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Goalie Orman the star as Blades nick a point in 0-0 draw against Palace

By Football Reporter

Crystal Palace and Sheffield United fought out a 0-0 draw at Hayes Lane in an FA Women’s Championship game of few clear chances for either side until the few minutes when the clash became more and more stretched.

It was the Blades who started brightest as Maddy Cusack tested on-loan from Chelsea Emily Orman inside five minutes before Jess Clarke volleyed wide at the back post, but Palace almost went ahead when Coral-Jade Haines saw an effort well saved by Fran Kitching and Millie Farrow’s follow-up cleared away.

The game became a bit stop-start with a couple of injury stoppages leading up to half-time, but Orman was again alert to deny Courtney Sweetman-Kirk while Clarke felt she should have had a penalty in first half stoppage time.

Neither side really created too many clear chances after the break, Siobhan Wilson the threat for the hosts with a couple of shots from distance, while Clarke was similar for United as she twice cut in from the left and saw efforts flash past the far post.

As the game became more and more stretched late on, it looked like someone would steal the points, but the hosts were denied by some brilliant last-ditch defending from a corner in stoppage time, before United broke up field and Lucy Watson saw a low effort go agonisingly past the far post.

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Crystal Palace (3-5-2): Emily Orman; Annabel Johnson, Sophie McLean, Gracie Pearse; Leanne Cowan, Aimee Everett, Lizzie Waldie, Charley Clifford, Leanne Cowan; Millie Farrow, Coral-Jade Haines

Substitutes: Kirsty Barton for Clifford 61, Molly Sharpe for McLean 68, Bianca Baptiste for Farrow 87

Substitutes not used: Chloe Morgan, Leigh Nicol, Grace Coombs, Hannah Churchill

Sheffield United (4-2-3-1): Fran Kitching; Sophie Walton, Sophie Bradley-Auckland, Georgia Robert, Charlotte Newsham; Kasia Lipka, Tara Bourne; Lucy Watson, Maddy Cusack, Jess Clarke; Courtney Sweetman-Kirk

Substitutes: Bex Rayner for Bourne 70

Substitutes not used: Nina Wilson, Alethea Paul, Tamara Wilcock, Emily Syme, Charley Docherty

Referee: Louise Saunders

Sheffield United manager Neil Redfearn: “I thought first half we were quite dominant and then the second half was a much tighter affair. We had a lot of the ball, a lot of good possession in their half, they looked dangerous on the break but we’ve done well and come away and got a point against a good team.

“It’s another plus for us and another clean sheet which is massive if you want to get where you’re going to get. I think you have to give them some credit in defence, I said to the girls at the end, you’re not going to steamroll everybody, but we created enough chances to win the game, but they had a few chances too.

“Fran was great in goal and the two centre-backs were magnificent, different class. Maddy and Kasia were their usual selves in midfield and on another day Lucy could have had one at the end, it’s a great strike and she’s done well to go past her marker, but it’s a good point and I look at it as a good point.

“This isn’t an easy place to come and Palace will beat people, but we’ve kept three clean sheets in a row, unbeaten in four and we can’t grumble at that.”


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