Goals from Izzy Dalton and Amber-Keegan Stobbs were sadly not enough to steer Lewes to a first win of the season on Sunday, as Sheffield United hit back in the second half to secure a 2-2 draw.
The Rooks, coming into the game at the Dripping Pan with three draws on the bounce to start off the Women’s Championship campaign, had to make do with another point.
As with the Southampton game at the Pan late last month, Scott Booth’s side took a two-goal lead into the second half but couldn’t hold on for three points.
Paula Howells and substitute Emma Thompson both went close in stoppage time, but the Rooks were forced to make do with a share of the spoils.
Dominant early stages
Booth’s side started strongly on a bright, autumnal day at the Pan, and could have been two up within the first 16 minutes. Howells fired wide from close range in front of the home end, before the winger saw a rocket from the edge of the area blocked.
Moments later, though, and Dalton had the hosts in front when converting a penalty into the bottom left corner. Amelia Hazard had been barged over in the box, which handed Dalton the duty to slot home the opener.
Lewes’ domination continued after the goal and Howells put wide another effort, before Emily Kraft forced a magnificent save out of United goalkeeper Bethan Davies on the half-hour mark.
And it was Stobbs who finally broke through again on 39 minutes, charging through the Blades midfield and firing low into the net from the edge of the penalty area. Stobbs dedicated her goal to If U Care Share, the charity the players wore T-shirts for before kick-off.
However, despite the two-goal lead the Rooks couldn’t hold on. United came out for the second half much faster and built up early pressure that finally yielded when Ellie Mason converted into her own net.
From here on the game opened up. Next Howells fired over the crossbar from 12 yards out, while Ellie Hack headed wide from a corner.
The Blades then got their leveller with 22 minutes remaining thanks to Charlotte Newsham, who was there at the far post to convert a deep cross from under the crossbar.
Three minutes later and the visitors had the ball in the back of the net again – only for the offside flag to chalk it off.
Frantic final minutes
With the game finely poised, tensioned spilled over on the touchline with Kraft and Naomi Hartley booked, while Sophie Whitehouse was on hand to deny United a third with a stellar save as the clocked ticked over 90 minutes.
Eight minutes of stoppage time followed, during which Dalton came off injured, and both Howells and Thompson saw efforts comes to nothing.
In the end Lewes, pressing until the ref’s whistle, had to make do with a draw in front of the 545 supporters at the Pan.
Lewes XI: Whitehouse, Mason, Hack, Johnson, McKenna, Hazard, Dalton, Howells, Copus-Brown, Stobbs, Kraft.
Subs: Moore, Angel, Cleverly, Palmer, Thompson, Pizzarello, Rita, Heria, Longhurst.
Sheffield United XI: Davies, Newsham, Hartley, Riglar, Sweetman-Kirk, Cusack, Rayner, Paul, Lord-Mears, Muir, Haywood.
Subs: N. Wilson, E. Wilson, Walters, Enderby, Wilcock, Docherty, Francis-Jones, Brown.