Recieved Match Reports:
After a long journey down to Grimsby (following brief detour to Mr Moriarty's for forgotten face masks) on a non-moist day with a strong South-Westerly sea breeze, we arrived in Grimsby. The game started scrapily with interceptions by Grimsby and a lack of enthusiasm by Leeds. After a couple of brief encounters for both sides, Leeds were tested with a break by the Grimsby attack which saw goalkeeper Holly Sheen making a save on the post, only for it to go into the goal through a hole in the side of the net. The umpire awarded a goal but after some discussions with the other umpire and some honesty from the Grimsby team, the score was reset to 0-0, which is how the first half ended.
The second half started with the blinding sun beating down on us but now Leeds clearly were ready to fight. Second Grimsby short corner saw the ball rebound off a foot on the line before being put in the bottom left corner taking the score to 1-0. Despite numerous Leeds short corners we couldn't get the ball in the back of the net until text box dribbling round players by Sophie Studholme led to a 1 on 1 with the keeper with Studholme coming out victorious. After some odd tactics by Grimsby and cards almost awarded, Leeds finally stepped up. Despite Studholme hitting herself in the face with the ball creating some dramatic wailing, she went on to get another goal. With two minutes to go, Studholme almost made it a hat trick but just missed. With the final whistle unbelievable scenes and jubilation by Leeds with a final score of 2-1.
When you travel a long way for a match, they say it’s the perfect away performance to defend resolutely and hit teams on the counter. They say the sign of a good team is to go away from home and grind out a result when you aren’t playing well. I’d like to know who ‘they’ are, and I would like them to re write their definition.
Leeds travelled to Chester this weekend, a notoriously difficult place to go, and served up arguably their best performance of the season with a first clean sheet and the biggest margin of victory so far this term.
With the opportunity to complete three consecutive wins going into the Christmas break anticipation around the Leeds area was high, with an expected away attendance of one. Unfortunately fresher George’s mate never turned up to the meet, and with no word of number one fan and esteemed first team player Jack Fletcher, Leeds were forced to travel without their vocal supporters trust.
Further catastrophe was ahead, with the news that one half of the slowest centre back partnership in the league had broken down and was stuck on the side of the M6. With Cosford not being far from the pitch, there was a suggestion he could jog the rest of the way but having mustered only one sprint so far in six league games it was decided this would be too much of an ask.
Leeds were lacklustre in the warm up and seemed distracted by the tales of Christmas cheer told by Will Means, however once the game started their concentration levels couldn’t be questioned. Leeds immediately established control in the game and were finding space down the side of Chester’s half court press. Leeds started with real intensity and didn’t allow Chester to set on the breakdown and the hosts appeared rattled by this early intensity. It wasn’t long before Leeds got the reward their play deserved. Will ‘Worms’ KH wiggled his way around the top of the D from a free hit and surprisingly released the ball to Gorgeous George who took one touch to control before dispatching a neat reverse stick finish into the bottom right hand corner. The goal was taken with the confidence of a man who was retaining a significant amount of alcohol in his system.
In response Chester stepped their press up to put more pressure on the Leeds defensive unit, but the 2XI remained calm and continued to work opportunities mixing up short intricate play with some longer searching balls. As the half wore on, Leeds surrendered control of the game somewhat, giving possession away cheaply by trying to play too much long ball hockey. However, they defended well against several penalty corners and went into the half time break with a narrow lead still in tact.
The second half began with Leeds back to showing the same intensity they did within the first 15 minutes, As the game became a little stretched Aussie import Ben Baxter fired home two quickfire goals to put Leeds firmly in control. The first started with a quick transfer finding Hayes at right half who fed Greg down the line. After a great run along the baseline his ball across landed with Ben at the back post who poked it in with the goal at his mercy. Shortly after, Mawer got a bit over excited and crashed a first-time ball directly into Harkins knees in the D. Harkins controlled superbly and fed Baxter again. Baxter turned his marker on top D, put the ball on his reverse and planted it perfectly into the corner. Baxter showed what Leeds will be missing in the second half of the season, with him and Carney having been discovered and subsequently deported.
In a desperate attempt to avoid a hat trick, the next time he was on the ball Baxter opted to run head first into his opponent before feigning serious injury. Coach/manager/physio Golding was having none of it, instructing him to remain on the pitch and score again because everyone wanted a jug. The surprised Chester defender perhaps unfortunately received a yellow card for his role in the incident. Not the first time the sportsmanship of an Australian has been under scrutiny.
The game was all but won for Leeds, who had been comfortable throughout, but there was still time for stand in centre back and veteran defender Alex Muir to offer some Christmas charity to a beleaguered Chester side. Channelling his inner Alex Hayes, his decision to take on both Chester centre forwards as the last man was interesting to say the least. Luckily for him, despite inevitably losing the ball Chester were unable to profit and Leeds held on their clean sheet.
The result means Leeds head into Christmas in 5th place in North Prem, four points and a game in hand behind the second promotion place, but in a tight league they are only eight points ahead of bottom side York.
When interviewed after the game, coach Golding was forced to finally concede that at least some of his side had performed well. He said, “It was a good performance against a tough side, but I just wish some of them played like this more often. It’s a good job they proved what they can do because I wasn’t far from dusting my stick off and picking myself a few weeks ago. I know I would do a better job but unfortunately I can’t pick 11 Chris Golding’s each week.”
Next week sees the Men's 2XI and 3XI play a tough fixture against ‘Otley Run’ away, hoping to make it back to Weetwood to join in the Christmas Party. Unfortunately rumour has it Cosford will miss this one, as he is still somewhere on the side of the M6.
MOM: Ben Baxter
DOD: George’s mate