It’s fair to say that Leeds Adel Ladies’ 1st XI have been on quite a journey in recent seasons, breaking records and claiming some rather impressive statistics. 763 days since their last home league defeat they welcomed Brooklands Poynton to Church Lane on a beautiful quintessentially British autumnal day.
Both teams started well and rather than wait for the game to settle into any rhythm, both teams enjoyed some early chances. Adel held a smaller squad of 13 compared to the relative army of the opposition and as the early changes were made, Adel took advantage as the opposition reorganised. Leadbitter, A.Blyth and Hesselwood taking control from the middle of the pitch looking to hit early passes forward or bring in the half backs of Straughan, Love and Fowdon to offer some width to the attack. Brooklands however had other ideas and their well organised and confident defence dealt with the early dangers. Smith, Wright, K.Blyth and Wood not finding too many opportunities, managed to turn some possession into penalty corners and Adel looked to take advantage. Hesselwood brought down in front of goal, A.Blyth stepping up and converting the correctly awarded penalty stroke.
It was obvious that Brooklands would not be going down easily and they quickly responded by applying immediate pressure to the Adel defence, full backs Taylor and Gibson bringing out the big flat stick challenges to keep the attack at bay, McCall easily dealing with the shots restricted to some tight angles. the pressure however kept coming and eventually the game was tied with firecracker of reverse strike from a youthful looking centre half. Not content with an equaliser, Brooklands broke through on goal, McCall dropping the forward only for the ball to fall to another player who put the ball into the unguarded goal. A harsh green card given to McCall considering the diving antics at the other end which resulted in the previously awarded stroke, and the player unpunished. Gibson donning the dreaded green bib at kicking back for the eternal two minute suspension.
Adel survived, 2-1 down at the break.
The second half started with a little more control from both teams and a period of even play ensued. As the clock ticked down the game was always likely to spring back into life. Adel now piling the pressure forward with fifteen to go and Brooklands looking to kill the game, with some great chances not converted, Adel went to two at the back, throwing the sink at the opposition defence who rode their luck in parts, but also ran the game out and held on for a Brooklands away victory.
Adel now sit 5th in what appears to be a very open league, and finally have a sustained period of having almost a full squad available every week, which will hopefully settle the team down and produce the victories required having now led in all six of their games so far this season.
Many thanks to the Adel support, NHUA for providing umpires, umpires who controlled a very entertaining fixture and Big Blyth with his stopwatch for a accurate two minute suspension!
Photography by Sophie Davies, always appreciated!
MoM- Abbie Taylor, another colossal effort at FB, top performance.
DoD- Sarah McCall, only managed to take out one of the forwards, rapid sprint from the bin back to goal though!