Sport | Hockey Women's 1sts – Leeds 3 – 1 Manchester

Leeds Uni 1sts secured their first victory of the season as they overcame a determined Manchester side in a closely contested encounter at Weetwood.

In bitterly cold conditions, the game began as a feisty affair with both teams eager to start on the front foot. Good battling play was displayed by Louise Corkill as Leeds looked to set up attacks from the back. Manchester’s defence was called into action as a result of good early pressure, however the visitors remained thoroughly in the contest and enjoyed frequent spells of possession in the Leeds half.

As the game drifted towards half-time, both teams began to carve out more clear cut chances. Libby Orrett and the Leeds defence were called upon to make some critical, last-ditch tackles. At the other end, the Manchester goalkeeper was called upon to make a good save to keep the scores level.

Having failed to score in last weeks defeat to Loughborough, the deadlock here was finally broken two minutes before half-time as Charlotte Evans beat a number of Manchester defenders before unleashing a powerful shot to give Leeds the lead.

The second half began in similar fashion to the first. The match remained very competitive and it wasn’t long before a Manchester player was shown the game’s first green card. Leeds started to find their rhythm and the second of two penalty corners led to the second goal; Frankie Cox finishing well.

Despite the game staying relatively even, Leeds soon went 3-0 ahead. Good work from the midfield set up Amy Hannaford who made no mistake one-on-one with the goalkeeper to stretch the Leeds advantage with ten minutes remaining.

Manchester weren’t ready to lie down though, and after a series of penalty corners they managed to pull a goal back with five minutes left on the clock. This proved too late to spark a fight back however, and Leeds were able to hold their lead until the final whistle.

The victory marks the end of a run of two defeats and Coach David Bond expressed his delight at the team’s performance, “We spoke before about the game being make or break. The girls stepped it up tonight and I thought they were absolutely superb.”

Leeds will look to build on this strong performance when they travel to Nottingham on Wednesday.

Peter White

Image courtesy of Miranda Inman

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