By Brad Saxton
York City Ladies fell to a 3-1 defeat to Leeds United Women on Wednesday evening at the LNER Community Stadium.
After losing their opening two FA Women’s National League games to Hull City and Chorley, The MinsterBelles were hoping they could earn their first win of the season against their close Yorkshire rivals in front of a crowd of over 600 people in North Yorkshire.
Elisha Hardcastle turned an effort from out wide narrowly over the bar after ten minutes for the hosts, before York goalkeeper Becky Sidwell was called into action down the other end only a minute later, denying Kathryn Smith from close-range.
Once again Sidwell had to get down to deny another Leeds attack, this time to stop a fierce low ball into the area from the left, before again getting down low minutes later to catch Macy Ellis’ delivery.
The visitors took the lead after 16 minutes s Jessica Rousseau rounded Sidwell to score from inside the penalty area after the forward pounced on a loose ball.
The Belles had chances to respond before the break, firstly though Holder’s long-range effort from distance which flew narrowly over the bar, before the winger then hit the crossbar with an effort from a tight angle.
Sidwell was again called into action ten minutes before the break as she got down to deny Ellis’ long-range effort, ensuring the MinsterBelles only headed into the break by a one goal deficit.
Leeds doubled their lead five minutes into the second half as Rousseau earned her second of the evening. The Leeds forward raced onto a long ball forward down the right channel before entering the penalty area, then beat Sidwell with a fierce effort from close-range.
And the visitors lead soon became three as a ball into the area from the right was met by Kathryn Smith, who beat Sidwell with a first time finish which nestled into the bottom-right corner.
Fliss Jones went close to pulling a goal back for York after 65 minutes, as her effort on goal from inside the area was parried by the goalkeeper, but Simpson was able to regather the ball quickly to prevent Jones’ meeting the rebound.
Alice Hughes had another great chance for the Belles to pull a goal back after racing clear through on goal on the right, but she could only roll an effort across goal and narrowly wide of the post with ten minutes to go.
With only four minutes to go, Belles captain Nicki Brown scored a late consolation goal for the MinsterBelles with a superb strike from distance. After being played into acres of space on the edge of the area, she struck an effort from 30-yards out, which flew over the head of Simpson and into the back of the net.
Despite the late goal, the MinsterBelles unfortunately couldn’t find a way back further into the game, as Leeds travelled back across to West Yorkshire with all three points.
The Belles now face FC United of Manchester Women on Sunday afternoon in their next FA Women’s National League game, which will be played at Tadcaster Albion’s So-Trak Stadium (2pm kick-off).
York City Ladies: Sidwell (GK), Jeffels, Heald, Hughes, Smith, Cattle, Holder (Ash 68’), Fevers (Duffield 46’), Jones, Brown, Hardcastle
Unused Subs: Singleton, Findlay, Sykes
Goals: Brown (86’)
Leeds United Women: Simpson (GK), Elliott, Smart, Whitham, Danby, Rousseau (Fox 90′), Smith (Price 88’), Jakeman, Williams (Brown 57’), Ellis (Bartup 75’), Pizzarello
Unused Subs: Kirkman
Goals: Rousseau (16’, 50’), Smith (52’)
MinsterBelles Player of the Match: Alice Hughes