“one in, all in” as leeds ladies win in sheffieldBack
Leeds Ladies’ second win of the season came on Sunday at Sheffield United Community LFC, taking them briefly to second in the league.
Just like against Chester-le-Street the week before the goalscorers were Hannah Campbell and Shelbey Morris, who lined up either side of strike partners Bianca Ross and Carey Huegett; all four attackers looked like scoring as only the woodwork prevented a big Leeds haul.
In the end they had to settle for a 2–1 win, and captain Emma Bentley said: “The forward four have the potential to be devastating and are looking more and more dangerous every game. Shelbey has pace to burn, and Binx and Kez in the middle are like the powerhouses that hold it all together. Hannah Campbell has it all; pace, power and a will to battle for every lost cause.”
Leeds deserved more than the two they scored, hitting the post twice and the crossbar once in the final twenty minutes.
“The ball just didn’t want to fall into the net,” says Emma. "Bianca pulled a few wide early on and I told her to stop going hard and low and get back to those looping curlers that she is best at. She tried one in the second half and it bounced down off the bar, Yeboahesque – only it didn’t go in.
“It’s a different story this week as we are not left rueing those missed chances but it still would be nice to give someone a serious hammering.”
Player of the match this week was new signing Lauren Griffiths, who is helping to link up the play to bring Huegett and Ross into the game.
“Lauren has been impressive in the last three games she has played for us,” says Emma. “She’s a clever central midfielder who reads the game well, and because of that she finds herself in good spaces and has time on the ball to really make a difference going forward. She’s clever and has good feet to jink through the midfield.”
As well as meeting an immovable opponent in the shape of Sheffield’s goal, Leeds also had the game-slowing tactics of the Sheffield team to deal with. At RITGKs Martin Chadwick points to Sheffield’s “narcoleptic players” as robbing Leeds of an emphatic win, and players constantly going down after tackles led to seven minutes of added time in the first half while Leeds looked for other ways of keeping themselves occupied.
"We had another stoppage of play and I was getting sick of hearing Jak [Oldroyd, Leeds manager] shout at me to keep the players warm and switched on. The crowd were getting bored with it and subsequently a bit giddy, so I had to use my teacher skills of filling a few minutes of inactivity with something to keep them engaged.
“I got all our players in a circle, and when from the sidelines I heard ‘What’s going on now?’ I couldn’t help it – I just threw in a ‘Knees bend, arms stretch ra ra ra’ and led the players in a casual mid-match hokey-cokey. If we can’t be sensible, at least we’ll have fun.”
Leeds did well to keep the good mood going to the end of the game, despite a late flashpoint when Sheffield had a player dismissed for a foul on Erin White.
“Some people have said that the red was a bit harsh, but the same player had come in late on me about five minutes earlier and got away with it,” says Emma. "After she had a bit of a boot back from me she learned her lesson and switched sides to try and get some joy with Ez – which culminated in a challenge above the knee which I genuinely thought had broken Ezza’s leg.
"Because I was right next to it and I completely lost the plot, I think the ref had to send her off otherwise I was removing her from the pitch for him! I was furious. This led to quite a few players coming together and I was in the middle. Their players were questioning the ref’s decision and I told them in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t impressed, at which point things escalated and all of a sudden about eight of my players were homing in.
"I thought to myself, ‘Oh Jesus – what have I started here? I’m the captain and now I need to control them!’ So I put my sensible head back on and led them all away… cue me being the peacemaker. I think my parting words to the girl sent off were, ‘Sorry, are you still here? Bye…’
“The thing I did love about that situation though was the fact that when the going got tough and it looked like things might get lairy, pretty much every player in the vicinity had each other’s back. We are not a fighting team, but ‘one in, all in’ is how we go about it when sticking up for each other. We weren’t happy with what had happened to Ez and boy did we let them know.”
Leeds face Norton & Stockton Ancients next in a home fixture this Sunday at Knaresborough Town’s Manse Lane ground, and will be looking to build on the win over Sheffield with a second home victory of the season. The game starts at 2pm and entry is £2 for adults and £1 for kids. Follow Leeds Ladies FC and theLLFC Supporters Club on Twitter for updates.