2Hull City Ladies have their eyes firmly set on promotion this season and they are off to a flying start in the league. They sit top of the league with six wins and a draw from their opening seven games. They have been scoring goals for fun and haven’t conceded many so all in all it’s been a near perfect start for the Tigresses. They have quality all over the pitch none more so than in the forwards where they are proving to be a defender’s nightmare. The goals have been flying in and Rachel Gay will be hoping her front line keep up their current form, if they do promotion is certainly on the cards.
The Tigresses often play in a 4-3-3 formation with two wingers and a lone striker. The role of the main striker is usually filled by Rachael Ackroyd or Rebecca Beech both of whom have had impressive starts to the season. Beech has appeared in six of the Tigresses seven games so far this season and has three goals to her name so far. The 33 year old is vastly experienced and has won almost every personal honour available at the club including the top goal scorer award 9 times. She still has a good turn of pace and he ability to hold the ball up is exceptional and a quality that is much needed when playing as the lone striker. Despite her goal scoring prowess her ability to set up players around her has been equally as impressive to us this season and that has seen the likes of Hope Knight and Katie Thompson benefit massively. Beech was particularly impressive in the away win at title Rivals Brighouse where she bossed their defence all over the park and made a real nuisance of herself all game.
Beech faces competition for the main striker role from Rachael Ackroyd. After scoring three goals in two games for the reserves the former Leeds United and Huddersfield Striker was given her chance in the first team and has scored twice in four starts for the Tigresses. She has been particularly impressive in recent wins over Liverpool Feds and her old club Leeds as she has run herself into the ground in both games. She chases lost causes, runs in behind in the channels and holds the ball up extremely well. Like Beech she refuses to be bullied by defenders and gives her fair share of the physical stuff back to the defenders! Credit has to go to Rachel Gay and Danny Johnson who appear to have found two strikers ideally suited to the lone striker role who will push each other and compete to start all season. That will make both of them improve which can only be a good thing for the team.
The Tigresses are also blessed with two of the best wingers in the league in Hope Knight and Katie Thompson. They have scored 18 goals between them so far this season along with several assists each making the Tigresses front three one of the most lethal strike forces in the league. Knight joined the club in the summer and has been a revelation. She marked her league debut with a hat trick and hasn’t looked back since. She has since added three more goals to her tally with some thunderous strikes. She has struck up a solid partnership with left back Jo Symington and her pace and trickery are a defender’s nightmare. In the recent FA Cup win over Steel City Wanderers hope scored a hat trick and really let the opposition know about it afterwards!
Katie Thompson is equally as dangerous on the right wing and already has five goals to her name this season. While Knight is full of tricks Thompson is much more direct and has a devastating turn of pace when in the clear. Add to that a fierce strike and she is a formidable opponent for nay defender. She has been unlucky not to score more goals than she already has especially in the win at Leeds. She got her rewards last week though when she scored the winner with a fine long range strike against Chester-le-street. Like Knight she has a good partnership with her fullback which allows either one to bomb forward while the other covers at the back.
It’s fair to say then that the Tigresses are blessed with some serious attacking talent! Their goal scoring record speaks for itself and Rachel Gay will be delighted with that. Carry on like this and the forwards will fire City Ladies to promotion this season!
Photos courtesy of Dave Hare and Sam Shepherd