By Martin 'Badger' Chadwick
Leeds ladies FC returned to action last Sunday in a quarter final county cup clash against Ossett Albion FC. With the constant postponement of league games over the winter period and the unfortunate ending of a 7 game win streak at the hands of Coventry in the FA Cup it was important for the phoenix to get back to winning ways.
As the Phoenix faithful began to gather before the game the feeling was that this should be an easy victory. A feeling that became fact when Shelby Morris broke through the Ossett defence to place a wonderful curling strike around the keeper and put Leeds 1-0 up…… after just 30 seconds!
Leeds continued to bombard Ossett and were rewarded on the 9th minute when the ever present Bridie Hannon took the score to 2-0.
With a two goal cushion Leeds slowed the pace of the game but continued to control it. A wonderful display of settled, relaxed , triangular passing that used every inch of the pitch and often involved every player in the team. Even though the tempo had slowed for Leeds poor Osett where been run ragged, having to chase down passes between players and getting pulled in every direction.
As Leeds continued to test the Ossett keeper with shot after shot at goal it quickly became evident that the lack of games over Christmas had had a detrimental effect on the high standard of finishing we have come to expect of Leeds Ladies.
Emma Bentley must have been most frustrated of all as numerous bobbles, bounces and scuffs resulted in most of Bentley’s attempts on goal been a shoelace width away from connecting properly. Her determination was quite rightly rewarded when she extended the Leeds ladies lead to 3-0 on the 27th min.
No Leeds Ladies game is complete without a bit of on field comedy from the players and we were not disappointed when leeds were awarded a free kick on the 30th min. Bridie Hannon collected the ball and placed it in the middle of the Ossett half and looked to be lining up her shot. Then along comes Gemma White to kindly inform Bridie she is taking it. Bridie started to walk away but a bit of banter from the Phoenix faithful saw Bridie turn round and go back to take it. A quick one minute discussion saw Gemma White place a wonderful curling free kick over the wall only to be greeted by a wonderful save from the Ossett keeper.
The 34th min saw the Leeds Ladies fans given a wonderful treat as Sarah Lawn decided to show off her sublime competition winning dancing skills to round three players inside the area and slot the ball past the keeper taking the score line to 4-0. It was without a doubt the goal of the game and may even challenge Bridie Hannon for Goal of the Season. In any case club Chairman Gary Cooper has now decided to call her by her Native American name “Dances with Footballs”
At 4-0 up Leeds continued to dictate the play and pressure the Ossett keeper until Lauren Griffiths struck on the 42nd min and took Leeds Ladies into the break with a 5-0 lead.
The second half started pretty much the same as the first with Hannah Campbell dispossessing the Ossett players as they took the kick off. Surged forward and slammed the ball home to make it 6-0 in what seemed to be less than 15 seconds of the second half.
The rest of the second half was a much quieter affair as Ossett had been forced to run so much that they were starting to get sympathy from the Leeds fans decided to camp 9 outfield players in their own area. This meant that every Leeds attempt on goal pretty much became a game of human pinball as the ball bounced, deflected and was scuffed at until either cleared or went wide of the target.
The 79th min saw Emily von Starkie take the score to 7-0 and equal a club record of seven different goal scorers in a single game.
A fine display of passing football and hopefully the last of the Christmas cobwebs blown away now sees Leeds Ladies potentially facing higher league opposition (and a couple of ex Leeds United Ladies) Bradford City in the semi finals of the county cup but first its back to league business away Tranmere next Sunday.
As always the Leeds Ladies Supporters Club ( @LLFCSC ) will be providing transport to away games but for those who cant make the game expert and insightful live commentary (as well as playback of previous games commentary) will be broadcast on the newly formed Phoenix Rises FM ( http://www.ustream.tv/channel/phoenix-rises-fm )
Goals from todays game along with post match player interviews can be found on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_ZK--bmZ-qCMtY9SVq3VFA) all this along with the app, new website and table topping results ensure the phoenix continues to rise. All we are missing now is you!