Leeds United Ladies took a large squad of players to Ripon to play Ripon Ladies in a memorial match to celebrate the memory of Barry Colman. A match which Leeds fully expected to win, but Ripon are a good side, well run with some excellent young talent and they had other ideas.
The match started with a minute’s applause in which players and a healthy crowd of well over 100 spectators joined in, the pitch was in great condition, sun was out so it was all set for a great game of football.
Leeds first half team saw was put together with experienced players who were all comfortable on the ball, they passed the ball round well and you could see the quality in the team, Leeds had loads of possession, used the width of the pitch well and the ball seemed to spend most of its time in the Ripon half, but possession won’t win games and Leeds were pretty toothless in front of the well marshalled Ripon defence, most of their attempts on goal either going wide or straight at the keeper, Ripon also looked very dangerous on the break. Leeds had to wait until the 30th minute before breaking the deadlock with a clever strike from Rebecca Sherrard, lifting the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the area. That was all Ripon gave away in the first half proving them to be worthy opponents.
Second half saw 7 changes for Leeds with a few newcomers to the team, they seemed to take some time to settle and Ripon took full advantage making the most of the break away style football they had adopted, firstly with a fine strike that was well saved by Lauren Colman in the Leeds goal but a few minutes later an even better strike from 30 yards out catching Colman off her line and dipping just under the crossbar to equalise.
Leeds now had a bit more urgency and pushed forward again with a string of attempts at goal either just wide or saved by the busy Ripon keeper, until eventually Helen Wagstaff smashed in Leeds second goal from 25 yards giving the keeper no chance and although there were plenty more chances and Leeds hitting the crossbar that was to be the final score.
Not really what we expected, Ripon played some great football, defended well and contested every ball but Leeds won by the odd goal and let’s hope this is the start of some more positive results for Leeds.