Rotherham United LFC: Firsts and Development teams are United in victory

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Both Rotherham United’s Ladies firsts and Development team recorded victories to see them at the summit of their respective leagues.

United’s firsts hosted Steel City Wanderers in the FA Women’s Premier League Midlands Division One on Sunday at Parkgate’s Roundwood Ground.

Rotherham won 6-3 when they played their division’s nearest neighbours at the end of September and another pulsating encounter saw Rotherham prevail 3-2 with Steels again only on level terms until the opening goal.

This came after just seven minutes when Megan Wylde, registered in midweek, netted at a corner.

Steels hit back forcefully, Charlie Whiteley making a fine save to her left to deny Paris Wagstaff and a few ensuing corners kept the pressure firmly on the home goal.

Steels keeper Ellie Sharpe then produced a couple of fine saves to deny Amy Pollock and Nat Shaw, but barely had Rotherham almost doubled the lead than Steels came close to yet again negating it with Jade Rabjohn clearing off the line.

Rotherham doubled their lead with a goal out of the blue midway through the second half. Receiving the ball from a throw-in on the right midway inside the Steels half, Kat Clarke hit a first-time dipper into the far corner giving Sharpe no chance.

An injury to Hayley Sloan added to Rotherham’s already lengthy casualty list and her industriousness was missed in midfield. Steels pulled one back after Whiteley, who otherwise had a fine game making some key saves, failed to hold a free kick and the ball ping-ponging off Maria Burns, Rabjohn and then Burns whose header forced the ball home on 75 minutes.

Rotherham’s response was near-instant. Sharpe’s ball out from a back pass went straight to Shaw, the only home player anywhere in a dangerous position, and she was unerring with a low-placed shot a minute later.

Zoe Beresford reduced the arrears to 3-2 on 83 minutes but, although the visitors pressed for the equaliser, the United defence held firm.

Manager Simon Walker was pleased with the display and another three points which, with other games being postponed, meant Rotherham regained top spot in the table. However, the injury to Sloan added to a list which includes Sarah Saxon, Charlotte Spencer, Bradie Wild and Grace Birchall.

Rotherham’s Development team enjoyed a 3-0 home victory over AFC Unity with whom they had drawn 1-1 a week earlier in Sheffield & Hallam County Three.

Chelsea Fletcher opened the scoring after seven minutes with Michaela Atkinson adding the second midway through the first half. Lily-Ann Revill’s goal in the last ten minutes wrapped up a victory which lifted Rotherham into top spot, two points ahead of Beighton Magpies who have three games in hand.

While Beighton seem the most likely to finish champions, Rotherham’s win boosted their chances of a top two finish as they are now four points clear of third place Unity who have played a game fewer, but with a significantly inferior goal difference.

Photos from Rotherham United LFC’s first team game: Julian Barker.