In this piece I continue my analysis of five more players who have made a massive contribution to Hull City Ladies history making, title winning season.
Again in no particular order I highlight more members of this hugely talented squad that have turned the meticulous planning implemented by Rachel Gay and Danny Johnson over the course of the season into reality culminating in the League title last Sunday.
As the saying goes “goals win you games, clean sheets win you titles”. This has certainly been the case for Amy Halloran and her back four. 9 clean sheets in 19 games and conceding only 12 goals in the other ten games, has epitomised how miserly the Hull City Ladies defensive unit have been this year. Amy is very much in the mould of the modern day keeper, she is much more than just a shot stopper. Many of the Tigresses attacks begin with her from a pinpoint pass either long or short. Very confident with the ball at her feet it appears sometimes there is an Andrea Pirlo or Kevin de Bruyne dressed in green fighting desperately to get out! When Amy is not starting attacks, she has time and again thwarted opposition ones with some superb glove work. Not a particularly vocal keeper, Amy commands her area exceptionally well and is very rarely beaten in a one on one situation, more often then not putting doubt in the attackers mind by staying on her feet for as long as possible.
Second in the Tigresses goal scoring charts with 10 in 19 League games,13 in 27 in all competition, Katie Thompson has been like lightening down the right hand flank this year. She has pace to burn, which she has used to give opposition defences absolute nightmares at times. Often the beneficiary of the pinpoint passes from Amy Halloran, Katie more often then not delivered some fantastic crosses into the danger area. It’s a given that Katie is the dead ball specialist of the team, which has resulted in some cracking goals over the year, its safe to say she doesn’t do tap-in’s. When she has finished terrorising the left hand defenders of teams she will interchange with Hope Knight on the left to equally brutal effect on the oppositions right back.
Amy has been defensively brilliant all season. Not the biggest centre back in the League but probably one of the toughest. Backing out of a challenge is not on Amy’s agenda, if the ball is there it’s there to be won and more often than not in her 15 league games this year Amy has won them. Her timing is also impeccable, time and again she has produced a last ditch challenge to perfection to save her side, notably 1 effort at Bolton away exemplified this. Leading 0-1 the Tigresses were under the cosh with just minutes to go and for all the world it looked like Bolton would score but Amy slid in from nowhere to pull off the perfect tackle and help the Tigresses to a precious victory. Very comfortable on the ball, Amy loves to bring the ball out from the back and look to find the right pass, another of the Tigress school of cultured defenders.
When you watch Sophie play football it’s easy to see why she has played age group level for England. She just oozes class, on the ball she seems to have the trait of every great midfielder, more time than anyone else. The classy youngster seems to have that split second more to look what’s going on around her and more often the not pick the incisive right pass, whilst without the ball she reads the game beautifully and can preempt what her opposite number is looking to do therefore break the move up with a great tackle. For a player with such skill, Sophie is not afraid to put her foot in and do the graft the midfield are expected to do. Many times she ghosts into the box to get on the end of her team mates work. Another player in the side who can score the spectacular or sublime goal. Her effort versus Leeds at home in the 5-1 hammering early in the season was a brilliant example of this, though I’m sure Stampy would’ve wanted to get more then the 4 league goals she has this year.
A top player on the pitch and even better person off it, Meg Render has had to be patient at times this year due to the fine form of youngster Eden Pedersen at right back but when called upon she has stepped up to the plate and done a great job. Another member of the brilliant defensive unit that’s been built at Hull City Ladies, Meg is as good going forward as she is defending. Her run and cross to set up Hope Knight’s second goal last Sunday was perfection and was the springboard to the comfortable win. Often up against quicker players, Meg uses her vision and experience to nullify any attacking threat, with a well timed tackle or towering header. She has battled backed from a serious ACL injury a couple of years ago to cement her place in the Tigress squad, more often than not with a huge smile on her face and a thumbs up for the crowd.
Tomorrow I will reflect with admiration on more of the Tigress squad that have played a massive part in this successful season.
FanaticHull would like to thank Dave Hare for the use of some of his outstanding pictures this season, to see these and even more please check out the Hull City Ladies supporters Facebook page…… Many many thanks again, Dave.