MMU fail to see off Leeds Met. MMU 1 vs Leeds MET 2

A valiant performance from the MMU Ladies Firsts ultimately ended in defeat in a close run game at Hough Lane against a fortunate Leeds Met side. It was the opening league game of the season for both teams, and that certainly showed in early exchanges as both sides struggled to get a hold of possession in a scrappy first few minutes. First blood however went to Leeds Met when on 5 minutes a lofted free kick from distance took everyone including this reporter by surprise, sailing over the heads of the crowded penalty box, clearing the goalkeeper and nestling superbly in the back of the net.

 

 

 

MMU could be forgiven for feeling sorry for themselves as the game and the weather took a turn for the worse. However they produced an immediate response as the sides right winger was sent clean through on goal forcing a save out of the Leeds keeper. Cue an intense period of pressure from the home side which saw the impressive Amy Pipe crack the outside of the post with a left footed strike, and a free kick from Captain Rachel Dunlop flash just wide of the post. Leeds attacks were few and far between as they failed to retain possession, gifting MMU’s forwards with a chance on the counter which again was well saved by a noticeably busy goalkeeper. The first half was looking like becoming a tale of one goalkeeper, that was before a freak arm injury forced MMU’s largely un-worked keeper off just before half time, compounding the misery and misfortune of the home side.

 

 

 

It would have been easy for the MMU ladies to be disheartened at half time, after 45 minutes that saw several chances go begging. However after some carefully chosen words of encouragement from the coach, the team turned frustration into unbridled joy in the 47th minute. Captain Rachel Dunlop, who proved to be a driving force all afternoon, unhappy with regaining possession in the centre of the park proceeded forward producing a sublime strike from the edge of the Leeds penalty area, which for once the Leeds Met Goalkeeper could do nothing about as it arrowed into the top right hand corner of the goal. From there on out there seemed only one possible outcome as the Ladies off MMU, spurred on by tremendous home support, flooded forward with new found confidence, Pipe again working tirelessly looking to latch onto any mistake made by the Leeds defense. However credit must be given to the visiting side who withstood half an hour of MMU domination with some strong tackling in the middle supporting a solid defensive display, further negating the efforts of the persistent home side.

 

 

 

You felt all that was missing from a textbook away display was a late winner, and that fear was compounded when, with 15 minutes remaining, the tireless running of the largely isolated Leeds striker allowed her to capitalise on a defensive clearance. Arriving first to a bouncing ball, before haring down the right hand side of the pitch and firing a shot low across the despairing dive of the MMU stand in keeper. The girls could be forgiven for simply giving up, but they showed tremendous team spirit choosing not to bemoan there horrendous bad luck but rather go all out in the final 10 minutes in search of a deserved second equalizer. In the last throw of the dice centre back Delice Thankachan was relieved of her defensive duties and thrust forward in attack. But the closest that MMU came to salvaging a point in the final minutes was when a free kick from Dunlop floated agonisingly just over the crossbar.

 

 

 

After the game Captain Rachael Dunbar, reluctant to dwell on the disappointing result, did praise the performance of the home side. “We should have had it really, I think we attacked really well and defended well, they just got a few lucky breaks” she proclaimed. When questioned on the togetherness displayed by the team she revealed “We kept the spirit up as our girls have good banter, we all get on well and don’t shout at each other”. Attention soon turned to the next game away at Durham in which a confident skipper gave the final words “I think the girls did really well and hopefully if we play the way we did this week then we should win.”

 

Written by: Adam Costello

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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