Hull City Ladies maintained their unbeaten start to the season and strengthened their grip on top spot in the league with a hard fought derby win over Leeds United Ladies. It was a freezing cold windy night in Garforth so it was never going to be a game for the purists nevertheless three vital points were on offer and the Tigresses had to dig deep to get them.
The game started off with both sides enjoying spells of possession as they tried to work each other out. The Tigresses had the first chance of the game when a cross from Jo Symington was met with a volley at the back post by Katie Thompson, unfortunately it flew just wide. Two minutes later the same combo were at it again this time Thompson saw a header saved.
Leed’s first chance came in the 18th minute after a mistake from City goalkeeper Amy Halloran, she passed it straight to the Leeds striker but she could only fire over the bar. Youngster Nat Bell had taken a while to find her feet in the game but she was becoming more influential and she had a couple of chances midway through the half. She had a shot that was easily saved and then a few minutes later she got a better connection on her shot but still saw it saved, the rebound fell to Hope Knight who could only fire over the bar.
Jo Symington was also having a good game and was causing havoc down the left. In the 34th minute she saw a cross blocked only for it to fly back to her and she headed it goalward but she was denied by the Leeds keeper. She didn’t have to wait long to get another chance though and this time she scored what would turn out to be the winner. She hit a cross field ball that Eden Pedersen did brilliantly to keep in the field of play before finding Nat Bell. Bell sent in a peach of a cross from the right and Symington was in the right place at the right time to prod it past the keeper to give the Tigresses the lead.
Just a minute later City should have doubled their lead when Hope Knight had another great chance on the break but again she fired over the bar. In an end to end half the hosts had a chance to hit back just before half time when their striker tried to catch Halloran out with a bicycle kick that landed on the roof of the net.
HT Leeds United Ladies 0-1 Hull City Ladies
The hosts came out flying in the second half and neat passing move saw them bursting into the box and baring down on goal. Just as their striker was about to shoot Amy Kay came to City’s rescue with a perfectly timed tackle. The Tigresses weathered the initial storm and got back on the front foot. In the 55th minute Bell had a chance to double their lead when she met a cross at the back post from a short corner routine but she could only prod her shot wide.
Leeds were battling hard to find an equaliser and they almost hit City on the break on the hour mark but Amy Halloran was on hand to deal with the threat. Minutes later Katie Thompson and Rachel Ackroyd both drilled shots goalwards from distance and they were both left disappointed as they were easily saved.
The Tigresses thought they had sealed the game in the 77th minute. Substitute Liberty Bott hit a great cross from the left to the back post where it was met by Eden Pedersen who hit a first time volley that looked destined for the back of the net but instead it smashed against the post and away to safety. Just minutes later it looked like Leeds would punish City for their missed chances but luckily Halloran was able to watch a shot fly inches wide of her post.
The game was becoming very nervy with Leeds looking to hit City on the break to find an equaliser at every opportunity. The Tigresses defence was having none of it though. Marshalled by Captain Jo Symington they always looked in control and Symington put in a real captains knock to help steer her side home. The final ten minutes were controlled to perfection by City Ladies and Leeds ran out of ideas in the end.
FT Leeds United Ladies 0-1 Hull City Ladies
The final whistle signalled another vital three points. Champions can often be made on cold wet Wednesday nights and wins battled for like this are just as sweet as any 5-0 hammering. The Tigresses put in a real shift tonight and deserved their win which keeps them at the top of the league. They now have a well earned rest to look forward to as their next game is a week on Sunday away at Morecambe in the Plate competition.
Rachel Gay gave us her thoughts after the win and you can watch the video below.