Image Credit: [Millie Frain]
After beating Sheffield away a few weeks ago, Leeds beat Sheffield Hallam 2-1 at home to continue their winning start to the season.
The University’s women’s football team continued their undefeated start to the season with a 2-1 win over Sheffield Hallam whilst the 2nds thrashed York 2nds 18-1.
The Leeds women’s 1sts had previously secured a 3-2 victory over Varsity rivals Beckett to help the University of Leeds clinch a maiden victory with a close overall score of 30-29. The Gryphons then took this momentum to defeat the University of Sheffield in spectacular fashion, routing them 4-0 in a stunning performance away from home. However, this time they had the benefit of being at home when facing Sheffield’s local rivals, Sheffield Hallam.
It was a nervy start for the Leeds side, with Sheffield Hallam comfortably retaining possession, forcing our defenders deep into their own half. But after a great run from forward Maria Ledezma-Viso, Leeds were able to catch Hallam on the counter-attack and led the game 1-0 after Ledezma-Viso blasted the ball into the bottom left hand corner.
This seemed to ignite enthusiasm into the Leeds girls, who played positively after taking the lead. This forced Hallam onto the back foot, largely due to Leeds continuous pressing, restricting Hallam’s threat in their final third. As half time approached, both teams were looking to seize the initiative. Hallam had one more opportunity before halftime, through a free kick, which Leeds captain and keeper Beth Davies managed to comfortably save.
Whatever was said in Sheffield Hallam’s dressing room clearly inspired their players, as two minutes into the second half Hallam’s centre-forward drove the ball past a helpless Davies, evening up the game.
This created an air of intensity for the rest of the match, with both sides pushing forward in a desperate bid to secure victory for their own team in an incredibly tight game.
An extremely frustrated Ledezma-Viso missed a few opportunities after breaking away from Hallam’s defence, prompting the team to remind each other to ‘stay patient’ as ‘they have time’.
Hallam also had a couple of late chances, the best being an extraordinary strike directed towards the top left corner. Davies, however, managed to get a hand to it, arguably making it her best save this season so far, forcing the ball away for a corner, which was then successfully defended.
The Leeds players fought hard to keep Hallam at bay and seemed determined not to relinquish their winning streak. Skilful footwork from Leeds’ Emma Samways was posing a threat, yet the girls still could not get the ball into the back of the net.
This was until Maria Ledezma-Viso managed to get her second of the game, after a surging run down the left-hand side, ending with her slotting the ball past the Hallam keeper. This secured Leeds a 2-1 victory, adding to their already successful run of form.