Hull City Ladies hit the summit of the Women’s Premier League Northern Division 1 last weekend as they came back from their winter break with a bang, hammering Barnsley 5-0 away from home. As you will know if you have been following our coverage of the Tigresses throughout this season the aim for the club is to be promoted this season after missing out narrowly last year.
We have already seen this season that the talent and ability is there in abundance in Rachel Gay’s squad as the Tigresses have played some excellent football and put teams to the sword as they did to Barnsley last week with Eden Pedersen, Jo Symington, Hope Knight and Rachael Ackroyd (2) on the scoresheet. They have also shown they can grind out victories in tough games especially away from home where their 1-0 wins over Brighouse and Leeds were two of the more hard fought and well deserved wins this season.
Last week’s game was the Tigresses game in hand over league leaders Brighouse who will fight City all the way for the league title. Despite coming off a Christmas break the ladies showed no signs of rustiness as they hit the ground running in 2018. Their resounding win has moved them above Brighouse and to the top of the table with eight wins and a draw from their opening nine league games of the season. They also have an impressive +22 goal difference helped by last week’s thumping win and who knows with Brighouse only one point behind City that could be vital at the end of the season.
So after being the hunters for most of the season how will the Tigresses cope with being the hunted? They will hope to stay top of the league for the rest of the season and they certainly have the ability to do so but as we all know pressure can do funny things in sport. They do have players with experience and several who will remember how gutting the final few weeks of last season were. They do however have some younger players who are stepping up to play at the highest level they ever have this season. They have excelled under the stewardship of Rachel Gay and Danny Johnson who will be keen to ensure experienced players like Jo Symington can marshal the troops week in week out until the end of the season.
If the Tigresses keep up the intensity, effort and desire they have shown so far this season they will win the league, of that I have little doubt. Sometimes in sport things are just destined to happen and it looks like the Tigresses are destined for big things this year. They are winning in different ways, playing fancy stuff at times and digging in and grinding results out at others and that is the sign of a champion team.
They showed in their FA Cup defeat at Derby County that they have the ability to mix it with teams in the league above on a weekly basis with several Derby players commenting after wards about how good a game City had given them. The Tigresses were brilliant that day and were gutted to lose on penalties but that defeat may just be a blessing in disguise. They now know they can mix it with better teams and that will fill them with hunger and desire to get the job done this season.
Here’s to 2018 which will hopefully be a historic one for Hull City Ladies! We will be following them every step of the way!