Bridie Hannon’s late winner one to savour and our new signings impressed too, says Leeds United Women’s captain Cath Hamill

You can’t expect teams to stay the same – that’s what we learned this week as my Leeds United Women team-mates and I kicked off the second half of the Division One North season.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 5th February 2022, 6:00 am
Immediate impact: New signing Sarah Dobby brought strength, experience and scored a goal for Leeds United Women in the last-gasp midweek win over Barnsley. Picture: LUFC
Immediate impact: New signing Sarah Dobby brought strength, experience and scored a goal for Leeds United Women in the last-gasp midweek win over Barnsley. Picture: LUFC

Heading into the second meeting, you might feel like you’ve got the measure of the side from the reverse fixture, but football doesn’t work like that. Formations change, players come in and out – no two games are the same.

On Sunday, after a long break for cup ties we played our first league game in 112 days at home to Chorley.

Kathryn Smith pulled us level after our opponents took a 1-0 lead into half-time and, when Chorley brought down Rebekah Bass in the box the crowd was cheering like crazy. I think a lot of the little ones in the crowd were imagining we had already scored it.

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Get in: Leeds United Women celebrate new signing Katie Ramsden's goal against Barnsley. Picture: LUFC

Last time out, Chorley won by scoring a penalty and a free-kick to cancel our early lead.

We didn’t have as much luck ourselves on Sunday – their keeper saved the spot-kick and the game ended 1-1.

It was a draw which felt like a loss, because we wanted to get the three points, but it’s important to look at the positives. It’s something I find hard, sometimes, but there were plenty to take from this match.

We played much better than we did in the away game, and got a better result too.

Thrilling finish: Leeds United Women's captain Cath Hamill. Picture: LUFC

Chorley have shown that they’re not an easy team to beat, and we managed to come from behind to get a point for the first time this season.

Then we did it again – and did it better – against Barnsley on Wednesday.

On the reverse, we beat the Reds 5-0 at home – but none of us were expecting a repeat of that game.

What happened on Wednesday was a real rollercoaster.

We went into half-time 2-0 down.

In the heat of a Yorkshire derby Barnsley, who are fighting relegation at the moment, looked as though they wanted it more than us in that first half.

At the break, we had a big task ahead of us. We didn’t want to draw - we wanted to win, so we had to score three goals in 45 minutes to fix a poor first-half performance.

Sarah Dobby and Katie Ramsden, who both signed for us just this week, gave us the boost we needed.

Dobby was winning every header and brought strength and experience to the side, while Katie was full of energy and looked dangerous on every attack.

Within ten minutes of the restart, the pair had drawn us level with a goal apiece. Then, at 2-2, we believed we could win it.

It was risky though, an all-or-nothing situation.

Even though we were well on top, all Barnsley needed was one break and they could take the game – that’s the joy of football.

Thankfully, it was my centre-back partner Bridie Hannon who bagged a late goal.

There were just five minutes to play, and we were buzzing after holding on for the win.

For our next games we are determined to switch on better in the first half.

We can’t carry on getting our act together in the dressing room at the interval – it needs to be from the first minute, or else we’ll always have a mountain to climb at the restart.

But this week, the fact that Bridie’s goal came so late was maybe not such a bad thing.... It was an emotional one – last-minute winners are something else.