Leicester United Women discover highs and lows of National League

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Leicester United Women went top of the league as they maintained their 100 per cent start to life in the FA Women’s National League with victory over Lincoln at Signright Park last Thursday.

After a slow start, Leicester’s Georgia Gibson was forced off injured while stopping a certain goal in the 13th minute, and Erin Hannah came on for her league debut.

This seemed to unsettle Leicester as they conceded four minutes later, after some clever play from Lincoln down the left.

Lincoln began to control possession, creating better chances, but at the other end, Jade Bedford was denied three times by the Lincoln keeper before the visitors made it 2-0 after 35 minutes.

Leicester started the second half with greater purpose and began to dominate with chances for Courteney Cropper and Chantelle Robinson.

Just after the hour Megan Kenney pulled one back after a nice pass from Natalie Hurst.

This spurred Leicester on to maintain the high intensity which they had failed to employ in the first half.

Resolute defending by player-of-the-match Grace Morgan and Sinead Fletcher allowed Leicester to dominate a tiring Lincoln side and with 15 minutes left the hosts were level when Lauren Bartle’s great through ball allowed Robinson to slot past the Lincoln keeper.

Two minutes later Benford made it 3-2, with Hurst getting her second assist.

Leicester saw out the game despite a last-minute scare when Lincoln missed a sitter from inside the six-yard box.

Manager Nick Andrews, from Melton, said: “It was a poor first half from us. Although we had chances I wasn’t happy with our lack of urgency on and off the ball.

“Half-time was needed and it gave myself and assistant Tash Buckland a chance to regroup the players and reiterate our game plan.

“The second half was an excellent display of character and determination from the squad to get the three goals and the three points.”

* Leicester United Women travelled to title contenders Wolves on Sunday to face a side with vast National League experience.

The visitors immediately came under pressure as Wolves looked stung by their surprise midweek defeat, attacking with pace which caught Leicester off guard.

Leicester fell behind after 12 minutes and as they struggled to get hold of the ball were soon 2-0 down and holding out for the half-time whistle.

Wolves were three-up by the break and didn’t relent, pushing more players forward, while Leicester looked out of ideas in a one-sided second half.

A combination of poor decisions and players heads going down saw the goals keep coming as Wolves ran out 8-0 winners.

It was a day to forgot for Leicester United Women, but a firm reminder of the step-up to National League level.

Next up is a home test at Melton Town FC against The New Saints who beat Leicester in the first round of the cup.

All support is welcome (kick-off 2pm).