Received Match Reports:
A moist Saturday morning in Weetwood, 10.30am, the Leeds Women's 4XI and Wakefield 4XI took up their positions on the pitch. Wakefield aiming to bag their first win of the season while Leeds hopeful of keeping their lead in the title race.
The match got off to a promising start for Leeds with some great driving play. However the seal was broken early by Wakefield with a fizzing reverse strike into the top corner that the Leeds keeper had no chance of saving. Leeds equalised soon after with Ganni Braisby slotting in after a fine ball from Amy Wagstaff meaning the sides went into the half time team talk one a piece with everything to play for.
As the rain came down the the second half kicked off and Wakefield struggled to withstand the heavy pressure Leeds applied. The Blues took the lead with Sophie Studholme’s first goal for the club. Leeds’ third goal came from a powerful shot by Cat Rooker, followed by a deflection causing the ball to bounce high up in the air close to the net and would have been curling wide had Izzy Richmond’s accuracy not steered the high ball into the back of the net. 3-1 to Leeds.
Continued pressure in Wakefield’s defending half proved rewarding as a ball into the D was met first by Ganni who managed to scoop the ball over the keeper and into the back of the net from only a few feet away. Final score 4-1. A solid win for Leeds who remain in the top slot but with Harrogate biting at their heels and with one game in hand.
POTM: Izzy Richmond
The Men’s 2XI made the short trip to Harrogate this weekend. Another team that got promoted alongside Leeds last season, there had been very little to choose between the sides in the previous year’s meetings. Leeds were hoping to go one better than last year when they let a two goal lead slip with minutes remaining to draw the game.
As usual there were a fair amount of vocal Harrogate supporters on the touchline, doing their best to assist the umpires in making decisions against Leeds. Luckily our very own Jack Fletcher was present amongst them to give us some support in the absence of John Goldthorpe, who was gutted to miss the game following the torrent of abuse he received last year from a player during the game. Perhaps predictably, the game started at a high pace with two out of forms sides having clearly set this game out as the one to turn their recent form around. Leeds were immediately finding time and space in the screen positions and were able to work the ball through the lines well, looking dangerous with every attack. It wasn’t long before they were rewarded, Will Means burying a beautiful reverse stick strike into the roof of the net for the second week in a row.
Despite Leeds playing the better hockey in the opening exchanges, Harrogate always pose a threat with several high forwards and a very direct style. It wasn’t long before they forced a short corner against the run of play and converted with a low flick that squirmed through the keeper and post man.
Leeds reacted well and continued to press forward, putting into practice the attacking principles they have worked hard on in training in recent weeks. They were almost rewarded when a quick break saw Andy Harkins square the ball across the face of goal for a tap in at the back post. Leeds thought they had scored only to find the umpire had already blown for a short corner at the exact time the ball crossed the line. Feeling aggrieved, Harkins stepped up and converted the corner with a low flick under the keeper. Moments later, Leeds forced another corner and went 3-1 up with an almost identical routine.
At this stage Harrogate seemed to wake up and began to press harder and defend more aggressively. Leeds dropped back and Harrogate enjoyed some sustained possession in the Leeds half. Despite a number of Harrogate corners and chances Leeds were able to ride out the pressure until half time through a strong PCD defence orchestrated by returning goalkeeper Marshall, and one superb goal line clearance from Gabe Downer. Leeds continued to create chances themselves and should have been more goals to the good when the half time break arrived.
With memories of last season’s disappointing collapse still lingering in the minds, the second half was a tense affair. The game became very scrappy and the umpires had a battle to control a game where emotions were running high. Leeds were forced to play a lot of the half a man down, veteran defender Alex Muir being shown a yellow card for a robust challenge when Harrogate were on the break. If Muir was perturbed by his punishment, the next recipient of the umpires card, Jake Buxton, had even more reason to be. He was shown a green card by the umpire but it was not clear that it had been shown, and due to not leaving the pitch it was upgraded to a ten minute yellow.
Leeds continued to defend resolutely, with Harrogate picking up cards of their own mainly for their spirited protests to the umpire on the award of most decisions. With around ten minutes remaining the Harrogate pressure eventually told and they scored through a packed D to make very a tense ending at 3-2.
Coach Golding was battling a sense of deja-vu on the side line, but it is a huge credit to the strong mindset and resolve of this young Leeds team that they were able to see out the remaining minutes and hold on for what felt like a hugely important away win. It showed the big strides the newly assembled team have made in recent weeks and they will hope to take this into next weekend with a home match against high flying Oxton.
A solid start for the Men's 7XI as a well worked team goal scored by Andy Gula-Walker assisted by Matt Smith. With a change of formation at half time to go on the attack Leeds worked hard to suppress Brigg into their half. With a second goal scored by a new junior player to the team Dan Walker assisted by Matt Smith again.
Brigg were able to score midway through the second half but Leeds fought on, carrying on with the attack. Towards the end of the second half captain Nathan Foxall ran up the middle of the field passing to Matt Smith, who one tapped it past the Brigg keeper putting Leeds 3-1 in the lead.
In the last two minutes of the game Brigg was able to capitalise on a penalty corner bringing the game to a close 3-2 to Leeds.
Captain Nathan Foxall said: "This was a well fought and enjoyable game. I'm very impressed with our junior and new players and and it's always a pleasure to play hockey with more experienced and statesmen of the club who make the team what it is. Well played team"
POTM : Matt Smith
Leeds started the game wanting to recover from their defeat to Slazenger’s the week before. Leeds started strong going 2-0 up within the first ten minutes with two goals from Toby Green. Leeds continued to press and Matt Rooney thought he opened his account for the season, only for it to be disallowed. City of York’s Number 9 pulled a goal back with a solo effort from the half way line and with the first half finishing 2-1.
Leeds started the second half strongly by getting two quick fire goals, scored by Toby Green (to get his hat trick) and Lewis Francis opening his goal tally of the game to make it 4-1. Once more Leeds continued to take press for goals and another quick double from Lewis Francis meant he got his second hat trick of the season.
York pulled a goal back to make it 6-2 from a well taken reverse from their Number 9. Leeds scored two more goals from Toby Green from open play and Oli Graham from a penalty corner.
POTM - Toby Green and Lewis Francis
Captain Chris Devine said “It was a great win today to bounce back from last week’s disappointing result. It was an all round team performance with some great plays and goals to give us the deserved win today.”