What a year 2018 has been for Hull City Ladies F.C.!!
With the action on the field over for the year, we take a look back on a history making 2018 and a look forward to what is coming for the Tigresses in 2019.
Rachel Gay’s side started the year sitting top of the Northern Division 1 unbeaten in the league and on course to achieve what they had set out to do and that was win the title and gain promotion into the uncharted territory of the Northern Premier Division and Tier 3 of Women’s football, and they started 2018 with a BANG, travelling to Barnsley and thumping the Tykes 0-5.
The emphatic start to 2018 was followed by a hard fought draw away to Liverpool Marshall Feds who where along with Brighouse Town the Tigresses main title threats, but has the season progressed the Rachel Gay/ Danny Johnson management team led the side on an superb run of results that would eventually lead to the title.
The Tigresses knew they couldn’t afford to slip up at any point and especially at home, so they embarked on a run of six league and cup games at home during February and March.
Chorley Ladies were dispatched with ease 4-0 in the Plate competition quarter final, before Bolton Wanderers Ladies (2-0) and Newcastle United Women (4-1) coming to Hull Uni and leaving empty handed has the Tigresses strengthened their grip on the League top spot.
The Plate run ended at the semi final stage when West Ham United Ladies visited Hull and left with a place in the final after a great second half performance from the Londoners who ended the final dreams of City Ladies as they headed home with a 0-3 victory. The Hammers showed their class on that day and after a summer league reshuffle are now plying their trade in WSL. This game highlighted what level of competition Gay’s side would be facing week in, week out after promotion and on reflection the Tigresses showed they would be competing come August.
With the ‘distraction’ of cup commitments out of the way it was all eyes on the League run in, and what better way to get back on the horse then a SEVEN nil home win. Morecambe Ladies were the unfortunate ‘lambs to the slaughter’ as Katie Thompson and Hope Knight struck hat tricks and the evergreen Rebecca Beech adding the other, blew the Lancastrians away. The run of home games ended with a routine 4-1 win over Chorley Ladies, before a run of 4 away games that could decide the destiny of the title has Brighouse Ladies maintained the pressure at the top.
April Fools Day nearly left the Tigresses ‘red-faced’ has they travelled to Liverpool to face lowly Mossley Hill Athletic and only a late goal from Ackers saved the blushes to earn a 1-1 draw. Undeterred by a lack lustre performance they girls then ground out 0-1 away wins at Bolton Wanderers thanks to a Knight wonder goal and a nerve shredding injury time penalty from substitute Thompson secured the win at Chester-le-Street.
The Tigresses then tasted league defeat for the first time in the season when they went down 2-1 away at Crewe with the hosts securing the win from the spot in the 87th minute.
If cracks were beginning to appear in the Tigress title charge they were emphatically dispelled when main rivals Brighouse arrived at Hull Uni in late April with the title seemingly on the line. To their immense credit Gay and Johnson masterminded the most professional and thorough performance of the season on the biggest day of the season. The Tigresses dominated the game from the kick off and came out worthy winners and ‘Champions elect’ with a brilliant 2-0 victory.
So needing only 2 points from their final 3 games, City were almost there but failed to win the title the following week when they travelled to Newcastle and were soundly beaten 1-0 in their worst performance of the season, but every cloud has a silver lining has the girls returned home the following week and smashed Mossley Hill 4-0 to win the title in front of their own adoring fans. The final league game away at Morecambe was a celebration of goals as the Tigresses went crazy winning 0-9, thanks to yet another Knight hat-trick, a brace from Liberty Bott and FOUR goals from City Ladies legend and testimonial recipient Beechy.
Life in the Northern Premier Division was always going to be a big step up for Gay’s side but as we enter 2019 the Tigresses are comfortably sat in mid-table with 16 points, from 5 wins and a draw from the 13 games played thus far. In their debut season alongside some illustrious clubs of the Women’s game the girls have been in the most part magnificent and despite it been something of an injury disturbed season the team haven’t been overawed or outclassed by any team in this league.
A Liberty Bott inspired performance with Derby County in the 2nd game of the season saw the Tigresses gain their first ever point at this level with a 2-2 draw, with the girls getting their first ever win in the NPD with an emphatic 5-2 over Fylde Ladies, which was followed the next weekend with a first ever away win when Hope Knight capped off a tremendous team performance with the only goal of the game with Nottingham Forest.
Already this season we have seen a real emergence of young talent within the Tigress squad. Youngsters like Harley Skinner, Tillie Oxley, Amy Blinkhorn, Meg Calvert and others have joined the squad this year and played significant roles in the first team, enhancing an already talented squad.
Skinner and Blinkhorn in particular have shown exceptional talent and are mainstays of the first team and are destined for great futures in the game.
With the next generation of young Tigresses in mind, the club are holding a free event in early January for all girls aged 5-16 to join the first team squad for a day of coaching and activities.
The club are also offering a superb Christmas prize for any youngster (boy or girl) who would love to receive a visit and plenty of club ‘goodies’. Just head over to twitter @HullCityLFC and in 1 tweet nominate a child who you think deserves this fantastic prize.
Sunday January 6th 2019 promises to be one of the biggest days in Hull City Ladies history when they host AFC Wimbledon Ladies in the 3rd round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup. The Tigresses have never reached this round in their history and have a great chance to progress even further and if so have the chance to draw an elite side in the 4th round when the WSL and Championship sides enter the competition.
Watch out for ticket offers from the club over the next couple of weeks, so that we can fill Hull Uni to cheer on the Tigresses to another piece of history. Let’s get the biggest ever crowd for Hull City Ladies down on the 6th of January!!!
2019 is going to be another exciting year supporting Hull City L.F.C and the club will be announcing initiatives and offers so more fans can enjoy watching the girls both home and away, so come and be part of the Tigress pack in the New Year.