Brendan Devereux takes a look at the latest fixture in which Leeds LAdies lost 4-0 to Birmingham & West Midlands.
Leeds Ladies got their FAWPL Plate campaign underway with a trip to Birmingham & West Midlands. Leeds made a couple of changes from the 2-2 draw with Chester-Le-Street with Bridie Hannon returning from an eye injury in defence, Rachel Stuart earning her first start & goalkeeper Stacy Haytack making her first team debut. It was Leeds who made the brighter start & went closets to scoring when Birmingham failed to deal with a corner the ball fell to Demi Pringle with her back to goal she hooked the ball over her head & her effort went just over.
Soon after Rachel Ackroyd had 2 chances one saved by the keeper & the other just over the bar before the referee took centre stage. On the 22nd minute Birmingham went on the offensive & as the ball came into the box where Haytack & Sophie Thompson were both taken out with neither ref or his assistant calling the foul the ball was left to Gemma Mooney to tap the ball into the empty net while both Leeds players were down injured. Just 5 minutes later with Leeds still reeling from the first goal Birmingham managed to double their lead from a corner when Pritchard bundled the ball home for 2-0.
On the 38th minute the officiating came into question once more while Demi Pringle was on the ball everyone at the ground except the officials saw her quite clearly have her hair pulled & also appeared to be elbowed in the face. While Demi was off the field receiving treatment Birmingham took advantage of not only the extra player but Sophie Thompson was still struggling after the challenge on the first goal. Birmingham hit Leeds with a quick counter attack & Nathalie Courtney sent Brum into the break 3-0 up.
As is the Leeds motto this season they came out second half determined to keep fighting & 6 minutes in almost had a goal back when Bridie Hannon headed just wide from a corner. On the 58th minute the tie was put to rest when Annie Pritchard scored from another corner with a bullet header to make it 4-0. Unlike their male counterparts down at Elland Road Leeds refused to let their heads drop with skipper Emma Bentley playing through the pain after a late tackle left her limping. Leeds still managed to carve out chances with player of the match Caitlin Gunnell linking up well with Landricombe to carve out chances for Ackroyd, Jepson & Pringle.
The game finished 4-0 in a very tough game & the result didn’t do the Leeds performance any justice & neither did the performance from the man in the middle. Leeds focus now switches to The FA Cup next week with a trip to Morecambe & you would imagine without a few senior players who picked up knocks this week. Now is the chance for some of the squad players to come in & make a name for themselves& show no matter what Leeds Ladies will always KEEP FIGHTING.
By Brendan Devereux