The women’s football 1s have won their league in emphatic fashion, beating Northumbria 2s 5-0 to secure their status as champions of the BUCS Northern 1A for the third year in a row. This is despite having two games of the season left to play, but with the team currently unbeaten, it is easy to see how they achieved league victory.
The game was played out on Weetwood’s 3G, under a blue sky but in freezing conditions. It started out evenly, with both teams enjoying spells of possession and the occasional chance. There were moments when Leeds attacker Fiona Worts was released through on goal, but the Northumbria keeper appeared proficient at timing one-on-one situations and managed to parry the ball away. Central defensive midfielder Liv DaCosta also had a couple of long-range efforts from outside the box, but her attempts passed just over the crossbar. At the other end, Northumbria’s closest chance was an excellent free-kick, but Leeds keeper Beth Davies was ready and pulled off a brilliant save to deny the side from Newcastle an opener. The deadlock was finally ended 10 minutes before the break, when Fiona Worts broke the keeper’s resolve and buried the ball into the back of the net. This proved to be the only goal of the first half, but set Leeds up to push on in the second.
This is exactly what they did, when soon after the game resumed Liv DaCosta was finally rewarded for her long-range efforts. Her powerful shot from 20 yards out curled past the Northumbria keeper and nestled into the top corner of the goal. This stunning goal, alongside a dominant indivdual performance, meant that she was named player of the match. From that point on Leeds were flying, and Fiona Worts got her second soon after DaCosta’s goal. Even though the team were 3-0 up with only 25 minutes left, they continued to attack and eventually Worts had her well-deserved hat-trick. With the match and the league essentially in the bag, captain Vicky Palin had the opportunity to bring on some fresh legs. The benefits of this were immediately obvious when substitute Emma Murray scored the fifth goal of the game five minutes from full-time.
As the final whistle went, the Leeds players began celebrating not only an excellent team performance, but retaining their title of league champions. Captain Vicky Palin had this to say after the game: ‘I am so proud of all the girls who have played a part in this team! To be unbeaten and win the league this early is unbelievable. We have performed well throughout the season and hopefully we can continue this form in the cup.’
The 1s do indeed have much more to play for, including trying to continue their unbeaten run and most importantly, win the cup and do the double. The 2s are also in an excellent position to win their league, which would spell an extremely successful season for Leeds’ women’s football club. Club Captain Lil Stanton stated: ‘It’s a really great achievement for us as a team, winning the league for the third consecutive season. Hopefully the 1s can push on for a cup win as well, and the 2s can also win their respective league.’
By Nancy Gillen