Hull City Ladies are now eight games into their maiden season in the Northern Premier Division and are settling in nicely. Sitting in ninth position with ten points from those 8 fixtures it is safe to say if Rachel Gay’s side can continue with the current points per game ratio they will be comfortably mid table in May, and if you asked anyone at the club on the first day of preseason in July they’d have taken that all day.
Head coach Danny Johnson recently said on HullKRFM’s Talking Balls programme that the club would look at this season at their highest ever level as one of consolidation in the league as part of the long term plan of competing at the elite level.
September was on balance a good month for the Tigresses when they progressed in the League cup beating Bradford City but more importantly the girls picked up their first ever victory in this division with a brilliant 5-2 victory over Fylde Ladies and even better followed that up a week later when the travelled to Nottingham Forest Ladies and returned with a first ever away victory 0-1.
A tremendous team performance born out of a Gay/Johnson game plan the girls stuck to, to perfection and an individual piece of Hope Knight brilliance secured the win.
To start September Blackburn Rovers the outstanding side in this division for the last three years hosted the Tigresses and took the spoils 2-0, but not before City Ladies had given them a real fright, with the quality of football they played and as with a few games this season only individual errors and some wayward finishing was the Tigresses undoing.
Injuries have taken their toll on the City Ladies squad during a busy September. Liberty Bott who won the August player of the month award hasn’t featured since the Bradford Cup game because of a knee injury, and other key first team players such as Meg Render, Ellie Tanser, Liv jackson and Emma Westmorland have also been missing. One positive to come from this has been the emergence of some of the talented youngsters within the squad, none more so than Tillie Oxley (pictured above) who was excelling in Rach Wiles’ reserve team in midfield, when she was called up to the first team away at Huddersfield, starting at right back!
It may have taken Tillie a few minutes of her debut to settle in but she grew into the match and deservedly kept her place in the midweek 0-2 victory over Doncaster Rovers Belles a game in which she excelled in defence and attack, she then kept regular right back Render on the subs bench to start last weeks tie with Sunderland. Meg Calvert, Amy Blinkhorn and Harley Skinner are others who have made the move up to the first team and are showing what strength in depth the Tigresses now have.
Overall though September’s player of the month was centre back Ellice Jackman (main picture) who has been outstanding all season and has grown in stature in September and scored a fantastic header in the Doncaster win from a perfect Blinkhorn corner.
Sunday sees Hull City Ladies take on lower league opposition when Birmingham and West Midlands Ladies FC travel to Hull in the 2nd round of the League Cup. We are proud to say that FanaticHull will be the match day sponsor for the game, something that all of us here are proud to do to further enhance our growing relationship with Hull City Ladies.
Danny and Rachel have said that they will use the game to give some of the girls a rest after a hectic few weeks and take the chance to blood some more young talent, but will also maintain the core of the first team because they are looking to progress further in the competition. With some tricky fixtures to come, squad management is imperative if the Tigresses want to maintain their fine start to the season.
The club have given supporters new and old the chance to win TWO sets of 4 Adult tickets for Sunday’s game by answering the following question:
Jodie Steadman scored her first goal of the season for the reserve side last Sunday, simply what is Jodie’s squad number this year?
Head over to www.hullcityladies.com to find the answer and send it to @HullCityLFC on Twitter with your answer using the #Tigressticketcomp before 3pm on Friday 12th October.
Picture courtesy of Kevin Greene Photography.