Women’s Football – University of Birmingham 1s 3-0 Leeds Beckett 1s
The game was set to be an interesting one with Birmingham sitting fourth in the Premier North table, while Leeds were two places above trying to keep up with the dominant Durham 1st. Birmingham were in impressive form going into the match and the comfort of home turf meant they were confident that they could grab three points.
Birmingham looked extremely sharp in their pre-match warm-up. Yet, this could not be said for Leeds Beckett as they arrived late and had little time to prepare for the match. The first-half began very fast paced with Birmingham playing the high pressing game, attempting to close down options for Leeds and making their lives difficult. This plan was working as Leeds showed little attacking threat.
The game’s tempo was maintained for the first twenty minutes, neither side having a clear-cut chance. It has to be said the game was becoming extremely physical but Birmingham were coping well. The first goal came half way through the first-half as a well won header by the Birmingham central midfielder saw the ball come out on to the left wing. The wide midfielder for Birmingham made a quick run down the line and cleverly zipped the ball along the floor to the edge of the box. Birmingham’s number nine latched onto the ball and struck the ball into the top right hand corner. An excellent finish saw Birmingham go 1-0 up.
Soon after the first goal, Birmingham capitalised on an unorganised Leeds back four. Birmingham were passing the ball around nicely; the ball was then played in to the number nine who was through on goal and she calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right hand corner. Birmingham’s number nine was proving to be an irreplaceable asset to the team, playing in behind the striker, constantly finding space and providing attacking options. For the remainder of the first half, Birmingham were happy to hold onto the ball and not do anything reckless. Leeds looked lethargic and so the first half finished 2-0 to Birmingham.
The second half very much echoed the first as Birmingham were completely dominant. Huge credit had to go to Birmingham’s central midfielder, number seven, who was winning nearly every fifty-fifty, holding onto the ball and then distributing it to her teammates. Leeds’ lone striker was isolated and every time the ball came to her she had very few options.
The final goal of the game came mid-way through the second half. After a series of short, intricate passes the ball came to number eleven for Birmingham. She tried her luck with a shot and although the shot was straight at the keeper, it went through the keeper’s gloves and trickled into the back of the net. Birmingham were now winning 3-0.
The game petered out and Leeds were showing no signs of a comeback. There was frustration among the Leeds XI shown by a vicious and late challenge on Birmingham’s star player, number nine. She had to be substituted, a sour note to end the game on. Overall, Birmingham will be extremely pleased with their win as they close the gap on Leeds Beckett 1st and Northumbria 1st.