Leeds women narrowly defeated in Yorkshire Derby.

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The Leeds football 1stteam lost 3-1 in a tough fixture against Sheffield Hallam.

With the 2019/2020 season well underway, the University of Leeds women’s 1stteam were facing their toughest fixture of the season so far: local rivals Sheffield Hallam.

People watching the match were expected to see high levels of talent, with both teams’ favourites to win the ‘Women’s Northern Tier One’ league. 

It certainly started very evenly, with both teams set up extremely offensively, looking to apply as much pressure as possible. A quick counter-attack from Hallam was kept out by right centre-back Ellie Waring, and Hallam couldn’t seem to break down the Leeds defence. On the other end of the pitch, after a fast break down the left-hand side, striker Emma Samways won Leeds first corner of the game. This was met by a Sheffield Hallam head, who had to respond quickly. A quick counter attack from Hallam meant Leeds goalkeeper Tash Mack was under pressure, with Hallam’s centre forward netting the ball into the bottom left hand corner. 

Despite trailing within the first 15 minutes, the Leeds girls responded positively. Despite the possession Hallam retained which forced our girls deep into their own halves, they defended well, meaning Sheffield could not get their shots away in the final third. The game became very even as it headed into the last 10 minutes of the first half, with Leeds looking set to equalise any minute, with their passes becoming sharper and quicker movement around the pitch.

However, seconds before half time, Hallam doubled their lead after a superb strike outside the penalty box. Despite trailing against their Yorkshire rivals as the break approached, there were many positives the Leeds side could take away from the first 45 minutes.

As the second half commenced, Leeds made a substitute in an attempt to drive forward and push further up the pitch. A careless tackle from Hallam rewarded us with a free kick, which the Hallam keeper managed to get a hand to and push it out of play. This gave the Leeds girls a corner, which was played into the penalty area, with the strike going inches above the crossbar.

Still trying to get a goal back, Leeds made a further two substitutes. Unfortunately, in the 63rdminute, Sheffield Hallam scored, making it 3-0 to the away side. However after a goal-kick from Hallam’s keeper went straight to the Leeds forward, the ball was comfortably struck into the net, meaning there was all to play for in the last 10 minutes.

With continuous pressure applied from a motivated Leeds side, Hallam seemed nervy. However with the Hallam keeper making a couple impressive saves, the score line stayed at 3-1, a result not reflective of the incredibly close game.