Leicester City Women Football Club

Season Review Part 6: January

Leicester City Women FC headed into the new year with a great sense of optimism around the club after a successful end to 2017. The Foxes had negotiated their way through two tough cup fixtures in December to head into 2018 still in all three cup competitions and second in the Northern Division.

LCWFC 2 – 1 Bradford City
Date: Sunday 7th January 2018
Competition: FA Women’s Cup (3rd Round)
Venue: Farley Way Stadium
Goalscorers: Ellie White ‘9 | Rosie Axten ’79, Leigh Dugmore ’90

Having knocked Chorley Ladies out in the last round of the FA Women’s Cup, The Foxes were paired against fellow Northern Division side Bradford City in the 3rd round as they looked to reach the 4th round for the second successive season.

Their first game of 2018 couldn’t have got off to a worse start as the visitors found themselves 1-0 down after Ellie White put Bradford ahead from the penalty spot inside the opening 10 minutes. The visitors could have been further ahead before the break but two fine saves from Charlotte Clarke denied the Yorkshire side a chance to extend their lead.

After a slow start to the match, Leicester were the much brighter side after the break, Leigh Dugmore and substitute Nicole Nymoen combined well on the right hand side only for Dugmore’s shot to be blocked at the near post. The resulting corner saw Rachel Brown head narrowly wide of the far upright.

With just under half an hour remaining, Leicester thought they’d found an equaliser when Rosie Axten twisted her way past two defenders before firing a shot off which grazed the crossbar on its way over the top.

Paige Crossman was introduced to the match with 20 minutes to play in an attempt to bring Leicester back into the game and it almost paid off just two minutes later when she arrived at the back post to crash a header against the near post before Bradford cleared the ball to safety. Bradford City attacks were few and far between as they defended strongly, but they almost sealed the match with a break away chance down the left hand side, which would have resulted in a two on one against Charlotte Clarke but for a great tackle from Ria Acton.

With 10 minutes left to play, Leicester were finally offered a way back into the game, Leigh Dugmore was brought down inside the area having been through on goal and the referee was quick to point to the spot, handing Rosie Axten the chance to level the scores. City’s top-scorer made no mistakes in the pressure penalty and the Foxes were level with 10 minutes for either side to find a winner.

Both sides had a few half-chances to win the game inside the final 10 minutes but the game looked destined for extra time until Leigh Dugmore brought the ball down well on the edge of the area and firing a dipping volley into the top corner of the net to spark jubilant scenes on the Leicester bench as the Foxes sealed their route into the 4th round.

 

Huddersfield 1 – 1 LCWFC
Date: Sunday 14th January 2018
Competition: FA WPL Northern Division
Venue: The Stafflex Arena
Goalscorers: Brittany Sanderson ’29 | Paige Crossman ’17

Leicester’s only Northern Division match in January saw them travel up to Huddersfield Town, The Foxes were in 2nd, just 1 point ahead of their hosts with both sides looking to close the gap on leader’s Middlesbrough who sat 6 points ahead of Leicester.

The game was only two minutes old when Leicester thought they’d won a penalty, Leigh Dugmore brought down on the edge of the area, but the referee insisting the foul was outside the box. Rosie Axten stepped up to take the free-kick but her effort was comfortably saved by the Terriers’ keeper.

Leicester did take the lead with just under 20 minutes on the clock, Paige Stewart delivered a free kick deep into the Huddersfield area and Paige Crossman rose highest to head the Foxes in front. Having taken the lead, the Foxes pushed to try and extend their lead but were denied by some excellent saves from the Town ‘keeper.

With half an hour gone, the hosts’ got themselves back on level terms as Brittany Sanderson fired a powerful shot from distance into the top right hand corner. A fine finish which left Clarke little chance of keeping the ball out of the net.

With the scores level at the break, both sides made early changes in the second half in an attempt to gain the upper hand, whilst chances were few and far between, there were some high quality saves called into action from both keepers to keep the scores level and despite the hosts hitting the crossbar in the 89th minute, the match finished all square with the points shared.

LCWFC 3 – 0 Loughborough Foxes
Date: Sunday 28th January 2018
Competition: FA WPL Cup (3rd Round)
Venue: Farley Way Stadium
Goalscorers: Leah Cudone ’16, Ria Acton ’76, Olivia Mitcham ’83

Looking for a place in the Quarter Finals, Leicester hosted Loughborough Foxes for the second time this season in cup competitions. Having beaten Loughborough Foxes 3-1 in the County Cup in December, Loughborough were given little chance again in this tie as Leah Cudone rose to head Leicester in front just 16 minutes into the game.

Five minutes later and Leicester could have doubled their lead as Leah Cudone was played through on goal before firing an early shot narrowly wide of the visitor’s goal. with 10 minutes left of the first half, it was the crossbar who came to the rescue for Loughborough Foxes, Ellie May’s low ball into the box was fired goalwards by Nicole Nymoen only to graze the bar on its way over the top.

In the second half, Leicester again pushed and pushed in search of the 2nd goal, eventually finding the back of the net through full back Ria Acton who after a maisy run through the defence found herself with space on the edge of the area and hit a well timed drive into the top corner to extend City’s lead and give Jonathan Morgan’s side some breathing space in the tie.

Just over five minutes before the full time whistle, Leicester found the back of the net for a third time, Sophie Domingo worked herself some space on the right hand side, taking the ball all the way to the touchline before pulling it back for Olivia Mitcham to head home from close range. The Foxes safely through to the Quarter Finals of the League Cup where they would face another local derby in the form of fellow Northern Division side Nottingham Forest Ladies.

January in numbers

LCWFC Goals: 6
Top Goal Scorer: 6 different scorers
League Standing: 2nd