Season stalls once again for Leeds United Women

Leeds United Women’s season has stalled yet again as all non-elite football has been suspended in the new national lockdown.

By Flora Snelson
Saturday, 9th January 2021, 6:37 pm
Leeds United Women's midfielder Alice Hughes. Picture: Steve Riding.
Leeds United Women's midfielder Alice Hughes. Picture: Steve Riding.

Following the government’s announcement on Monday, the FA Women’s National League postponed all Division One North games up to January 24.

Leeds’ next match, against promotion rivals Brighouse Town, is scheduled for the last day of the month, but the fixture list remains sensitive to an ever-changing national outlook.

Tomorrow’s game against Barnsley, now cancelled, posed a chance for a fresh start for the Whites, whose unbeaten run at their home ground, the Global Stadium, came to an end with the close of the year.

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Leeds hit the woodwork three times in their efforts to extend a half-time lead against Liverpool Feds before the visitors struck twice late on, stealing all three points with the final kick of 2020.

But according to midfielder Alice Hughes, this weakness is simply the missing piece. “We need to take our chances when we get them,” she said. “As soon as we start doing that, I think we’re going to be really, really tough to beat, to be honest.

“We’ve been trying to focus on going back to basics and doing what we do well.

“I think a lot of it is work rate and keeping the ball. The chances will come - we know, because we’ve got incredibly creative players in the squad.”

Originally from Buckinghamshire, Hughes moved north last year and now lives in York, where she works in admin.

Following a brief stint with Hull City, she felt confident that joining up with the ambitious Whites was the right move for her.

She said: “I’d heard good things about the club from quite a few girls I spoke to - that there was a good set up, a good group of girls there.

“They’re a club that are pushing for promotion, looking to go somewhere, to progress through the leagues. That’s what attracted me most.”

Hughes has proved that she could play a vital role in realising the team’s goal, starting every game this season since her competitive debut for the Whites in September.

The 24-year-old commands an impressive range of passing and prides herself on her desire to get on the ball, and her composure when she does.

Her quality has not gone unnoticed - Hughes has been recognised by opponents as Player of the Match three times, more than any other player in the squad.

She is full of praise for her team-mates, though, and believes a little patience will serve them well in the long run.

“There are some incredible players in the squad,” she said. “It’s good to be around.”

“The quality is there, it’s just that it sometimes takes a while to click into place - we’re getting to know each other, still settling into our patterns - but I think as soon as it clicks, we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

But progress is on hold for now, with lockdown presenting the latest in a series of obstacles which have prevented teams from fulfilling even an eighth of the fixtures that make up a complete Division One North season.

Leeds United Women await a prognosis from the FAWNL.

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