Chesterfield Ladies were beaten 5-0 away from home by a very impressive Sheffield United Women's development team on Wednesday evening in a behind closed doors pre-season friendly.

Despite suffering a heavy defeat to a classy side in the Derbyshire outfit's first pre-season game ahead of the 2022/23 campaign, the game proved to be a good work-out for getting match minutes and gaining match fitness before the serious stuff begins. It also allowed Mike Noon and his backroom staff to have a good look at what their trialists had to offer.

The young Blades side dominated possession from start to finish in what was a very tough first friendly game for the East Midlands Women's Premier Division outfit. However, it took until the midway point of the first half before Sheffield United took the lead. A good cross in from the right wing was met by a hooked close-range finish which beat goalkeeper Nicolle Watson and found the back of the net after 22 minutes played.

The Blades doubled their advantage ten minutes later when an outstanding strike from 30 yards out sailed over Watson and dipped just underneath the bar for a sensational goal. The young Blades side grabbed a third goal only three minutes afterwards when a lovely through ball split Chesterfield's defence and allowed a Blades forward to stroke the ball confidently past the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.

To Chesterfield's credit though, Mike Noon's side worked very hard in the second half to restrict their opposition as much as possible. The young Blades outfit still controlled possession but the Blues defence made several key tackles and blocks to frustrate the host's forward line. In particular, centre-half Eleanor Abercrombie had an excellent game and was the best Chesterfield player on the pitch.

The hosts managed to grab two more goals in the final 15 minutes of the game. A dazzling run past three Chesterfield players followed by a smart finish past the goalkeeper from 12 yards out saw Sheffield United extend their lead to 4-0. With just a couple of minutes remaining, the Blades development side found a fifth goal thanks to another fantastic long-range effort which looped over Nicolle Watson and rippled the back of the net.

The Derbyshire outfit came extremely close to finding a consolation goal with virtually the last kick of the game. A trialist's 35 yard effort beat the goalkeeper all ends up but smacked the post which allowed the Blades number one to claim the ball safely.

Despite the large margin of defeat, match fitness is the most important thing right now as the pre-season campaign finally starts ahead of a hotly-anticipated 2022/23 campaign where Chesterfield Ladies are one of the favourites to claim the East Midlands Women's Premier Division league title and secure promotion.

Next up for Mike Noon's side is a pre-season friendly away at Solihull Moors Women on Sunday afternoon. This game will be open for spectators to attend.

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