Morecambe Ladies FC travelled to Elland Road to play Leeds Ladies in the Women’s National League on Sunday looking to improve on recent performances, but they were narrowly beaten 1-0.
A cagey start turned worse when a Leeds’ strike crept through a forest of legs and beat Saunders and into the far corner to give Leeds a 1-0 lead.
Not disheartened, Morecambe threatened with Jess Tait busy on the right, Yasmine Swarbrick on the left and Megan Doherty holding the ball up in the centre and generally being a nuisance to the Leeds defence.
A great opportunity came with Tait’s cross being looped up by Doherty to sit-up for Swarbrick, only to see the striker head over the bar.
Leeds defended in numbers with a sweeper taking any sting from the visitor’s throughballs, whereas the Morecambe defence were more disciplined than the Leeds runners who were caught offside time and again.
Few shots bothered the keepers, Robyn Hodkin’s was hit sweetly and Jess Tait’s with venom but both were taken comfortably by the Leeds keeper.
A dubious freekick given outside the Morecambe area saw Leeds rattle the ball but Morecambe scrambled the rebound away as the hosts led 1-0 at the break.
Morecambe came out after the interval sprightly with Swarbrick firing in two quick shots which were blocked by a packed Leeds defence, Mel Brown’s free-kick just cleared the bar, as did Swarbrick header from a corner.
Beckingham and Hodkin had a real tussle with the Leeds midfield and they kept finding outlets with Hannah Paling battling hard to push forward. Jess Tait’s persistence led to her beating her marker in the corner and turned in a cross which the Leeds keeper managed to punch away under close attention from Swarbrick and Doherty.
With Leeds still in the lead it was up to the visitors to pull themselves back and take the initiative, the home side were content to sit, move the ball round, run the clock down and wait for opportunities to arise as Morecambe pushed players forward.
Recent games between the two teams have been passionate and sometimes fiery affairs but this one lacked an ignition.
A final freekick saw Swarbrick float the ball to the far post with defenders and attackers straining for a touch, the ball sailing past them all and the post.
It was a special day for the players appearing on the pitch at Elland Road but it was a disappointing outcome having come close and probably deserving something from the game.