The first friendly of the season was a real baptism of fire for Leeds United Ladies, coach Lewis Atkinson took a young squad of about 20 players, most of which were new to this level of football. Many of the players will qualify for the under 18s team this year as well.
The first half Leeds lined up with only 2 players from last year’s team starting, some were playing unfamiliar roles and many had not played together other than a couple of training sessions. Huddersfield on the other hand had new players that were well used to this level and had played together and to be fair were the star players from the league Leeds played in last year.
Leeds were a good match for Huddersfield Town Ladies in the opening minutes holding them off and had a couple of good breaks that could easily have led to goals, but on 12 minutes Huddersfield opened the scoring with a powerful close range strike. Leeds carried on battling against a team that were playing very well together but after 20 minutes Huddersfield doubled their lead, from here things went a bit astray, some poor passing and loss of possession from Leeds and excellent closing down from Huddersfield meant Leeds conceded more goals. Leeds did have the ball in the Huddersfield net but the referee rather harshly deemed it to be off side.
Second half started much better than the first half ended following about 8 substitutes from Leeds, however there were still only 4 from last season’s team. The threat was still there from Huddersfield though and they broke Leeds down after about 20 minutes, and another couple of goals conceded before a final last goal in the closing moments.
Speaking to Lewis afterwards he was reasonably happy with the effort the players had given and appreciated they were up against a team that on the day were a class above, but don’t read too much into this performance, Leeds will level off and players will settle.
At the weekend they play Stoke City Ladies, who finished above Huddersfield last year so more hard work, whilst the development team travel to Mill Lane, a team that finished top of their league last year winning every game.