How history could repeat itself as Leeds United face chance to upset title hopes

Leeds United could spoil Liverpool Feds' Division One North promotion party for the second time on Sunday.

By Flora Snelson
Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 12:08 pm

The Whites' own hopes of clinching the Division One North title are long since over, with Sunday's opponents, the league leaders, as good as out of sight of third-placed Leeds.

With three games left to play, United could numerically overcome the nine-point deficit to the top spot but would have a harder time netting the 31 goals needed to equal Feds' impressive goal difference.

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Leeds could only watch on as the title decider between second-placed Newcastle United and Feds ended in a 1-1 stalemate earlier this month before the Magpies' 2-1 defeat to Chorley put the fate of the Division One North crown in Liverpool's hands.

With a two-point lead and a game in hand over Newcastle, Feds are on course to seal the league's sole promotion spot and compete in next season's Northern Premier Division.

But there could be further twists and turns in the title race as the Merseyside club face Chorley and Leeds United on Thursday and Sunday this week.

While Dan O'Hearne's side's dreams of advancing into the third tier will roll into next season, Leeds could yet play a decisive role in the conclusion of this term's competition.

The Leeds Ladies team of the 2014/2015 season featuring current players Bridie Hannon and Olivia Smart. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

A win against Feds on Sunday could force the title race to go to the wire - and it wouldn't be the first time the Whites have thrown a spanner in the works for the Merseyside club.

The last time the Feds came so close to escaping the fourth tier was in 2015, when a win over Leeds Ladies on the final day of their season was all that was needed to lift the trophy of the Northern Division One, as the league was then known.

Liverpool Marshall Feds, who have since dropped Marshall from their name after severing their association with local men's side Marshall FC, were going toe to toe with Guiseley Vixens at the top of the table.

Three days earlier, the Vixens had done all they could to stake their claim, leapfrogging the Feds with a 2-1 win at Tranmere Rovers and setting a points total of 52 for their title rivals to beat.

Whites skipper Catherine Hamill warms up ahead of a Northern Division One game against Middlesborough Ladies in April 2015. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

But Leeds would not roll over for Feds who, with 50 points at kick-off, could not lose or settle for a draw against the third-placed Whites - only a win would do.

On a dramatic afternoon in Liverpool, United kept the title-chasing Feds at bay before Shelbey Morris bagged an injury time winner for Leeds to cause heartbreak for the hosts and gift the title to their West Yorkshire neighbours.

Two of the players responsible for blocking Feds' promotion in April 2015 - Bridie Hannon and Whites skipper Catherine Hamill - will be in action for United again on Sunday afternoon when Leeds face an in-form Liverpool side who put a stonking five goals past Norton and Stockton Ancients last weekend.

The Feds have gone unbeaten in the league since September, when they suffered their only Division One North defeat of the season - a 1-0 loss to Leeds United.

Leeds United forward Abbie Brown celebrates her 87th minute winner against Liverpool Feds in September 2021. Pic: LUFC.

Leeds United Women will take on Liverpool Feds at Jericho Lane Sports Hub on Sunday April 24, with kick-off set for 2pm. Tickets are £3 for adults, £1 for concessions, while Under 16s go free.

Leeds United Women celebrate beating Liverpool Feds 1-0 in a Division One North game in September 2021. Pic: LUFC.