Leeds United Women did their club proud in narrow County Cup final defeat, says Whites boss Dan O'Hearne

Leeds United boss Dan O'Hearne is delighted with his side's efforts after the Whites lost the County Cup final 4-2 on penalties.
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Leeds played their first final in six years against holders Brighouse Town in front of a 845-strong crowd under the lights at the West Riding FA on Thursday night.

Whites midfielder Kathryn Smith gave United hope with a stoppage-time penalty which cancelled Lucy Sowerby's first-half tap-in to send the game to penalties at the death.

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But Town 'keeper Jen Handy got down to make two saves while the holders made a clean sweep in the shootout to retain the County Cup.

In spite of the defeat, Leeds did themselves and the club justice with their performance, according to O'Hearne.

"Really proud of them, they've put a right shift in tonight," O'Hearne said.

"It's a lottery with the penalties. I'm gutted for the players. For me, I'm not bothered, but for the players, they put a massive shift in and I'm gutted for them.

Leeds United Women boss Dan O'Hearne. Pic: LUFC.Leeds United Women boss Dan O'Hearne. Pic: LUFC.
Leeds United Women boss Dan O'Hearne. Pic: LUFC.
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"[Brighouse] are the division above, the girls have done Leeds proud tonight.

"We had a lot of Leeds fans here tonight - thank you for that, it was brilliant."

Beating a number of experienced players to a place in O'Hearne's starting line-up was 16-year-old Katie Ramsden, who has recently returned to West Yorkshire following international duties with England Under 17s.

Menacing throughout, the winger's threat eventually won Leeds the equalising penalty as the Town defence couldn't handle her pace and agility in the box.

Leeds United winger Katie Ramsden. Pic: LUFC.Leeds United winger Katie Ramsden. Pic: LUFC.
Leeds United winger Katie Ramsden. Pic: LUFC.
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O'Hearne was delighted with the way the young player acquitted herself on the night.

"She was fantastic, she was brilliant," O'Hearne told LUTV. "Cracking little player, she's going to go far in the game.

"She cancelled her holiday, she was supposed to be going on holiday today but she's going tomorrow now so that just shows you how much Leeds United means to her."

The final came amid a tricky run of league form, with Leeds losing three of their last five Division One North fixtures - including a disappointing loss at home to Norton and Stockton Ancients just days after beating them on the road.

Leeds United midfielder Kathryn Smith. Pic: LUFC.Leeds United midfielder Kathryn Smith. Pic: LUFC.
Leeds United midfielder Kathryn Smith. Pic: LUFC.
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On Sunday, United take on bottom-placed Alnwick Town at Elland Road, where O'Hearne hopes his side can build on the success of their cup final performance.

"I've just told them, 'you've got to win the last four league games now,'" he said.

"There's no reason why we can't, putting in a performance like that against a team from a higher level. We need to get to Elland Road Sunday and do the business.

"We were disappointed [by the Norton defeat] on Sunday, nobody can deny that. The pitches at this time of year don't help, bobbly pitch on Sunday, this surface suited us tonight.

"We had to work hard like I said but there were a lot of positives tonight and we've got to take that into Sunday and into the next three."

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