By Brendan Devereux
Leeds Ladies returned to winning ways this week with a 2-0 win that didn't really do the 5 minutes old Phoenix justice. With a depleted squad it was debutant Ellie Hall stepping up to make her full debut & come away with a Player Of The Match performance. Leeds were the better side from the kick-off & it was only 5 minutes in before Hannah Campbell broke free shooting from a tight angle onto the post & when the rebound fell to Emma Bentley, everybody was already celebrating only to see the Norton keeper pull off a wonder save & tip it round the post for a corner.
The theme of the first half was constant Leeds pressure resulting in numerous Leeds corners & Emma Bentley seemed to drop every one on Bridie Hannons head & in the 44th minute at the 5th time of asking Bridie powered a header home to give Leeds a very deserved 1-0 lead going into the break.
The second half was only 5 minutes old when Fiona Berry played a beautifully weighted ball into the path of Hannah Campbell who was cynically brought down inside the area & the ref had no choice but to point to the spot. Up stepped captain Emma Bentley who had been ill in bed all weekend & showed the Phoenix spirit to only play but put the spot kick hard & low past the Norton keeper to double the advantage.
On the hour mark it was still all Leeds pushing for a third to kill off any hopes of a Norton comeback & the consistantly outstanding Bridie Hannon beat 2 players & with a slide rule pass once again Hannah was in a one on one scoring position & was denied by yet another top drawer save from the keeper. Four minutes later we saw the great passing abilty we have come to love this season as Lawn, Morris & Campbell all interchaged numerous short passes before Campbell crossed into the box & Emma Bentley saw her shot hit the post.
In the final ten minutes Norton managed their first shot at goal which was easily dealt with by the rejuvanated Lauryn Colman. Leeds still were not done looking for a third & in the 82nd minute Sarah Lawn had a freekick on the outside of the area seeing the keeper off her line Sarah tried a cheeky lob & the keeper back pedalled to push it onto the crossbar & then fell to Emma Bentley who headed wide. With the clock winding down Norton were happy just to hoof the ball clear & play damage limitation but it was the woodwork that came to their rescue again in the 88th minute when Sarah Lawn danced past 3 players layed the ball back to Shelbey Morris on the edge of the area where she curled a shot goalwards beating the keeper but not the crossbar.
Leeds now climb back up to 4th in the table & host Middlesborough next Sunday at Ossett in the race for third place . So come along one & all cheer on the Phoenix & make sure we are smiling just as broadly as when the season began.
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