The Tigresses really showed their claws in 2018.

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.

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Rachael Ackroyd bagged a brace at Barnsley.

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.

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Hope Knight: Unstoppable in 2018.

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.

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Legend: Rebecca Beech enjoyed a testimonial match with German opposition, Donop.

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.

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Liberty Bott: Outstanding before a serious knee injury.

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.

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Encouraging any future Tigresses.

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.

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Brilliant prize for any young Tigress fan.

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.

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Tigress young guns emphasise the depth in quality.

Hull City Ladies continue to make 2018 an historic year for the club. With one League Cup game versus Bolton Wanderers to come before the New Year the Tigresses sit in their highest ever league position in 8th spot of the Northern Premier Division with the real prospect of moving even higher when the League campaign restarts in mid January.

Also with an emphatic 0-5 away win at Long Eaton United last weekend Rachel Gay’s side progressed through to the 3rd round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup for the first time in their history. The reward for the victory was a home draw versus AFC Wimbledon Ladies of South East Division 1 on the 6th of January 2019. If the girls can overcome their London opponents and go through to the 4th round they could face the prospect of drawing one of the Women’s ‘Big Guns’ when the likes of Arsenal Ladies, Manchester City, Manchester United and the two Merseyside giants entering the fray.

 

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Amy Blinkhorn (main), Hannah Smith (top), Meg Calvert (middle) & Molly Lunn (bottom).

 

The last few weeks have proved to be a tough time for the Tigress squad which was at times stretched to the limit due to injuries & illness but out of adversity came the realisation that manager Gay, and head coach Danny Johnson have real depth of quality within their squad and all are ready to make the step up to senior level and perform exceptionally well.

The likes of Amy Blinkhorn, Hannah Smith, Meg Calvert and Molly Lunn started the season playing reserve team football but all have stepped up a level and performed brilliantly despite their tender years and inexperience.

Blinkhorn has been a revelation in the midfield showing excellent technique and intelligence. Signed as a striker with an exceptional scoring record, Gay and Johnson quickly saw in Amy a classy play-maker, who can put the ball on a sixpence. Her dead-ball delivery is tremendous and directly accounted for a number of City goals this season. ‘Blinks’ showed against Sheffield that she still has an eye for goal when she scored the goal of the season so far with a sublime volley from outside the box.

Teenage starlets Hannah Smith and Molly Lunn have made their debuts in the Tigress defence recently and have shown real glimpses of quality and boundless enthusiasm. The recent game at Stoke was a real baptism of fire for the youngsters against a strong, established side but they didn’t disappoint anyone watching with their performances. The 4-1 scoreline was somewhat lop sided as the girls held their lofty opponents goal-less in the 2nd half which for a squad missing FOURTEEN players on the day including captain Jo Symington and vice captain Tash Cooke was a pleasing performance.

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Harley Skinner (left) Tillie Oxley (right)

Tigress teenagers who have quickly become regulars in the 1st team squad are winger Harley Skinner, midfielder/right back Tillie Oxley and central midfielder Meg Calvert and all three have added quality. Skinner in particular has become a near automatic choice in the eleven and is tipped by us at Fanatichull for a great future if she continues her rapid rise at senior level. Oxley has performed magnificently in the unaccustomed right back role and in the cup game was given 25 minutes in centre midfield and showed some exquisite touches and great footballing intelligence. Calvert is mature beyond her years and hasn’t been overawed or outshone by any of her far more experienced opposition in the grind of midfield.

Another young gun who has begun to flourish recently is Misty Russell (below), who has tremendous pace and technical ability.

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Misty Russell has been outstanding in the last few weeks.

Misty has really come to the fore in recent weeks and was simply unplayable at Long Eaton, where she troubled the home side every time she got on the ball. Her player of the match performance was capped with the opening goal.

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Rachael Ackroyd (left) & Hope Knight (right) back amongst the goals.

The more established stars of the team are playing their part in the great start to the season. After an unusually slow start to the season Rach Ackroyd is now back amongst the goals, scoring a cracker at Stoke before adding 2 more at Long Eaton. ‘Ackers’ work rate and passion is unquestionable but like happens to all good strikers at times she was in something of a barren run that her all round displays didn’t deserve and now that it’s broken more goals will flow.

Last season’s top scorer, Hope Knight was the regular left winger but the form of Skinner and injuries to others has seen Hope playing in a number of different positions, but despite this she again leads the chart with 8 goals to her name, scoring 2 at Long Eaton and was denied a superb hat-trick by the cross bar. It is the measure of her quality that Hope can play great football in whatever position Gay and Johnson ask her to play.

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Emma Westmorland is the midfield glue for the Tigresses.

Another of the experienced players to step up in recent weeks is defensive midfielder Emma Westmorland. ‘Westy’ has been immense in the centre of the park in the last few weeks, doing a ton of graft every game. She ‘glues’ the side together and runs her blood to water every game and allows the likes of Blinkhorn, Russell, Skinner and Knight to flourish.

The blend of the youth outlined above, mixed with the plethora of more experienced and established stars in the squad is already paying dividends for the club. The healthy competition for places is driving every member of the squad to greater heights, every one of the squad know they cannot rest on their laurels otherwise they will be spending time on the sidelines not knowing if or when they will get back in the team.

Here at FanaticHull we would urge EVERY sports fan in the area to get down to the Uni of Hull Sports Complex, Inglemire Lane on Sunday 6th January (1pm) to cheer on the girls in the 3rd round of the FA Cup, it’s history in the making, so come down and be part of history.

