Ella-Mai Bale

Posh Women U23s advance into second round of league plate.

Peterborough United Women U23s progressed into the second round of the FA Women’s National League Reserve League Plate having beaten a strong Leeds United Women's Reserves side 5-4 at Leeds Beckett University on Sunday afternoon, courtesy of a hat-trick from Ella-Mai Bale and a brace from Katie Steward.

It was the hosts who carved the first chance of the game out as Nelson advanced into the box on the left, but Lauren King recovered well to block her effort on goal. In the third minute, Codie Steward intercepted a poor pass out the back from Mortimer, but dragged her effort wide of the post. 

Posh broke the deadlock on eight minutes as Bale picked up a stray ball in the middle of the Leeds’ half, she advanced forward and guided the ball into the bottom left corner. Maddison Moore looked to double the lead as she headed Ellie Curson’s corner towards goal, but it flashed wide of the post. Posh continued to threaten as K. Steward beat her defender before sending a looping ball towards Bale and her effort was parried away by Mortimer.

Leeds grew into the game as Nelson had an effort at goal saved by Brooke Robinson before they found the equaliser on 37 minutes as Posh failed to clear a corner and a cross into the box was volleyed home by Palmer at the far-post. Posh immediately regained their advantage as C.Steward played the ball over the top for Bale and she fired into the top corner. 

Two minutes later, Posh doubled their lead as K.Steward curled an effort low into the bottom corner from just inside the box. Leeds finished the first half well as Robinson was forced into multiple saves from close-range.

The Whites’ continued their momentum into the second half and cut the deficit as Dias beat Robinson to a forward ball and poked underneath into the empty net. On 52 minutes, Bale netted her hat-trick and Posh’ fourth of the afternoon as she slotted into the bottom corner having turned her defender. 

Sykes volleyed home a corner into the top left corner to get the hosts back into the game once again on 59 minutes. However, almost immediately from kick-off, Posh regained their two-goal cushion as Mortimer failed to deal with a through ball, allowing K.Steward to tap into the empty net for her second of the afternoon.

The game continued to stretch as both sides threatened on the attack. Robinson was forced to dive down low to keep the Leeds’ attacker from curling an effort towards the near post. The hosts scored their fourth as the game entered injury-time as Dias slotted the ball home to give Posh a nervy end to the match.

Posh Women U23s manager, Michael Allsebrook, said after the game: “The players dug deep for this win today against a strong Leeds team in an acrimonious atmosphere at times. They battled for the victory today in a game which by no means was enjoyable to the eye, but we’ve come out of it with a win and no fresh injury concerns.”

“It was a different front three today, so to score five goals today was pleasing. Obviously, Ella-Mai [Bale] continued to threaten in front of goal and got herself a hat-trick, she could have got more as well. The players that have come into the team today have done well. At the other end of the pitch, Brooke [Robinson] did well. She’s only 16, but she’s made some saves today that kept us in the game.”

“A home draw would be nice next as we’ve had to travel a lot recently. We’re taking every game as it comes, it’s an adventure away from the league. It’s one of those situations where if you keep racking up victories, who knows where you’ll end up. For us, it’s another opportunity to keep developing, keep learning and keep pushing the players on.”

Posh XI: Robinson, King, Sands, Osker, Richards-Reeves, Curson (sub 55min Podd), Moore, Mears, C.Steward, Bale, K.Steward.

Written by Lauren Shiels.

Photo Credit: Darren Wiles.