'We have done our job' - Leeds United Women's Catherine Hamill on defending, bouncing back, and taking the top spot

In her latest column, Leeds United Women captain Catherine Hamill reports on her 'rollercoaster of a week'.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 6:00 am

If you watch Match of the Day on a Saturday night, they’re not often saying ‘great positioning’ or ‘look at that cover - she was there!’

They’ll highlight the attacking players, or maybe a defender making a last-ditch tackle or a goal line clearance.

But more often than not, good defending isn’t about making massive tackles, it’s about being in the right place at the right time. You’ve got to stay switched on and focussed. As a defender, it helps to know how to attack, as anticipating your opponent’s next move is a big part of it. That’s why I love playing in defence.

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So far this season our back four has worked so well. We all understand each other. It’s really helpful to give each other praise when you’ve done something good, especially if you didn’t think it was that special.

If you make a mistake, most of the time you’re aware of it, so there’s no point going on at someone. We always try to be constructive. You can’t do two jobs at once, so just asking your teammates just to drop off a little or let you know when the attacker is near is the key to staying organised.

I really enjoy holding a strong defensive line. When the linesman flags for offside, it’s such a good feeling. It sounds weird but, just as people pride themselves on scoring goals, I get my thrills being organised at the back!

It’s been a rollercoaster of a week.

Hamill celebrates with Laura Bartup. Pic: James Hardisty.

We were so disappointed to lose at Bradford. No losses are good, but it’s particularly frustrating when it’s against a team you’re capable of beating. We know that we’re good enough to beat any team in the league, so to drop points against 10th place Bradford was tough to take, especially since they’d only won one game before playing us.

When we showed up to play on Sunday we all agreed to forget about Tuesday’s defeat and focus on trying to get back on track, which is what we did.

We started off strong against FC United of Manchester. When we were 2-0 up after fifteen minutes, I was thinking that we were in for a nice afternoon’s football, but they did come into it.

Half time came at a good moment, as we were coming under a bit of pressure. In the changing room we decided to play it simple. We knew that we could play better, and we wanted to get more goals.

Leeds United Women. Pic: LUFC

They kept the pressure up in the second half and it started chucking it down with rain. We had plenty of chances - we could have scored more than five, in the end. We felt disappointed that Laura Bartup had a goal chalked off as we were sure she wasn’t offside.

You can tell when I think a decision is wrong as I can get quite angry. It sounds bad, but it’s passion - you just want the best for you and your team. I think everyone gets a bit irate at football when there’s a decision against you, but as a captain, you probably need to be a bit calm.

It was great to get a clean sheet. As a defensive unit, you pride yourself on a clean sheet and you never know how much the goal difference might count come the end of the season.

We’ve gone top of the league now, just above Liverpool Feds on goals scored. Teams have got games in hand over us but we have done our job, so it’s up to those below us to match our performance.

Rebecca Hunt on the ball for Leeds United Women. Pic: James Hardisty.

It’s competitive this season. Only one team goes up at the end of the season, so it’s a bit stressful. I’ve been playing in Division One North since I was 17, so this is my eighth season in the league. I’m keen to take the step up, and I want to do it with Leeds United.

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Hannah Freibach. Pic: James Hardisty.