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The opening league game in the Greater London Premier Division came at home against a very strong and experienced Hackney Women's side. Whyteleafe were winning 1-0 until a brilliant late equaliser from Hackney left them trying to desperately win the game with only minutes to go. In the dying embers of the game, Whyteleafe had a corner and Mercedes Bromfield rose highest to claim her team all three points in their opening league fixture.
Whyteleafe went into the home game against QPR Development needing a win after dropping two points to Tottenham Development in their previous game. QPR were also having a great season and were one point above Whyteleafe Ladies, so it seemed we were in for a great game and it certainly didn't disappoint. Whyteleafe went one down in the opening ten minutes with a very well worked counter attacking goal from QPR. The girls dug deep and not only equalised but then went 2-1 up with a cracking shot from outside the box from Giorgia Dunne. After half time, Whyteleafe extended their lead to 3-1 as they began the second half with real authority. QPR then struck again in the second half making the score 3-2 but that wasn't the end of the scoring. Whyteleafe once again extended their two goal lead when the onrushing Steph Mann prodded one past the goalkeeper. With ten minutes left, QPR weren't giving up and they reduced the scoreline to 4-3, setting up a nervous end to what had been a highly entertaining game.
Since the two dropped points at Tottenham Development earlier in the season, Whyteleafe had won every league game, but so had QPR Development, so every game was looking more and more important in the race for the title. They travelled to Regents Park Rangers in very difficult weather conditions and on a very difficult pitch, Whyteleafe ran out 2-1 winners with goals from Steph Mann and a wonder strike from centre back Levi Chambers-Cook.
A home game against a much improved Tottenham Development team proved to be a challenging one for Whyteleafe Ladies, but a Danielle Johnson penalty proved to be the decisive kick off the match as they claimed another three points to stay one point above QPR Development at the top of the table.
"With three games of the league season to go we knew that nothing but nine points would be acceptable," manager Charlie Bickell told Women's Soccer Scene. "We headed to Hampstead for what we knew was going to be a very tough game but we were prepared and knew exactly what we had to do. The weather was awful and the pitch wasn't much better and as if things couldn't get worse, some slack defending allowed Hampstead to go 1-0 up. We went in at half time still trailing, knowing we had 45 minutes to turn this game around. The second half started in the way the second ended with Whyteleafe Ladies pressuring the Hampstead goal but no breakthrough early on.
"Then approaching the 70th minute the breakthrough came, an equaliser arrived and it gave us 20 minutes to take all three points home. A debut goal from Hayley Halford was greeted by wild celebration from players and fans, and gave the girls those very valuable three points."
A home game followed against Hemel Hempstead and it bought about the first chance for Whyteleafe to win the Greater London Premier Division. "It was a comprehensive 3-0 win and we were left waiting to see if Tottenham Development had beaten QPR to clinch us the title. The news filtered in that QPR had lost and that Whyteleafe had been crowned champions, a moment we had worked for all season and it couldn't have felt better."
All that was left now was to complete the season unbeaten in our last match away to QPR and we did so with an emphatic 4-1 win.
"It's been a fantastic season, winning the league and doing it unbeaten is a testament to the hard work of all the players and coaching staff and we are certainly ready for what the 2018-19 season has in store for us," added Charlie Bickell, who is assisted by Harry Martin with Louise Johnson as captain and Danielle Johnson as leading goalscorer.
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