York City Ladies’ Helen Winterburn is delighted to be back in action and appropriately celebrated with a quality 25-yard free-kick goal during the recent thrashing of Wakefield Ladies.
The three-time County Cup winning defender was making a welcome return to the team following more than seven months on the sidelines due to an ankle injury.
“I got injured in September when I tore the ligaments in my ankle, something I’ve previously done a few years ago, and it’s taken a while to come back,” she explained. “I actually did it at training, my ankle just gave out underneath me.”
Fortunately, Helen is already heavily involved on the coaching side of the game with York City Foundation RTC, and that has certainly helped during her recent enforced absence.
“It’s difficult sometimes because you just want to be playing, but I’ve been doing a lot of coaching this season so I haven’t missed playing as much as the coaching keeps me involved in the game and very busy,” she admitted.
Usually selected as an attacking full-back, the stylish left-sided player actually found herself operating in a defensive midfield role on her return to the side: “I played in centre midfield as more of a defensive role, a position I’ve played before but not for a few years. I did enjoy it though!”
However, that didn’t stop Helen from adding her name to the scoresheet as the hosts romped to a huge 13-0 victory at Haxby Road – their biggest win for over two years, having also been amongst the goalscorers as her colleagues actually went one goal better at Wakefield in April 2016.
“My goal was a free-kick from about 25-yards out,” she reflected regarding the latest effort. “I can’t remember who won the free-kick, but as I set up I remember the keeper being to the left hand side of the goal, so I thought if I can put it in the top right corner she won’t get there – and that’s what happened.
Photo: Ian Parker
Helen Winterburn marked her return by again scoring in a huge victory against Wakefield
“I thought everyone played very well and it was a good team performance with lots of goals, which is always good for confidence and boosting team morale. We kept possession well and scored some good team goals as well as individual ones.”
As for the remainder of the campaign, Helen simply hopes to fit in as many games as possible despite unfortunately receiving a knock as City also won the return meeting with Wakefield 3-0 just a few days later.
“Hopefully playing when I can,” she added. “But I picked up a knock on Wednesday in the return fixture at Wakefield, so I wasn’t playing at the weekend, unfortunately.”
The Minsterbelles now have three league games left this season, with Wallsend BC as their only visitors and also a couple of trips to Farsley Celtic and current leaders Norton & Stockton Ancients still to follow.
Photos by kind permission of Ian Parker