Chester-le-street went into this game on the back of 7 straight wins in all competitions and light of four players, we’re forced into some positional changes.
Lovely conditions to take on the “Technically gifted” Leeds Ladies for the return match (having beaten them 3-0 in Feb on a heavy pitch, which included moles). Leeds lined up with a cosmopolitan 4231 v our somewhat old but tried and tested (and favoured by some) 442.
Chester-le-street started the better of the teams and quickly showed Leeds they can also play on a flat pitch as well as a “ploughed field” (as they described Moor Park); creating the best early chances and dominating possession, but without finding the net. Totally against the run of play, Chester-le-street fail to deal with a tame attack down the right by Leeds, the ball finds its way into the 6 yard box and Helen Wagstaff gets between the keeper and defender to poke the ball home and it’s 1-0 Leeds. 8 minutes later and following chants from the Leeds supporters of “we’re gonna score from a corner” – they do exactly that and Leeds were 2 up. A well taken header by the Leeds player Sarri; leaves the defence reeling.
Time for Chester-le-street to step up their game and show their mettle. Chances started coming thick and fast at both ends; Chester-le-street weather the initial attacks and start to dominate, but weren’t able to capitalise and to be fair relied on some excellent 1v1 saves from Catty Young, who was back in the sticks following her return from injury and goal scoring exploits a couple of weeks earlier. (Laura Ellison having to sit this one out after injuring her finger earlier in the week).
Deadlock for Chester-le-street was finally broken by Laura Hockaday with an excellent individual goal, taking on a couple of defenders and smashing the ball past the approaching GK. Chester-le-street started piling on the pressure and went close on a number of occasions before Nic Havery scored a bullet of a header from a corner to level and quieten the home support – who’d been extremely vocal up to that point.
Half time, 2-2, jelly babies and jaffa cakes and one substitution. With the wind to their backs Chester-le-street have got the bit between their teeth and bombed on, camped in the Leeds half, smashing shots off the bar and posts as well as a few missed 1v1 opportunities. The corners from Chloe Johnson were exceptional all game and caused Leeds defence no end of problem, Laura Hockaday getting on the end of two with a header and a half volley, to make it 2-4 to Chester-le-street and complete her hat-trick.
The girls were now cruising and with only 10 minutes to go, but to be fair to Leeds they never gave up and kept trying to play that “technical style of football” they’re well known for. With about 8 minutes to go they take advantage of a softly conceded free kick, Chester-le-streets midfield and defence are caught napping and Leeds were back to 3-4. But it wasn’t enough; and with only a few minutes left, Chloe Johnson takes a very cheeky quick free kick into the bottom corner to make it 3-5 and the 3 points are coming back to Chester-le-street; making it 8 straight wins.
Not our best performance by any stretch – but a great win and great spirit from the girls to come back from 2 down to keep the winning streak going.
Highlights of the day in no particular order:
- The win
- The video of @bozwellb running for the minibus