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Women's Football News
Yeovil Town 0 Leeds United 1
Yeovil Town bowed out of the Premier League Cup in front of a bumper 620 crowd at Huish Park with a 1-0 defeat to last season's beaten finalists Leeds United.
A close and highly competitive encounter was marred by a serious injury to Laura Wensley who suffered a suspected broken leg which necessitated an interruption of 25 minutes to enable the Yeovil stalwart midfield player to be removed from the field and taken to hospital. Leeds were hanging on at times in the final minutes but had done enough to reach the last eight with a Tanya Rich goal early in the second half.
Yeovil were given an early indication of the threat posed by their National Division visitors when Danielle Sheen was sent clear on the right by Rachel Lee but she fired wide on two minutes. Helen Bleazard had the first sight of goal for the Glovers and her crisp shot was well held by Jules Draycott. Laura Bray got in a shot under pressure and was nearly sent clear by Jade Radburn as Yeovil warmed to the task.
Leeds responded with Sheen prominent on the right, her clever pass forcing home keeper Beth Howard to make a block at Clare Sykes' feet and then she raced alertly from her line to clear ahead of Carey Huegett.
Yeovil were gifted a golden opportunity to open the score on 23 minutes when a loose defensive pass left Bleazard with time and space fifteen yards out in the centre of the penalty area but the winger's shot was wide of the left hand post. Leeds took over and dominated the next ten minutes with Yeovil struggling to escape their own half. Rich had a half chance from Emma Lipman's cross and Bleazard showed great composure to rescue a dangerous situation in front of goal.
Sheen created two more good chances, forcing a good save from Howard after tricking two defenders then seeing her cross rebound from the bar. In between Rosie Williams had a 30-yard free kick which drifted inches wide of Draycott's goal and Stacey Pearson saw an effort well saved.
There had been nothing to choose between the sides at the break but Leeds returned with good urgency. Huegett missed a great headed chance on 47 minutes but was instrumental in the decisive goal on 52 minutes, forcing Howard into another good blocking save from a Sykes pass. The Yeovil keeper was unfortunate that the ball rebounded towards Rich who instinctively looped an effort which ended in the Yeovil net.
Rich nearly had another on 57 minutes when a corner was headed down to her, but she lifted the ball over from three yards out. Yeovil were at full stretch to stay in the game but battled back just past the hour, forcing two corners which led to a Wensley effort on target. Sadly this was the last contribution from the Yeovil midfielder who, in going for a typically brave and committed challenge on 69 minutes, was left with a serious injury. Unaware of the extent of Wensley's injury, play was allowed to continue until Leeds' Huegett hit the post from five yards out although an offside flag had been raised.
Players tried to keep warm in the winter sun as Wensley was examined and an ambulance called. Eventually they left the pitch and medical staff removed the injured player to hospital.
Perhaps understandably, the match had lost a bit of spark and Leeds seemed to be comfortably in control as the final ten minutes approached. However, encouraged by the large crowd Yeovil rallied, changed formation and had their best attacking spell of the match.
Bleazard sent a snap shot just wide then Draycott leapt to her right to palm away a powerful effort by Radburn from ten yards. Some of the best passing of the contest forced Leeds into hurried defence but the Yorkshire side did the job very well and were always threatening on the break, forcing a series of corners as the match went into added time.
All the Yeovil players gave everything to match their highly rated opponents from start to finish in a fine advert for the club. The attendance was just four short of that recorded for the final of the same competition last season. It was a bittersweet afternoon both in the result and because of the misfortune of one the key players in the very successful run the club has enjoyed under the joint managership of Sarah Lawler and Nigel Williams.
Yeovil Town: Beth Howard, Michelle Keehan, Rosie Williams, Rachael Edwards, Emma Brazell, Jade Radburn, Laura Wensley, Laura Bray, Justine Lorton, Helen Bleazard, Stacey Pearson. Subs: Grace Rapp, Kirsty Whitton, Nadine Grogan, Kayleigh Sage, Katie Cook.
Leeds United: Jules Draycott, Emma Lipman, Stacey Emmonds, Rachel Lee, Hayley Sharp, Billie Murphy, Danielle Sheen, Clare Sykes, Carey Huegett, Tanya Rich, Nat Staneff. Subs: Abbie McIver, Abi Lee, Carla Cantrell.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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