four clean sheets out of the first five games, the team is looking settled. It could and should have been more emphatic, but three points were the main priority and credit goes to Caz Whiteman and the defence who had to keep focused during long periods of inactivity, restricting Ossett to very few opportunities. Next up is a top versus bottom clash as Sheffield travel to Manvers next Sunday.



Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Natalie Crofts, Lauren Davids, Lynne Grainger, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Nell Taylor, Lisa Giampalma,  Helen Wakefield, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Katrina Brett (for N>Crofts), Kate Rowell (for Grainger), Helen Mitchell (for Bailey)


Goal scorers:  Helen Wakefield, Rachel Charles


Player Of The Match:  Lisa Giampalma

North-East Regional Women's Football Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 23/09/07

Bilton Athletic Ladies  0    Sheffield FC Ladies  4 

Sheffield Ladies found the winning touch again today when their league campaign resumed in the outskirts of Kingston Upon Hull with a visit to Bilton Athletic (formerly Greatfield Belles).  The anticipated windy conditions forecast at the end of lat week’s report weren’t a problem as the game was staged at a different location to last season,  well sheltered by surrounding trees so that the stiff breeze in evidence had little or no effect on the football played, unlike the pitch which resembled the average back garden.


With Gemma Evans making her first appearance of the season at left back, it soon became apparent that the hosts were there for the taking, and the visitors quickly took advantage of their early superiority by striking twice within the first ten minutes.  The opener sprang from the first sortie by Bilton into the Sheffield penalty area and, when their attack broke down, the ball was played swiftly and smoothly out of defence in a sweeping break which saw the final pass picked up by Lisa GIAMPALMA, who took the ball into the opposition area and calmly tucked it away.  Only a minute later the visitors’ lead was doubled when a melee in the Bilton area saw the ball arrive at the feet of Rachel CHARLES, who slotted it home from close range for her third goal in tas many games.  At this point we sat back (well, stood back to be precise) and waited for the goal avalanche that would see the scoreline rise to something around last season’s 13-2 drubbing, but it never came.  Despite almost constant pressure from Sheffield, with the rare Bilton attacks being ably mopped up by the back three and Caz Whiteman (again demonstrating her ‘keeper cum sweeper capabilities), the goals just wouldn’t come.  In fairness, much of this was down to one of the hosts’ defenders in particular whose good reading of the game resulted in a number of vital interceptions and tackles, together with the home ‘keeper who, though small and a little stocky, proved to be remarkably mobile around her area and an excellent shot stopper, although she was beaten by a speculative effort from Lisa Giampalma which struck the bar and rebounded to safety.  So half time arrived with no addition to the score.


The second half continued in the same vein, with chances for the visitors coming thick and fast as the heroic home ‘keeper blocked shot after shot and her defensive partner continued to mop up when danger threatened.  As the half progressed, and with a couple of substitutions by the home side bringing them more into the game, the visitors’ lead seemed to be a little less secure, although the increased pressure from the hosts was never really turned into clear cut chances.  Nerves were finally settled in the last five minutes when the home ‘keeper was eventually beaten by individual efforts from JODIE CROFTS and Lynne GRAINGER before the referee brought proceedings to an end with the score more fairly reflecting the afternoon’s proceedings.


The mood of the Sheffield players and coaching staff was strangely subdued after the game, with the elation that would be expected from such a result being conspicuous by its absence.  In reality, Sheffield have played better and lost in the past, and the knowledge that they should have won this one by a country mile could not be ignored.  But it can't be perfect all the time, and I'm sure the coming week will see any problems addressed in time for the visit to the Bright Finance Stadium next Sunday of Ossett Albion Ladies who, from past experience, will provide a much sterner test. 


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Natalie Crofts, Lauren Davids, Gemma Evans, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Nell Taylor, Lisa Giampalma, Lynne Grainger, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Helen Wakefield (for Bailey), Katrina Brett (for Gale), Helen Mitchell (for Giampalma)


Goal scorers:  Lisa Giampalma, Rachel Charles, Jodie Crofts, Lynne Grainger


Player Of The Match:  Nell Taylor

FA Women's Cup - 1st Qualifying Round

Sunday, 16/09/07

Huddersfield Town Ladies  2    Sheffield FC Ladies  1 

Sheffield FC Ladies’ second venture into the realms of the FA Women’s Cup came to an unfortunate end at windswept Emley today as they lost narrowly to higher division Huddersfield Town Ladies, the hosts gaining revenge for their extra time defeat by Club in the League Cup some eight months earlier.


