Sheffield United forward Courtney Sweetman-Kirk says that her side were unlucky not to take all three points from their latest FA Women’s Championship fixture at Durham this afternoon.
The Blades battled to a 1-1 draw in the North East and while that result looks good on paper, the scoreline doesn’t tell the full story.
Sweetman-Kirk found herself in a great position to score inside the first minute at Maiden Castle but failed to hit the target before she side-footed another chance wide with the goal at her mercy. The forward did finally get her goal soon after before former Sheffield United defender Ali Johnson levelled matters on her Durham debut.
When speaking to FAWSL Full-Time after the match, Sweetman-Kirk said that Sheffield United were returning to South Yorkshire disappointed that they had not taken all three points.
“Durham is always a tough place to come, we know that,” said Sweetman-Kirk. “The way that we performed, particularly in the first half, we had a lot of chances.
“For me personally, I’m disappointed, they’re the sort of goals that I normally like scoring. I’ve apologised to the gaffer and the girls but it is what it is.
“Sometimes, you don’t take your chances and the second half, I think it becomes a bit more scrappy and it plays into Durham’s hands.
“Good point but I think that we will come away thinking that it should have been three to be honest.”
It has taken Sheffield United time to find consistency in both performances and results this season under new head coach Neil Redfearn but The Blades have now taken 13 points from their last five matches. While the club’s promotion hopes are over for another season, Sweetman-Kirk believes that the team are now performing to the level that has been demanded of them by Redfearn and that bodes well for next season.
“Redders came in late in pre-season, I missed the first three or so games and there have been a lot of players in and out,” the forward said. “Redders is a fantastic manager and is very much process-driven.
“As much as he was disappointed, I think we will all look back on it this week and will all be very excited and pleased with the first half because that is what we are about and that is how we want to play. That first half performance, except for the lack of clinical finishing, was what we are about and what we have been working towards for a long time and it came to fruition today.
“You’ve got to step back from it sometimes and look at it analytically and going forward now, it is about keeping that process of how we want to play and taking that into next season and everyone having a full pre-season under their belts.”
Sheffield United are on the road again next Sunday when they make the long trip south to Crystal Palace.