By Gary Cooper
On a sunny afternoon in the first home game at Knaresborough Leeds Ladies earned what might prove a valuable point come the end of the season against another determined opponent in Chester le Street. In now customary style Leeds took the game by the scruff of the neck with a never say die attitude and first half wave of attack after attack testing the Chester defence time and again. With just 3 minutes on the clock Carey ‘Kez’ Huegett slotted a defence splitting ball which left pacey striker Shelbey Morris one on one with the keeper who just managed to get enough of a touch on the neat lob to prevent the ball reaching the goal line. Only 2 minutes later impressive new signing Lauren Griffiths struck a powerful shot from 30 yards at the goalkeeper and the first half continued with attack after attack by a very impressive Leeds side.
Hannah Campbell latched onto to a superb ball down the wing from Erin White and shot just wide shortly before the half hour mark and from the resulting free kick Chester had their first attempt on the Leeds goal which was ably saved by debutant goalkeeper Erin Boswell.
Following further attempts on goal by Kez, Shelbey Morris and captain Emma Bentley a clean ball through the defence left Hannah Campbell with a shooting opportunity which she didn’t waste and the score was a more than justified 1-0 with 5 minutes to the break, Hannah just can’t seem to stop scoring this season with four goals from four games. Just 2 minutes later a strike on goal by Jemma White saw the Chester keeper scrambling and reacting first Shelbey Morris was on hand to slot home Leeds second goal. 2-0 half time.
In a game that looked well and truly won with Leeds dominating possession manager, Jak Oldroyd, made two changes 10 minutes into the second half switching Jemma White and Shelbey Morris for Jodie Hartley and Bianca Ross respectively in a tactical move which all hoped would see the game put to bed but for some reason the changes rang for Chester too and within 10 minutes from a long ball over the Leeds defence they scored against the run of play. The goal seemed to spur Chester on and despite continued attacks by the battling Leeds once more they were hit on the break with fifteen minutes remaining and the scores were levelled at 2-2.
Leeds pushed hard for the winner, Bianca Ross ran at the defence with purpose and Kez just couldn’t connect cleanly with a ball slid across the Chester goal by the impressive Emily Starkie and the game ended with spoils shared.
The Leeds girls were clearly disappointed to have drawn a game that for so long they dominated but at such an early stage in the season when it seems anyone can beat anyone else a point could prove invaluable come May. Hannah Campbell deservedly earned WOTM award amongst a host of solid performances, Erin White, Catherine Hammill and Molly Cawthorn all worked hard and showed their determination and if the first half performance is anything to go by a very exciting season has only just begun.
On to Sheffield away next week and hopefully a second win of the season.