As could be expected for a ground located at an altitude of several thousand feet (okay, perhaps a slight exaggeration there - blame the thin air!) a strong wind blowing across the pitch was always going to make flowing football difficult for both sides despite a good playing surface, and it was Sheffield who started the brighter by putting early pressure on the Huddersfield defence, but without making it count.  However the hosts soon began to settle, and rocked the visitors with a goal from their first serious attack as the ten-minute mark approached.  A clever ball through the Sheffield defence was seized upon by a Huddersfield forward who carried it into the left side of the penalty area before striking an angled shot which ‘keeper Caz Whiteman just managed to steer round the post.  From the resultant corner, the inswinging ball was carried on the wind to the far post where it was drilled home, giving Caz no chance.  The hosts continued to press from then on and were unlucky not to increase their lead when a twenty-five-yarder beat Caz but struck a post and rebounded to safety.  Sheffield tried to claw their way back into the game without success, but defended stoutly to reach the break just the one goal behind.


The visitors started the second half in determined mood, and leveled the score within ten minutes of the second period.  A ball over the static Huddersfield back line saw three Sheffield players in hot pursuit, and it was Rachel CHARLES who latched on to it before advancing into the right side of the penalty area and coolly slotting it past the home ‘keeper.  Chances fell to both sides throughout the remainder of the game, with a speculative shot from Huddersfield finding the crossbar on one occasion, but it was Sheffield who were pushing forward and looking the more likely to nick it as the prospect of extra time approached.  But football can be a cruel game and, as stoppage time arrived, a ball into the visitors’ penalty area was met by Lynne Grainger, whose attempted headed clearance looped into the air and over stranded ‘keeper Caz Whiteman for a devastating own goal.  Despite desperate attempts to hit back in the final couple of minutes Sheffield’s fate was sealed. and this season’s cup adventure came to a premature end. 


It had been a battling team effort against higher-ranked opposition, and I'm sure the disappointment felt by Sheffield will be forgotten by the time league action resumes next Sunday with the the longest trip of the season to Hull-based Bilton Athletic (formerly Greatfield Belles), where the proximity of the North Sea and River Humber almost guarantees that 'windswept'  will again feature in the match report. 


Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Kate Rowell, Lauren Davids, Lynne Grainger, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Nell Taylor, Lisa Giampalma, Natalie Crofts, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Gemma Evans (unused), Helen Mitchell (unused)


Goal scorer:  Rachel Charles


Player Of The Match: Jodie Crofts

North-East Regional Women's Football Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 09/09/07

Keighley Ladies  3    Sheffield FC Ladies  4 

Sheffield maintained their place at the top of the table with their third straight win, although they were made to fight all the way thanks to some dubious refereeing decisions, writes Trevor Herrington.


The visitors got off to the perfect start, opening the scoring just after the first minute when a Gemma Gale corner was met at the near post for Lauren DAVIDS to head home. A strong crosswind meant that neither side had a clear advantage from the weather conditions, but Sheffield were using it more to their advantage, using Helen Wakefield launch numerous crosses into the danger area. Sheffield were well in control, although they had a scare on the ten minute mark when a ball over the defence saw 'keeper Caz Whiteman rush out only for the ball to be lobbed over her head and goalwards, but Lynne Grainger was there to play the ball to safety. Good work by Helen Wakefield, winning the ball in midfield, saw her go on a mazy run down the wing, but her cross was cut out. Gemma Gale then unleashed a freekick which the 'keeper did well to hold. On the other wing, young Rachel Charles had got the measure of her marker and whipped in a cross from which Jodie Crofts was unlucky not to score. Despite the wind, the visitors were spreading the play and just after the half hour mark produced one of the best moves of the game. Defending a Keighley corner, the ball was cleared to the edge of their own area and a flowing move saw Jodie Crofts and Rachel Charles combine before the youngster unleashed a powerful shot which was well saved. Then, in added time at the end of the half the referee made the outragious decision to allow play to continue despite two Keighley forwards being at least five yards offside, the strikers combining to give Caz Whiteman no chance. Despite loud protests the goal stood, and it was an aggrieved Sheffield side that left the field at the break.


