Hull City Ladies have started life in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division with an air of confidence despite not yet recording a league win.
The step up to this level was always going to present Rachel Gay’s side with strong challenges every week and in the opening two league fixtures and a League Cup game they have played thus far this has been the case, but the Tigresses have shown they are in this league on merit and as the season progresses they will establish themselves comfortably.
Stoke City Ladies provided the first opposition of the new season and they left Hull University with the points on the back of a 0-4 scoreline, but if ever a scoreline didn’t tell the story of a game, then this was the game. The Tigresses dominated for large periods and only individual errors, the woodwork (THREE times) and an exceptional goal keeping display ensured Stoke the win. The Potters are an established top 4 side in this league and they were clearly relieved to leave Hull with the points, whilst despite the heavy defeat the Tigresses gave themselves a massive confidence boost and self belief.
The second game of the campaign saw the Tigresses get off the mark with a 2-2 draw with Derby County. A below-par first half display saw the Tigresses fall behind 0-2 but with a stirring half time team talk from Gay and head coach, Danny Johnson, City came out like the team that was unlucky against Stoke and dominated the game and left Derby hanging on at the end.
Attacking midfielder, Liberty Bott as started the season like a house on fire, showing exceptional class and skill. Her strike on the Stoke goal which crashed down off the bar would have been the goal of the season in the first game, but here superb free kick that again crashed down off the bar but crucially this time over the line is also an early contender.
The ‘number 10’ role has given Bott the opportunity to control the game and bring to the fore her superb range of passing. Hope Knight is forming a tremendous understanding with Bott and the left winger will be looking to replicate her goal scoring feats of last season.
The back four of Meg Render, Ellice Jackman, Tash Cooke and captain Jo Symington have looked rock solid for large periods at the start of this season and haven’t warranted the scores against them.
Bradford City were the latest visitors to Hull Uni in the determining round of the League Cup. The Bantams are in this division so the standard was similar to a league fixture. The Tigresses came away with their first win of the season winning 2-1 and saw the real emergence of another young gem.
16 year old Harley Skinner was used has a sub in the first two games, but she started and starred from the beginning against Bradford. A fantastic 90 minute performance belied her tender years and slight frame, as she caused the Bantams defence untold problems with her pace, strength and skill.
Knight got her 1st goal of the season from the spot against Bradford and will now be hoping to get near her 20 plus goals of last season.
New reserve team manager, Rachael Wiles guided her side to a 2-1 opening day victory over Middlesbrough, with goals from recent signing Amy Blinkhorn and a screamer from midfielder, Emma Westmorland, making it a double winning Sunday.
On the pitch the entire squad have made a confident start and will look for that first win, starting with Sunday’s trip to reigning Champions, Blackburn Rovers. Everyone involved with the club cannot wait for this game to see just how far they have come in such a short period of time. If the win doesn’t come at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium then they have the chance to get the win on Sunday 16th versus Fylde Ladies, a game we’d encourage everyone to get down to.
Off the pitch the club have been making great strides also, including significant sponsorship deals that will be announced shortly that will be a massive benefit to the entire club as they look to compete both on and off the pitch with much more established and wealthier clubs.
The interest both locally and nationally in Hull City Ladies is growing day by day with lots of exciting plans in the pipeline.
For all the latest information and opportunities to become involved with the Tigresses, head over to their revamped website at: www.hullcityladies.com where this season for the first time tickets for all first team fixtures can be purchased in advance. Their website is being improved, updated and new features added weekly so please keep checking them out to keep right up to date and continue to visit this site for all the latest Tigress news.