Leeds United Women set to play league newcomers Alnwick Town

Bridie Hannon lines up alongside teammates before kick-off.Bridie Hannon lines up alongside teammates before kick-off.
Bridie Hannon lines up alongside teammates before kick-off.
The Whites face a 250-mile round trip this weekend to visit St James’ Park in Alnwick for their longest away trip of the season.

In their maiden season in Division One North, Alnwick Town are hoping to make an impression and “do more than just survive”, as they declared on their Twitter page when they announced their promotion.

But the North-Eastern outfit did not advance by usual means; following the curtailment of women’s football due to the pandemic last season, Alnwick were one of the fortunate few granted upward movement by application, earning their promotion through paperwork rather than on the pitch.

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The Northumberland team play just a stone’s throw from Alnwick Castle, the famous Harry Potter film set where interior scenes at Hogwarts were shot, and Alnwick Town Ladies hope to put their home on the footballing map as they strive to preserve the team’s tier four status.

“Our aim is to establish ourselves at this level so future generations have the opportunity to play National League football on their doorstep,” Alnwick Town defender Georgia Latto told the Women’s National League as part of their #WhyWePlay campaign.

They got off to a flying start, with Lucy Jackman scoring the earliest goal of the Division One North season in a crucial draw with last term’s league leaders Chester le Street Town on the opening weekend.

With a point on the board, Alnwick then fell victim to schoolings at the hands of Norton and Stockton Ancients and Newcastle United, who beat them 8-1 and 7-1 respectively.

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On Sunday, they’ll host Dan O’Hearne’s Leeds side who are also keen to make good after a disappointing performance against Chorley at the Global Stadium last weekend.

Leeds United Women prepare to play at the Global Stadium.Leeds United Women prepare to play at the Global Stadium.
Leeds United Women prepare to play at the Global Stadium.

The Whites will be on watch for Alnwick’s number 9 Michelle Stewart, who was last season’s top-scorer, and Lucy McConnell, a sought-after winger and prolific bagsman who recently signed from Sunderland regional talent centre.

Also fresh on the scene is Libby Corney, a pacey full back who’ll need careful tracking after lively Chorley defender Emma Hickson caused Leeds all kinds of trouble last weekend.

“They will be a tough team and will be physical,” said Whites defender Bridie Hannon of Sunday’s opponents, Alnwick Town.

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“We know on our day we can beat anyone. The way we train, the intensity, we’re a really good footballing team.”

Leeds United kick off at 2pm on Sunday at St James' Park, Alnwick. Tickets are £3 for adults, while under-16s go free.

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