With the wingers now on opposite sides of the field it was time for Rachel Charles to shine as the team carried on where they had left off by swinging in crosses from out wide. It paid dividends four minutes into the second half when she beat her marker and sent over a cross which the 'keeper fumbled, and Lisa BAILEY was on hand to restore the visitors' lead. Just after the hour mark Sheffield went further ahead when a break by captain Nell Taylor saw her shot blocked, the ball falling to Jodie Crofts who laid it back into the path of Lisa BAILEY whose precision sidefoot shot from the edge of the area beat the 'keeper. The striker then almost claimed a hat-trick as good interplay between Nell Taylor and Rachel Charles set her up again, but her shot was inches over the bar. Despite this dominating play Keighley still looked dangerous on the break, and the visitors were fortunate on sixty five minutes when a cross into the Sheffield area saw two Keighley players free, but both failed to get the vital touch and the danger was averted. With just over twenty minutes remaining the home side grabbed a lifeline when a break through the middle saw a Keighley forward slip the ball past the advancing Caz Whiteman and into the net. With Keighley pressing for an equaliser it left more space for Sheffield to exploit, and on seventy two minutes that was put to good effect when Gemma Gale threaded the ball to Rachel CHARLES who beat her defender and the 'keeper to the ball and see it trickle over the line for her first goal for the club. With just over five minutes left to play Bailey was again inches wide with a shot just over the bar. A nailbiting finish ensued when, with just four minutes remaining, the Keighley number 3 followed some good work on the wing by cutting inside and unleashing a shot which dipped over the head of Caz Whiteman and into the net. A frantic finish saw Sheffield content to pull players behind the ball, although once again Lisa Bailey went close with a shot just wide of the post.


A great start to the season as the Ladies not only showed us that they can play good football, but can also 'dig-in' when necessary. Next week sees a rest from  league as the team travel to take on Huddersfield in the FA Women's Cup.



Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Natalie Crofts, Lauren Davids, Lynne Grainger, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Nell Taylor, Lisa Giampalma, Helen Wakefield, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Sophie Thomas (for Wakefield), Katrina Brett (unused), Helen Mitchell (unused)


Goal scorers:  Lisa Bailey(2), Lauren Davids, Rachel Charles


Player Of The Match: Rachel Charles

North-East Regional Women's Football Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 02/09/07

Sheffield FC Ladies  2    Castleford White Rose LAFC  0 

With the opposition expected to offer a much tougher test than the week before, Sheffield soon began to show they had the means to give anyone a game and went at the visitors in waves, only to see chance after chance wasted until the breakthrough came on the stroke of half time.  A flowing move saw the ball returned to birthday girl and Player of the Match, Lisa GIAMPALMA, whose fierce strike from the edge of the area bent away to give the opposition 'keeper no chance, and lift the spirits of the frustrated hosts at just the right time.


The second half continued much like the first, but only provided one more score on the road to victory with captain Nell TAYLOR connecting with a cross just outside the six-yard box for a rare headed goal.  More goals were expected but never arrived, the closest effort coming fro Sarah Barber who, playing her last game for Sheffield before moving to a new job in Zurich, contrived to head against the post and out of danger from all of two yards!  What a pity - it would have been the best possible send off.


So another dominant performance from the home side came to an end with everyone wondering once again how there hadn't been many more goals, but suitably bouyed ahead of the next game - away to perennial spoilers Keighley.



Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Kate Rowell, Lauren Davids, Lynne Grainger, Gemma Gale, Rachel Charles, Nell Taylor, Lisa Giampalma, Sarah Barber, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Natalie Crofts (for Gale), Sophie Thomas (for Rowell), Helen Mitchell (unused)


Goal scorers:  Lisa Giampalma, Nell Taylor


Player Of The Match: Lisa Giampalma

North-East Regional Women's Football Division 1 (South)

Sunday, 26/08/07

Sheffield FC Ladies  4    Collingham Tadcaster LFC  0 

What a difference seven days can make!  After the problems encounterd against unknown opposition in a cup tie the week before, Sheffield approached the start of the league campaign with a little more uncertaintly as they welcome Collingham Tadcaster LFC to the Bright Finance Stadium.  Had it been the familiar opposition of previous seasons, Tadcaster Albion, the game could probaby have been approached with a large degree of confidence, but a summer merging of Albion with Collingham meant that they were now another unknown quantity.  However, any doubts prove to be short lived. 


The game was only four minutes old when a ball chipped in from the right by Gemma Gail was met within the six yard box by Lisa BAILEY, who planted her header firmly past the opposition 'keeper.  The home side were in control from then on and doubled their lead just before the twenty minute mark when Gemma GALE launched a free kick from wide out on the left and at least 35 yards from goal, then watched it bounce once in the penalty area before clearing everyone including the unsighted 'keeper and nestling in the far corner of the net.  It was definitely a 'summer' goal - three or four months later and it would never have bounced high enough!  The visitors' fate was sealed on the sroke of half time when JODIE CROFTS unleashed a trademark 20-yarder which cleared the 'keeper and dipped just ubder the crossbay to give the hosts a comfortable lead.


