Laura Bartup’s strike gets Leeds United Women up and running in the league

LEEDS UNITED WOMEN face high-flying Chester-le-Street Town tomorrow after a strong defensive performance against Durham Cestria earned them their first points of the season in a 1-0 victory last Sunday.

Saturday, 3rd October 2020, 5:55 am
Laura Bartup, left, celebrates scoring the only goal in Leeds United Women's 1-0 victory over Durham Cestria on Sunday. Picture: Steve Riding.

Leeds were straight out of the blocks at their new home in the Global Stadium, with Laura Bartup netting inside five minutes before the goal was disallowed for handball.

She didn’t wait to put it right, though, firing Leeds into the lead on 13 minutes, making it two goals in two appearances for the Whites’ new striker.

Ahead at the break, the home side were wary of repeating past mistakes, having thrown away a 1-0 advantage in their opening defeat to Norton and Stockton Ancients.

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Leeds United Women's vice-captain Cath Hamill. Picture: Steve Riding.

Leeds’ vice captain Cath Hamill said: “We didn’t want the same to happen as last week, because we knew how it felt, Norton scoring the winner in the last five minutes.

“We learned from it – not to dive in, to keep patient. I said at half-time ‘we can’t let this slip now. We can’t give away silly fouls – don’t do anything rash, just keep them away from goal’.’”

Durham were dogged in their pursuit of an equaliser after half-time, but smart defending from Hamill’s back line and a string of wayward shots prevented the visitors from capitalising on their dominance in possession.

There was little for Durham’s keeper to do in the second half but, with Bartup’s early goal the difference at the final whistle, the home side left with all three points.

Leeds United Women's head coach Dan O'Hearne. Picture: Steve Riding.

Hamill, who has played for Leeds United Women since she was 13 years old, said: “I felt relief at the final whistle. It was tiring – we had a lot of pressure in the second half, and we did well not to concede.

“It built our confidence after last week’s loss.

“It’s really good to know we can work hard and grind out a result.

“We’ll try and work our way up the table now.”

Leeds United Women's Rebecca Hunt. Picture: Steve Riding.

The Whites were denied the chance to ride their momentum on Tuesday after a Covid-19 outbreak took Bradford City out of the action for two weeks.

The midweek clash was one of four fixtures postponed until the Bantams can safely return to training.

Tomorrow, Leeds face league leaders Chester-le-Street Town.

The two clubs have shared the spoils in their last six meetings with both claiming three victories.

Leeds cruised to a 5-1 win in their most recent encounter in September 2019, when last season’s top-scorer Rebecca Hunt bagged a hat-trick against her hometown side.

Chester-le-Street will arrive at the Global Stadium undefeated in their first three fixtures, having resisted a late fightback from Newcastle United to claim a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Leeds United Women kick off at 2pm tomorrow at the Global Stadium in Tadcaster.

Admission is £4 for adults, and free for under-16s.