After a turbulent close season and a very short pre season nerves were on edge last Sunday morning as Leeds Ladies FC lined up for their first ever competitive league game.
Nerves quickly turned to excitement as the girls took the pitch looking gloriously resplendent in the new kit and badge looking every inch the team Leeds can be proud of.
Leeds got of to a great start with Shelby Morris delivering a deadly corner that new striker Bianca Ross climbed high above the defence to put a glancing header inches wide of the back post. Stockport responded by going one nil on 10 minutes after a blatant high foot that ended up connecting with Erin whites face was some how allowed to stand quickly followed 5 minutes later by a beautiful clean strike from the edge of the Leeds area to put Stockport two nil up.
At this point fears from last season started to creep into the minds of the fans but didn’t stop us singing in force and the girls didn’t let us down. A beautiful defence splitting cross from Viki Fytche dropped to the pocket rocket and boxer Sophie Varley who smashed it into the back of the net. Five minutes of attacking football was rounded off with Bianca Ross been brought down in the area and awarded a penalty that Captain Emma Bentley stepped up and expertly dispatched. 2-2 after twenty minutes the phoenix was spreading its wings and Stockport didn’t know what to do.
Shelby Morris and Hannah Campbell continued to harass the wings while Catherine Hamill stellar performance left Stockport grasping at whatever slim chances they could get. Confidence was high as Emma Bentley went for goal with a curling 25 yard free kick only for it to dip a little too late and hit the cross bar.
Leeds continued to pile on constant pressure and a defensive error from Stockport was pounced upon by Hannah Campbell to set up Sophie Varley who didn’t hesitate to bury it for her second goal of the game and send Leeds into the lead for the first time that afternoon.
With the score now at 3-2 Leeds were determined to kill the game off and were rewarded when Erin White pounced on a goal mouth scramble from a corner to score, Putting Leeds 4-2 up and killing off any hopes Stockport had of a comeback
An opening day win was an amazing start and a just reward for the Team and everyone behind the scenes that has made this possible. Reaction videos and more can be found on the Leeds Ladies FC YouTube channel here
You can stay informed and also get involved by finding Leeds Ladies FC and the Leeds Ladies Supporters Club on Facebook and Twitter.(@LeedsLadiesFC @LLFCSC) You will find the hashtag #PhoenixRises attached to everything the team does this year and trust me when I say you want to get on board now. The phoenix has risen and spread its wings and you really don’t want to miss watching it soar.
Reporter – Martin Chadwick