Sheffield maintained their dominance after the break but, to everyone's amazement (the visitors included!), they could only add one more to the total - the persistance of Hayley ROACH paying dividends to create enough confusion between a defender and the 'keeper for her to stab the loose ball into the net from close range with just over 10 minutes to go.  The final whistle blew with the hosta delighted at a convincing victory, but wondering how they had not achieved somewhere near double figures in the goal tally!  A special mention goes to Sheffield's resident 'keeper, Caz Whiteman, who with little or nothing to do in the way of shot-stopping effectively played as a sweeper, clearing any potential danger before it could develop.  As manager Helen Mitchell said afterwards, "It's like having an extra outfield player in the side."


The league action continues in seven days with the visit of Castleford White Rose, with previous experience suggesting that they will offer a much tougher test than today's opponents.  



Sheffield FC Ladies:  Caz Whiteman, Kate Rowell, Lauren Davids, Natalie Crofts, Katrina Brett, Rachel Charles, Nell Taylor, Gemma Gale, Lynne Grainger, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Hayley Roach (for J.Crofts), Katie Fenton  (for Charles), Helen Mitchell (for Gale)


Goal scorers:  Lisa Bailey, Gemma Gale, Jodie Crofts, Hayley Roach


Player Of The Match: Kate Rowell




North-East Regional League Cup 1st Round

Sunday, 19/08/07

Sheffield FC Ladies  0    Howden Clough LFC  3


Sheffield Ladies launched their competitive season at the Bright Finance Stadium against Howden Clough (newly promoted from the division below) and ended a disappointing afternoon knowing that there was much to work on over the next seven days.  Fortunately this was a cup tie and therefore a good time to get a poor performance out of the way before the all important league campaigh is underway. 


The home side had most of the play for the opening twenty minutes, but the visitors were obviously a well organised outfit and allowed little opportunity for turning the pressure into goals.  As we reached the half hour mark the tide began to turn, and Sheffield were rocked by two strikes in five minutes from the opposition to go into the break with much to think about.  The second half was less than ten minutss old when the visitors effectively sealed the outcome with a third goal and, although the home side tried hard to claw back the deficit, the score remained the same until five minutes from normal time when the game was called to a premature halt following a bad injury to Sheffield's stand-in 'keeper, Carla Manship.  The Sheffield stopper was quickly off her line to intercept a through ball just outside the penalty area but was met by what most observers thought was a late challenge from an opposition player, quite unnecessary in the circumstances, and lay prone on the pitch in obvious pain.  Immediate examination suggested that it was serious, and Carla was kept warm on the pitch until the paramedics and then an ambulance arrived.  In the meantime, the referee and both managers agreed than proceedings should be brought to an end, so the last action of the evening was to see Carla off to hospital with a broken ankle.


So a sad end to a very disappointing evening for Sheffield and much to think about before the commencement of league action a week later.  And, of course, everone's thoughts with the latest addition to the ever growing injury list.



Sheffield FC Ladies:  Carla Manship, Kate Rowell, Gemma Gale, Natalie Crofts, Katrina Brett, Rachel Charles, Nell Taylor, Lisa Giampalma, Sarah Barber, Lisa Bailey, Jodie Crofts


Subs:  Sophie Thomas (for Rowell), Hayley Roach,  (for Bailey), Helen Mitchell, (for Brett)


Player Of The Match: Rachel Charles



Sunday, 12/08/07

Doncaster Belles Development  2    Sheffield FC Ladies  1


After the honour of playing hosts last Wednesday to Europe's top women's football team, Arsenal Ladies (not the reserves, not the academy side, but the international-packed real thing), in what was the highlight of Club's pre-season entertainment, Sheffield FC Ladies continued their warm-up this afternoon with a friendly away to Doncaster Belles Development, a late goal from the hosts bringing a 2-1 defeat for Sheffield which probably reflected the tiredness many still felt from their efforts against the Gunners a few days earlier. The good news was that Wednesday night's injured heroine, 'keeper Caz Whiteman, had recovered and was fit to play; the bad news that Clare Holmes, also injured early on against Arsenal and withdrawn again after trying to play on following being patched up, was later found to have broken her arm and is in plaster for five weeks!



