Tom Griffin

Hull City Ladies entertained Sheffield FC Ladies at the Dransfield stadium in a ‘relegation six pointer’ which certainly lived up to the billing.

In a scrappy affair, the Tigresses opened the scoring through Helen Lynskey, however, two late Sheffield strikes; first Keeley Goodwin and then Charlie Griffen ensured the home side stretched their winless league run to six matches.

Both sides played like they were rooted to the foot of the table and were unable to deliver a telling passage of play in the opening exchanges. A real lack of quality was a telling aspect in a match that struggled to take off.

The first chance fell to the home side. Harley Skinner found herself in unusual space on the left after the visitors failed to clear their lines, her chipped cross trickled through to Katie Thompson whose tame effort was gathered by Serena Clarke.

Hope Knight, a player who departed the Tigresses last season, very nearly dealt an early blow. Emma Thompson’s searching long pass caught the back line napping and found the run of Knight but she dragged her effort wide of the margin.

Though the opening quarter of an hour was edgy for both sides with a couple of half-chances, the Tigresses opened the scoring in the 18th minute through Helen Lynskey.

The central midfielder who had previously put in a string of eye-catching performances, set off on a solo run through the centre of the Sheffield side. The visitors failed to get close to her twinkle-toes and she unleashed a powerful low drive that evaded goalkeeper Serena Clarke.

After the Tigresses took the lead, neither side seized the opportunity to grab a foothold on the match with the game experiencing a host of punts up the field which failed to test either defensive line.

Sheffield seemed content in soaking up the Tigresses pressure, however, they were nearly undone themselves by a long ball up the field.

Sheffield defender Bethany Ibbotson misread the flight of Amy Wilson’s long punt and this fortuitously landed into the path of Rachael Ackroyd, she squandered a big opportunity for the Tigresses to double their lead.

With the first half belonging to the home side, the second certainly belonged to the visitors as they looked to edge their way back into proceedings.

The Tigresses set up with a deep defensive line and continuously invited pressure, they were very nearly punished when Hope Knight’s whipped in corner just evaded the inside of the far post.

Whilst the home side were set up in a defensive shape that was unable to squeeze out and maintain a passage of possession, the visitors were unable to test Hull goalkeeper Sharla Cone with any meaningful attempts.

Throughout the game Sheffield seemingly enjoyed success with set pieces and eventually pressed home their advantage with 15 minutes remaining.

Charlie Griffen’s dangerously whipped in corner wasn’t cleared by the Tigresses and this lead to a scrappy melee in the penalty area with substitute Keeley Goodwin prodding home the final touch.

With both sides desperate to register their first points of the season, it was Sheffield who were in the ascendancy and looked the more likely to grab the winner with the Tigresses struggling to prevent the visitors resurgence.

The Sheffield winning goal arrived in the final minute of the game when a half-cleared corner dropped to the feet of Charlie Griffen, her first time, looping effort sailed over a despairing Sharla Cone to break Tigresses hearts.

Manager Rachel Gay has to be proud of the effort that her players put into the game and it’s unfortunate that two, sloppy set piece goals were the undoing of her side on a night where a first point(s) of the season looked a genuine possibility..