Victory sets Leeds United Women up nicely for derby with Bradford City - Catherine Hamill

It was quite a scrappy game against Chester le Street on Sunday.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 10:19 am
Whites’ delight: United goalscorers Laura Bartup and Hannah Freibach, top, celebrating the latter’s goal on her debut in the 3-1 win over Chester-le-Street. Picture: James Hardisty

It was quite a scrappy game against Chester le Street on Sunday.

I don’t think we played the best that we are capable of, but to not play our best and get that result is really pleasing to see.

We had a bit of a slow start to the season goals-wise, so to get three yesterday was a huge confidence boost.

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Closing down: Leeds United’s Rebecca Hunt, chases after Chester’s Anna Winter in the 3-1 victory at Tadcaster. Picture: James Hardisty

It’s great having Hannah Freibach up top, too. She returned to the club this summer after a few seasons away and she showed on her first outing that she’s very good at taking her chances.

I thought I’d got a goal myself in the second half.

The ball came loose after a corner, but it was a bit of a scramble and Olivia Smart and I both went for it.

Laura Bartup turned it in eventually. When the ball’s in the back of the net, it doesn’t matter who has scored, but Sarah Danby came up to me after and asked ‘did you see your name in lights there, Catherine?’

Shot: Leeds’ Paige Williams tries to block Brogan Prudhoe’s effort. Picture: James Hardisty

I was pleased for Laura to score her second as she’ll no doubt be gunning for top goalscorer this season.

It was a bit disappointing to concede at the last minute. We were deflated when the final whistle went because, as a defensive back line, you prize yourself on a clean sheet and we knew that we could have been top of the league if that last goal hadn’t gone in.

But it’s still early in the season, so there’s plenty of time to improve our goal difference.

I’m so impressed with the players that come straight from work into a game.

Olivia Smart, for instance, she’d not even slept when we kicked off, having come straight to the game from a night shift, and Rebekah Bass had been working that morning as well.

We all have really full lives, so to come out on a Sunday afternoon and beat a team 3-1 is really good going, I think.

I’m excited to play at Valley Parade on this evening. The first time we played Elland Road we had a crowd of about a thousand supporters.

It’s a different atmosphere – you can hear the cheering echoing around the stands. It’s a good feeling.

The pitch at Valley Parade is going to be absolutely massive and you can really feel the difference when it gets to seventy minutes.

But we’ve done it a couple of times before – the Elland Road pitch is huge, too – so we can do it again.

We’re a fit team, which will hopefully show when it comes to the last few minutes. Our bench is really strong this season, too, there’s as much talent there as in the starting eleven.

Every sub’ that comes on matches the person coming off, which makes a big difference.

I’ve cancelled my job on Tuesday so I can do my full preparation for the game. The other players don’t need it, but I’m just a bit superstitious with the way I set myself up to play.

It was mackerel for tea last night, then I’m up early this morning to do some planning for my coaching sessions on Wednesday. I’ll have a bit of lunch, take a nap, then get up and have my scrambled eggs and beans on toast before getting to Valley Parade for half six. That’s my plan.

It’s so important to feel fresh for kick-off. You always feel a bit groggy first thing after a nap, but half an hour later you’re fine and it gives you a proper energy boost.

We deserved the win at Chester le Street.

Hopefully it continues tonight when we play Bradford and then again on Sunday against FC United of Manchester.

One game at a time.