Leeds United Women fall to defeat at Chorley

Leeds United Women fell to their first defeat of the season against Chorley on Sunday.

By Flora Snelson
Monday, 23rd August 2021, 11:45 am
Sarah Danby gives Leeds an early lead from 12 yards.
Sarah Danby gives Leeds an early lead from 12 yards.

The Whites took an early lead when Rebecca Hunt was brought down in the box on nine minutes, with new recruit Sarah Danby converting from the spot.

Joining from Huddersfield Town this summer, the midfielder arrived at Leeds with experience of top-level football under her belt, having played for Sunderland in the 2009 FA Cup Final. Her spot-kick against Chorley was her first goal in two league starts for Leeds after she netted twice during pre-season.

Leeds held their lead through a lively first half, with action at both ends, before conceding a penalty just before the halfway point, as Chorley’s Emma Hickson was tripped in the box. There was little Whites keeper Georgia Wattam could do to keep out the equaliser, which Rachel Hindle fired into the top corner from the spot.

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Bridie Hannon on the pitch against Chorley Women.

Not content to settle for a draw, head coach Dan O’Hearne opted for a more offensive formation with his interval changes, swapping out the defensive-minded Kanisha-Mae Underdown and introducing all-out attackers Laura Bartup and Sandra Soares-Martin.

But the Whites couldn’t find a breakthrough, instead going behind on 67 minutes. Leeds fell victim to Hickson’s dogged attack once more as the Chorley full-back earned her side a free-kick on the edge of the box. And it was Hickson who met Laura Walker’s delivery, nodding the ball home to put the hosts into the lead.

With aplomb the Whites hunted an equaliser into the final minutes but were frustrated, as they had been all afternoon, by a commendable performance by Chorley keeper Emma Louise Bradley, who is capped at U17s level for England, which made sure the Whites still trailed when the ref blew for the end of the game.

Leeds’ centre-back Bridie Hannon credited the shot-stopper’s influence in her post-match reflections.

Rachel Hindle equalises for Chorley Women.

“Fair play to their goalkeeper,” Hannon said. “She had a fantastic game. On another day we’d have scored three or four.

“We deserved to lose today,” she admitted. “It’s a reality check. You’re allowed two or three of them in a season and we’ve now had our first one in week two.

“We need to take this on the chin and go again next week.”

The weekend’s results cause Leeds to drop to 6th place before they visit league newcomers Alnwick Town next weekend.