On an icy Wednesday afternoon at Weetwood, the Leeds Womens hockey 4s lined up to face the Leeds 5s in what could only be described as an internal grudge match. Tension between the two sides was evident even before the match got underway. The 4s sat comfortably in second place in the Northern 4B division, with the 5s places bottom with just 1 points so far, and fighting for survival.
This wasn’t reflected in the opening stages though, as the 5s looked to prove a point to their higher ranked opposition, and the underdogs could have counted themselves unlucky not to have taken the lead following a flurry of attacks in the first 10 minutes. Before long, more 5s pressure resulted in the games first short corner. As the ball was swept into the box it fell perfectly to an attacker 5 yards out who stroked the ball home comfortably, only for the goal to be disallowed.
This scare woke the 4s up and in a rare attack Anna Knight took a quick free-kick, powered into the box and tucked the chance away to give the visitors an undeserved lead in the 15th minute.
After a calm spell of the match it was again time for the 5s to step up the pressure. Shot after shot peppered the 4s goal, but there was no luck. However, after a period of sustained pressure Hannah Cowie stepped up in the right place at the right time to tap home from a couple of yards and get that all-important equaliser.
The opening stages of the second half were equally frantic, with a couple of good moves from either side. Caitlin Tiemessen saw an opening from range and powered a shot across goal and into the bottom corner to give the 5s a vital goal, putting them into the lead.
The match now began to take a rather competitive turn, with some aggressive challenges leaving a handful of players on the deck. This got the 4s fired up as they continued their search for the equalising goal to save their blushes. Attack after attack came at the 5s defence, but they held strong and stopped everything that came their way. In the final stages, a 4s shot came flying off the left hand post, but this was the closest they came to finding a levelling strike.
Understandably, there were plenty of happy faces in the 5th team camp at the final whistle, while the 4s will want to put the result behind them when they take on Newcastle next week, as they hunt for possible promotion from the division.
Image courtesy of sport.leeds.ac.uk