After a sluggish start to the league campaign, Stops went into Saturday’s match hoping to build some momentum in the cup competition. This was always likely to be difficult against a Leeds side who had already inflicted two defeats on Stops this season.
On the match day itself, Stops could have been forgiven for being even less enthusiastic about their chances – a squad of only 10 being available to play a match on a wet, energy sapping pitch which should favour Leeds’ larger squad of substitutes.
However, Stops responded to these challenges to produce a performance which was comfortably their best of the season so far.
In defence, Mat Day, Adrian Chandler and Andy Hancock were solid, and ably marshalled by goalie Mark Woodhead, who produced some fantastic saves to help keep Stops’ noses in front.
In midfield, Phil Hall, Pete Woodhead and Andy Withington covered an incredible amount of ground – despite Leeds having the luxury of three substitutes, the Stops midfield were able to keep running throughout the match, putting in incredible effort to stop Leeds breaking down the field, clearing the ball up the field for Stops, and even chipping in a few goals.
The attacking trio of Paul Bowden, Norman Woodside and Neil Catto caused the Leeds defence countless problems. Despite strong performances and competition all over the field, Neil was arguably man of the match, ghosting between Leeds defenders and plundering most of the Stops goals.
The final score was a 13-9 win to Stops – just reward for the effort put in by the whole team, and a result which can hopefully be the platform for a strong second half of the league season.