Sheffield United head coach Neil Redfearn said that he could not fault the performance of his side as they slipped to a 1-0 home defeat to Liverpool this afternoon.
The Blades showed plenty of attacking impetus and would surely have come away with at least a share of the spoils had they been more clinical from the penalty spot. The South Yorkshire club were awarded two penalty kicks over the course of 90 minutes but Katie Wilkinson put her effort wide while Jade Pennock was denied by Liverpool keeper Rylee Foster.
When speaking to FAWSL Full-Time after the match, Redfearn said that he was very pleased with his side’s overall performance despite the defeat.
“It was a good performance,” Redfearn said. “I thought that we dominated the game, we played some good stuff. Out of possession I thought we worked out how they played out from the back and I thought we pressed well. If I was nitpicking perhaps with the dominance that we had, we didn’t get in-front of goal enough but having said that, we’ve missed two penalties.
“I’ve got to be pleased with the performance. Against a full-time side, I thought the girls acquitted themselves brilliantly.”
Seeing forwards Wilkinson and Pennock miss chances was something which has been a rarity in the last couple of seasons and Redfearn paid tribute to the pair following their failed penalty attempts.
He said “Both girls who missed the penalties today have been absolutely brilliant for us this season, I wouldn’t ever criticise anybody.
“You have to have mental toughness and braveness to take a penalty and it’s part of the game. Everyone says that you should score but you have a professional goalkeeper to beat. If they guess right, they save it.
“I’m really pleased with my girls today, I thought they were superb.”
Liverpool have leapfrogged Sheffield United into third position in the FA Women’s Championship table with the win. Neither club will be promoted this season but Redfearn confirmed that steering The Blades into the top flight is his priority.
“For me, the big picture is that I want to get this side into the top flight,” Redfearn said. “It’s a process, it is going to take a while.
“We started off keeping clean sheets, I know we’ve conceded one today but I think that’s 10 or 11 clean sheets this season. We then wanted to be more expansive and play good football, knock it about well, you’ve seen that today.
“I think we are getting better. We are heading in the right direction.”
Sheffield United end the 2020/2021 FA Women’s Championship campaign with a trip to Blackburn Rovers next Sunday.