Sheffield FC Ladies (all played):  Caz Whiteman, Kate Rowell, Lauren Davids, Lynne Grainger,  Gemma Gale, Sarah Barber, Lisa Giampalma, Rachel Charles, Helen Wakefield, Sarah Wilson, Hayley Roach, Helen Walker, Brook Hodges, Katie Fenton, Jo Fitzgerald, Helen Mitchell


Goal scorer: Hayley Roach



Wednesday, 08/08/07

Sheffield FC Ladies  0    Arsenal Ladies  12


What a night!  It was never going to be an even contest, but the hundreds of spectators who turned out for the most prestigious of all the pre-season games at the Bright Finance Stadium were treated to an exhibition of football that provided the perfect advert for the women's game.  The Arsenal players, all internationals (mostly at full level) and many soon to be on their way to represent England in the World Cup in China, payed the girls from Sheffield the greatest compliment by playing the type of football that had seen them win every game at the highest level last season and never easing off or showing any disrespect to their less skillful hosts.  And our girls played their part by giving it everything and savouring every moment of the opportunity to test themselves against their more illustrious opponents.  They threw everything into it with such commitment that three of them had to go off injured - Clare Holmes early in the first half after being struck on the arm from close range with a powerful shot and having to call it a day despite a brave attempt to rejoin the action following initial treatment, first half substitite Chris Wright who enjoyed only a short spell on the field before doing damage to her troublesome knee, then heroine of the evening, 'keeper Caz Whiteman who, having performed miracles in keeping the score down to just out of single figures (note: Arsenal put 15 past Fulham in a league game towards the end of last season) suffered a leg injury and had to leave the field with a quarter of the game still to go.  Without a substiute 'keeper on the bench, Sheffield were then assisted by the visitors when their reserve stopper, Rebecca Spencer, having only just replaced Emma Byrne in the Arsenal net, was loaned out to the hosts whilst their No.1 was summoned back from the dressing room.  Rebecca played her part splendidly, and the evening drew to a close with the Sheffield players leaving the field of play wearing the biggest smiles you could ever hope to see.  The Arsenal and Sheffield players spent some time signing autographs at the end, and Rebecca Spencer was asked if playing for Sheffield had been the highlight of her career so far.  She didn't say 'no'.



Sheffield FC Ladies (all played):  Caz Whiteman, Rachel Charles, Lauren Davids, Lynne Grainger, Lisa Giamplama, Helen Wakefield, Clare Holmes, Nell Taylor, Sarah Barber, Hayley Roach, Gemma Gale, Helen Mitchell, Christina Wright, Katrina Brett, Kate Rowell, Karla Harrison, Chloe Sutton, Katie Fenton


Guest Substitute Goalkeeper: Rebecca Spencer (Arsenal Ladies & England U19)


On the sidelines:  Helen Walker, Jo Fitzgerald, Sarah Wilson, Brook Hodges, Sophie Thomas


In Egypt:  Lisa Bailey, Natalie & Jodie Crofts


Arsenal Ladies: Emma Byrne (Ireland), Alex Scott (England), Cirea Grant (Ire), Anite Asante (Eng), Gilly Flaherty (Eng U17), Jane Ludlow (Wales), Kate Chapman (Eng), Karen Carney (Eng), Kelly Smith (Eng), Rachel Yankey (Eng), Leanne Anderson (Eng)

Subs (all played): Yvonne Tracy (Ire), Faye White (Eng), Gemma Davidson (Eng U17), Rebecca Spencer

Goal scorers:Carney(3), Ludlow(2), Scott(2), Smith(2), Sanderson(2), White



Sunday, 05/08/07

Sheffield FC Ladies  1    Radcliffe Olympic Ladies  3


Sheffield FC Ladies (all played):  Mel Presley, Kate Rowell, Gemma Gale, Helen Walker, Katrina Brett, Helen Wakefield, Lisa Giampalma, Nell Taylor, Karla Harrison, Lisa Bailey, Clare Holmes, Rachel Charles, Helen Mitchell, Brook Hodges, Sarah Wilson, Katie Fenton


Goal scorer:  Lisa Bailey (pen) 



Sunday, 29/07/07

Barnsley Ladies Reserves  2    Sheffield FC Ladies  2


Sheffield FC Ladies (all played):  Caz Whiteman, Helen Mitchell, Gemma Gale, Natalie Crofts, Katrina Brett, Katie Fenton, Lisa Giampalma, Jodie Crofts, Lynne Grainger, Lisa Bailey, Clare Holmes, Helen Walker, Karla Harrison, Sarah Wilson  


Goal scorers: Jodie Crofts, Lisa Giampalma



Thursday, 19/07/07

Sheffield FC Ladies  1    Sheffield Wednesday Ladies Reserves  2


Sheffield FC Ladies (all played):  Caz Whiteman, Katrina Brett, Christina Wright, Natalie Crofts, Gemma Gale, Helen Wakefield, Lisa Giampalma, Clare Holmes, Lynne Grainger, Lisa Handy, Jodie Crofts, Kate Rowell, Karla Harrison, Nell Taylor, Hayley Roach, Jo Fitzgerald, Helen Mitchell


Goal scorer:  Christina Wright