Sunday 15th December 2002
Republica Internationale Ladies 0 Leeds United Ladies 26
Leeds had an easy passage into the semi final of the county cup after a 26-0 thrashing of Yorkshire & Humberside Division 1 West team Republica Internationale. Seven goals from Irish International Michelle Walsh, Five goals a piece from Lisa Woodhead and Irish International Caroline Thorpe, as well as four from Denise Thomas and one each from Shelly Cox, Sue Smith, Karen Burke, Louise Monkhouse and Claire Parker sealed the convincing win.
The game was played on Republica Internationale's home pitch on Roundhay Park which was far different to the facilities Leeds normally play on, but credit to the Leeds players who didn't complain and just got on with it.
Within the first minute it showed just which team played at National Level and which team played at Regional level as the passing showed through, Leeds had hit the crossbar and seen a shot go wide in the first minute. The First goal was scored within the first two minutes when a cross from England International Sue Smith was controlled by Michelle Walsh and set up, for Denise Thomas to run in and score past keeper Jen Batty.
Leeds continued the pressure and saw Caroline Thorpe and Gayle Formston hit the crossbar twice within the next two minutes and Lisa Woodhead hit a shot inches wide. Lisa playing in a more forward position than usual scored Leeds second with a wonderful first time volley from a cross from Denise Thomas. Woodhead also got Leeds third goal of the game from a cross from England midfielder Karen Burke to make it 3-0 after 10 minutes.
Michelle Walsh turned well to score Leeds fourth. A pinpoint cross from Burke was well brought down by Smith who played in Thomas for her second and Leeds fifth goal. Smith scored her only goal of the game after a run down the left beating three defenders for her shot to go in off the post.
Leeds were now 6-0 up with 25 minutes played and had hit the crossbar five times, the post three times and saw four shots go very narrowly wide. Thorpe dribbled past three defenders to hit a low shot past keeper Batty for Leeds seventh.
Leeds keeper Hall touched the ball for the first time on 35 minutes, from a back pass from the Leeds defence to try to keep her concentration on a very cold wet day.
Walsh ran in to score her second of the game with a low shot into the corner for number eight.Republica keeper Jen Batty was doing well in goal saving goalbound shots from Smith,Walsh,Thomas,Burke and Formston as well as a rare header from Woodhead.
The impressive Thomas completed her hatrick for the nineth Leeds goal, then Thorpe got her second after a dribbling past four players and rounding the keeper for the tenth goal of the day.
Manager Hodgson was delighted with his player's first half performance and discipline, it is not often you go in at half time 10-0 up.
The second half started the same way the first ended with more goals when Woodhead scored a delightful goal which gave keeper Batty no chance with a bullet shot into the top corner to complete her hat-trick of the day after good build up play from Burke and Thomas.
Leeds played some lovely two touch football and did well to keep their shape through most of the game.Republica chased and tried all game but their inexperience showed.
Thorpe and Walsh completed their hat-tricks for Leeds twelfth and thirteenth and Walsh's fourth goal was set up by Kelly Bevan's long pass to Thorpe to turn and play Walsh in to score a thunderous drive from the edge of the box to make it 14-0.
Leeds had an 8 minute spell where a goal every 2 minutes was scored.
One of the best goals of the day was Leeds fifteenth, when new signing Shelly Cox made a lovely run down the left played a one two with Smith, passed back for Smith to beat her defender and put in an inch perfect cross for woodhead to volley home first time into the roof of the net, a very well worked goal. Cox was was goal scorer instead of provider for the sixteenth after good passing from Formston, Smith and Thomas saw her score from inside the box.
Thorpe was on target again after another mazy run for her fourth of the day and new strike sensation Woodhead scored Leeds eighteenth from 4 yards after a Thomas mis-kick caused much amusement on the side lines.
England midfielder Burke scored her only goal of the game when Cath Davies crossed for Burke to run onto and score from 10 yards after seeing the impressive Republica keeper deny her on numerous occasions throughout the game.
Midfielder dynamo Denise Thomas completed her scoring for the day after a Cox cross was controlled impeccably by Walsh to set up her team mate Thomas to drive a low shot into the net for the twentieth goal of the day.
Hodgson made three changes resting Thomas,Burke and Formston and bringing on Parker, Slater and Monkhouse. It was good to see Louise Monkhouse back making her first appearance in the first team all season after a year out with a nasty cruciate knee injury.
The Republica striker chased down Republica made it into the Leeds box for the only time after a long ball over the Leeds defence but it was soon cleared into touch by Leeds keeper Hall.
Leeds scoring sensation Walsh scored her fifth,sixth and seventh goal, the best a header from a Davies cross. Claire Parker scored her only goal and Leeds twenty-third after seeing goalbound shots twice stick in the now thick mud on the goal line. The game was finished with Thorpe and Monkhouse scoring in the dying minutes.
Player of the match Republica keeper Jen Batty was handed Hall's jersey for a souvenir and for her very impressive display, without her in goals the score could have been double.
Credit has to go to the Republica team who only formed their 11 a side team this year, for the way they never gave up and tried throughout the 90 minutes.
Leeds united Ladies team started off in the same league some 10 years ago and if Republica carry on showing the same team spirit and off the field commitment as shown on Sunday, Republica have a great future in front of them.
We all wish them well.
Leeds now have a two week break before they return to cup action, this time in the FA cup fourth round against Welsh team Merthyr Tydfil on Sunday 5th January at Garforth Town, 1pm Kick Off.