In this piece I continue my review of five more players that where mainstays in the historic title winning Hull City Ladies squad, without whom success wouldn’t have been achieved.
With so many talented individuals in this squad, it must’ve been a selection headache for manager Rachel Gay and head coach Danny Johnson but to their immense credit more often than not this season the match day squads they have picked have been spot on. The key to this has been the application and professionalism of each and everyone of the girls who have taken the decisions made by the management duo without the hint of dissension or acrimony.
Here I take a look at five more girls who have performed huge roles over the course of the season.
Over the season FanaticHull asked the squad in our 1-2-11 articles which of their team mates was the toughest and the vast majority voted for Ellice, and when you watch this young lady play you can see why! As part of the immense defensive unit, her tackles are often thunderous and quite frankly hair raising, but every single one are fair. Her presence in the back four is towering, it is very rare that Ellice is beaten on the floor and hardly ever loses a header. Her prowess in the air is also noticeable in the opposition box when time and again she has met a Thompson or Pedersen corner kick, but as yet this season she hasn’t registered a goal. As with all the defenders in the squad Ellice is very comfortable bringing the ball out from the back to get the Tigresses on the front foot, a perfect illustration of this came in last Sunday’s title clincher, when Jackman floated over a lovely 35 yard cross field pass that Rebecca Beech cushioned perfectly into the path of Liberty Bott who buried the chance from 20 yards out to complete the 4-0 rout.
Liberty joined the Tigresses this season after spending 3 years at University in sunny Miami. Local lass Lib had spent 9 years at the Hull Centre of Excellence before her American journey. She has had to be patient in her first year with the plethora of attacking talent within the squad she is competing with, but when called upon she has brought great vitality and impetus to the team. Her positional awareness and turn of pace often see Liberty bearing down on goal, as was the case last Sunday to score some would say the Tigress goal of the season with a brilliantly cool finish.Only slight of frame Lib is surprisingly strong and robust when it comes to the defensive side of the game and is another who is not afraid to stick her foot in. Another squad member with terrific vision for a telling pass.
Beechy is by far the clubs longest serving player, all time leading goal scorer and all round good lass. Coming into the twilight of her career, Rebecca as still found the net 8 times in 16 starts this season, which is a pretty decent strike rate in anyone’s book. Small for a striker, Beechy is deceptively strong and has a real talent for holding the ball up and linking up with others. Her speed of thought and footballing brain coupled with an assured first touch can take Beechy past any defender in this league and quite often ends with a shot on target. Rebecca will enjoy a richly deserved testimonial on June 2nd against European opposition when German side FC Donop-Voßheide come to Hull University to take on the Tigresses.
I don’t think I’ve heard youngster Nat Bell say a word all season, so it’s a good job her footballing ability screams out. Another in her debut season for Hull City, Nat has made an impressive 21 starts in Amber and Black this year and chipped in with 3 goals. The talent in City’s engine room is immense so for Bell to feature so heavily is testament to her all round ability. This girl runs for ever, the epitome of a box to box midfielder who is equally adept at defending her own and ghosting into the opposition box to supplement the attack. Her sublime lob over the keeper from the edge of the area in the recent 2-0 home win over Brighouse that virtually cemented the title was top drawer and showed perfectly the skill levels Nat possesses. Tall and rangy she eats up the yards and often looks as fresh in minute 90 as she does minute 1.
Ellie is yet another of the fine crop of youngsters Gay and Johnson are assembling at Hull City. She is in her debut season and has featured 23 times for the Tigresses scoring 5 important goals along the way. Tans is another midfielder who knows her performances need to be top-notch because of the amount of talent in the squad and in the main they have been all season. Athletic, tough and uncompromising Ellie takes no prisoners in the heat of a midfield battle. It’s not just the dirty work Ellie is very good at, she has a ferocious shot on her and is a great header of the ball and like all the other of the Tigress midfield has great stamina levels.
Tomorrow I will run the rule over the remainder of this magnificent history making title winning squad who I’m sure will go from strength to strength in the coming seasons.
Photos courtesy of Dave Hare.