By Brendan Devereux
On another fine sunny afternoon Leeds Ladies hosted Morecambe at Manse Lane. With The Phoenix playing their third game in 7 days & only 3 days after a very physical affair against Guiseley the first 30 minutes of this match proved a very scrappy affair with neither side being able to establish a foothold in the match. The first real chance of any note came from Emily Starkie with a Beckham-esque ambitious shot from the halfway line which was just tipped over by the keeper.
Ten minutes later & as Leeds pushed forward a Morecambe defender was deemed to have handled the ball just outside the area. With the Leeds support in full voice as always urging free kick specialist Carey “Kez” Huegett to shoot, she duly obliged pacing the ball into the bottom left corner giving The Phoenix a 1-0 lead. Just as Leeds looked to be heading into the break in front 7 minutes into injury time, a stray back pass was pounced upon by the Morecambe forward making the score one a piece with the last kick of the first half.
As both teams headed back out onto the field it was without Shelbey Morris who had picked up an injury & was replaced by Bianca Ross. Early in the second period Ross made her presence known with a shot saved by the keeper & a dazzling run which saw her one on one only to have the ball get away from her & safely pounced upon by the keeper.
On the hour mark the first of a couple of dubious decisions by the officials were called into question by chairman Gary Cooper who was incensed. Leeds seemed to be finally getting the game by the scruff of the neck & Kez saw the keeper make a fantastic double save in which Leeds were unfortunate not to take the lead. Two minutes later and goal machine Hannah Campbell broke through & saw her shot deflect behind for a corner. From the resulting corner the ball dropped kindly to Erin White who stabbed the ball home to restore The Phoenix lead.
Leeds were hit by injury once again as goal keeper Lauryn Colman punched a cross clear & hurt her wrist. With just 4 minutes remaining Morecambe were throwing everything forward & as Leeds cleared a cross it fell to a Morecambe player, who shot from 40 yards & saw the ball lob deputy keeper Lucy Whewall to make it 2-2. A draw would have been a fair result for a laboured Leeds outfit with nearly 110 minutes played Thursday & already an extra 7 minutes played in the first half it was starting to take its toll.
The decisive moment came from controversy as not only a blatant foul on Bianca Ross was missed but a hand ball of Maradona proportions went unpunished & while Leeds protested Morecambe pushed on snatched a last minute winner. This knocked the stuffing out of players, staff & fans alike & the clubhouse afterwards was a very subdued atmosphere.
Attention now turns to the cup competitions as Leeds host Southampton this Sunday at Ossett Town in an early kick off 12:30 followed by the Leeds Ladies development squad taking on the Guiseley Vixens development squad. So come along for a fantastic day of football & watch The Phoenix rise.