In this piece I take a look back at the last few players who have played a part in the historic title winning season for Hull City Ladies.
Like many title winning sides there is a core of players that feature heavily throughout the season. There are players that come in to compete and challenge the established stars and there are younger members of a squad who get chances in the team to gain experience at a higher level that will ultimately aid their progression into the first team at a later stage.
Here I take a look at the remaining players who have had first team action for the Tigresses this season and played their part in Hull City Ladies success.
One youngster who came into the side on a regular basis this season, Eden Pedersen more than enhanced the qualities of the Tigress defence. Keeping the experienced Meg Render out of the side, the young right back put in some impressive performances until she saw red away at Crewe in the Tigresses first league defeat of the season. The red card came as on many occasions this season, Eden took one for the team and sacrificed herself in the hope of helping the side. A tough, uncompromising brave defender she never takes a backward step and hits every tackle at 100mph. Ever willing to get forward and join the attacks, Eden has a bullet of a shot. She chipped in with 2 goals over the season including 1 direct from a corner in the home win over Bolton. Eden is set for a bright future.
Westy is another member of the talented midfield contingent that City are blessed with this season. This area of the squad is extremely competitive and as a consequence Emma may not have started as many games as she would’ve liked this season, but to her immense credit she has been patient and performed brilliantly when called upon. She must be a coach’s dream, someone who never complains but turns up week in, week out ready to and able to play, 10 league starts testify to that. Emma reads the game well and is more often than not on hand to diffuse any opposition threat with a well timed challenge. As with all the Ladies midfielders, Emma as a keen eye for a defence splitting pass, but can also play the game simply. Every squad need at least 1 Emma Westmorland if they want to achieve success.
To win titles at any level there needs to be consistency, in performances, in attitude, in work rate and a consistency in selections. Manager, Rachel Gay and Head coach, Danny Johnson are responsible for the consistent selection and the 17 players I have highlighted this week have formed the large nucleus of a settled squad, but waiting patiently in the wings have been other players that have played some part this year when called up from the reserve squad.
Sarah came into the team after Amy Halloran sat out for three games suspended after a red card in the plate game at Morecambe. The first team experience will have given her great confidence going forward and keeping a clean sheet in a 0-5 win at Barnsley at the start of the year is something Sarah should be rightly proud of.
Emma Lee, Hannah Smith, Lydia Clark, Ellie Harding & Amy Wilson
The five girls above have also all featured for the first team at some point this season. Ellie scored a goal in the 6-1 demolition of Barnsley on the opening day of the season to get the title ball rolling in emphatic fashion.
As well as the first team management duo of Gay and Johnson, its only right that some of the title winning credit must go to retiring reserve team manager, Stacey Hubbard.
Stacey who enjoyed 18 years as a player with various clubs and 2 years on the coaching staff and manager of the City reserves side stepped down in February to take a well earned rest. Stacey did a fantastic job with the youngsters waiting in the wings and readying them for the first team when the call came. The transition from reserves to first team was made that much easier for the girls because of the immense work that Stacey put in with them. One thing is for certain the young reserve side will have learned some important lessons if they listened to what Stacey told them.
Stacey Hubbard is a true Hull City Ladies legend.
It was really nice to see Stacey and some of the reserve team squad join the post match title winning celebrations on Sunday because they deserve the congratulations and acclaim as much as anyone at Hull City Ladies.
Thanks again to Dave Hare for the use of his brilliant photos