After last week’s scrappy affair against Sheffield, the Leeds fans were treated to a master class of football at Manse Lane as Leeds Ladies took on Norton and Stockton Ancients. Leeds established their dominance from the get go and had seven shots on target within the first quarter of an hour. The only thing missing so far was a goal and Norton had their keeper to thank for this which led to a section of the support singing “The keeper needs a drug test”. Picking up where they left off last week Jemma White and Lauren Griffiths dominated the midfield winning every 50/50 and setting up Leeds going forward.
Leeds persistence finally paid off in the 38th minute as Bianca Ross carved open the Norton defence and set Shelbey Morris through as she slotted home to give the phoenixes a 1-0 lead. Just before half time as we thought Lauryn Colman was going to start reading a book she was that bored Norton finally managed a shot on goal and despite having nothing to do all half Colman saved with ease. Leeds went into the break wondering how they had only scored the one goal while Norton breathed a collective sigh of relief.
While fans in the first had been asking for the Norton keeper to be taking a drug test as the teams entered the field for the second half we were now left wondering if the Norton manager had been on something as bizarrely he had subbed his keeper. As if to prove a point 5 minutes in Leeds were on the attack and managed to put a smile on the face of superfan Gary Walker when Kez scored our first headed goal of the season giving a much deserved 2-0 lead.
As Leeds seemed to be still celebrating the second goal the Ancients took advantage and managed to score in a very rare attack on the Leeds goal. With the last two games still in mind where we had gone from 2-0 up to draw 2-2 and grind out a 2-1 win fans where thinking please not again. Even “The Special One” Jak had asked us not to sing about him until we had a 3 goal cushion.
Any fears of that were soon abated as Leeds pushed forward time and again and were awarded a freekick on the 77th minute. As Kez was placing the ball all the fans were screaming “SHOOT” to which Kez just gave a thumbs up and struck the ball sweetly into the net. An assist has to go to skipper Emma Bentley who did just enough to distract the keeper as the ball came in.
As Leeds continued to dominate Norton must have been asking what they had done wrong today 3-1 down they see Jemma White going off only to be replaced by Jodie Hartley. Jodie showed her class straight away as she picked up the ball on the halfway line skinned 3 players before laying it off to goal machine Hannah Campbell and we all know Hannah doesn’t miss one on ones. At 4-1 we finally got sing for Jak and Norton were happy to shut up shop for the day.
While the plaudits have gone to the attack so far in this article it has to be said the back four were superb. With Woman Of The Match Catherine Hamill and Emily Starkie looking like international wing backs and skipper Bentz partnering Bridie Hannon who was making her full debut it gave the attacking force of the team licence to terrorize Norton.
We now turn our attention to next week and a top of the table clash with Liverpool Marshalls at home. As we go from strength to strength each week the only thing left to say is bring it on. #PhoenixRises
Reporter – Brendan Devereux Photography– Alex Knight