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Kevin Greene Photography & Dave/Helen Hare.

 

 

 

 

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Clinical Tigresses hammer Long Eaton to Progress in FA Cup

Hull City Ladies made it safely through to the Third round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup this afternoon with a clinical 5-0 away win at Long Eaton United. After losing at Stoke last week the Tigresses had some players back today and they showed their class to overcome a spirited performance from their lower league opponents.

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The Tigresses were purring right from the start of this game and they could have opened the scoring after just two minutes. It was a great team move started by Harley Skinner who played a ball inside to Rachael Ackroyd who then played a neat through ball to Hope Knight. She hit a cross from the by line that was agonisingly too strong for Misty Russell who just missed it at the back post. That move gave an early indication of the impressive attacking performance the Tigresses would put in today.

Despite missing the early chance, Misty Russell was looking very lively early on. She exploited a poorly distributed goal kick in the twelfth minute but the goalkeeper did well to deny her with a save. Russell, playing wide on the right today, wouldn’t have to wait long to open the scoring. Amy Blinkhorn put in a cross from a free kick on the left and Hope Knight managed to knock the ball down into the path of Russell who made no mistake from 6 yards out in the centre of the box. She placed her shot into the top corner to give the Tigresses an early 1-0 lead.

Tigresses celebrate the opening goal

Despite dominating the early exchanges of the game and deservedly taking the lead the Tigresses almost gifted Long Eaton a way back into the game. They tried to play out from the back and a misplaced pass was pounced on by the Long Eaton Striker. Amy Halloran was caught in no man’s land and could only watch as the ball cannoned off the post and away to safety. That was a big let off for the Tigresses.

The next 15 minutes were quite scrappy with both sides creating a couple of half chances. Hope Knight saw a shot from range easily saved while at the other end the home side created a similar opening but could only shoot wide. The Tigresses always looked the more likely to score and they duly doubled their lead in the 34th minute. After opening the scoring earlier in the half Misty Russell turned provider this time. A great ball in midfield released her down the right, she picked out Rachael Ackroyd in the box with a precise cross that Ackroyd headed past the keeper and into the corner to make it 2-0.

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Misty Russell was a threat throughout

Russell was having a brilliant first half and she was at the centre of another move that could have led to another goal in the 40th minute. Hope Knight played a one two with her that resulted in Knight finding space in the box but she could only hit her shot wide. The Tigresses really were playing well now and put the icing on the first half cake just before the break. Hope Knight unleashed a shot from range that was brilliantly saved by the Long Eaton goalkeeper. She scrambled to try and gather the rebound but Rachael Ackroyd showed her poachers instinct to fire the ball home just before the keeper could get there. That made it 3-0 and gave Ackroyd her third goal in the last two games which will be a timely confidence boost for her.

HT Long Eaton United 0-3 Hull City Ladies

The Tigresses had the first chance of the second half and Ackroyd almost had her hat trick. She got on the end of a cross and prodded the ball towards goal but she was denied by a smart save from the keeper. The Result never really looked in doubt after the first half but the hosts didn’t give up and had a couple of chances to get on the scoresheet. In the 51st minute Ellice Jackman did brilliantly to bust a gut and time a last ditch tackle perfectly to deny the Long Eaton striker who was baring down on goal. From the resulting corner the wind caught the cross and a it resulted in Amy Halloran having to clear the ball off the line as a number of players scrambled for it.

20181202_144219.jpgThe Tigresses extended their lead and put the result beyond all doubt in the 67th minute. This was another quality goal with left winger Harley Skinner this time providing the assist. The Tigresses broke with pace and Skinner showed good pace to beat her marker before finding Hope Knight unmarked at the back post with an early cross. Knight hit a shot first time that went across the keeper and into the net to make it 0-4. That was a fine team goal and epitomised the Tigresses attacking prowess today.

That wasn’t the end of the scoring for City Ladies who were on fire at times today. Knight bagged herself a brace with a fine solo goal. She picked up the ball in midfield and powered her way into the box before beating the goalkeeper at her near post with a low shot, making it 5-0 to the Tigresses.

 

It could have got even better for Ackroyd or Knight with a couple of minutes to go. Both were denied a hat trick in the space of five seconds. Firstly Knight hit a long rage piledriver that rattled the crossbar, the rebound fell to Ackroyd who despite being forced wide fired a shot on target but she was denied by another superb save from the goalkeeper. It was a shame both players were denied a hat trick but the result was never in doubt and the Tigresses saw out the final few minutes comfortably.

FT Long Eaton United 0-5 Hull City Ladies

The Tigresses were at their clinical best throughout much of today’s game. They attacked with pace and power and could have scored even more goals if not for some excellent goalkeeping. They were facing lower league opposition but they went about the task in the right way and dominated their hosts.

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Tigresses leave the field after a brilliant days work

It was a fine team performance today and the continuing goal scoring form of Rachael Ackroyd was very pleasing to see but our Player of the Match today was Misty Russell. In the first half she was sensational. She scored the opening goal and set up the second while also being at the centre of several other attacking moves. She gave the defence a torrid time throughout and was involved in everything today. Well played Misty!

The Tigresses will find out tomorrow who they will face in the third round with the ties due to be played on Sunday 6th January. Next week they turn their attention to another cup game this time the FAWNL Cup last 16 clash with Bolton Wanderers who are a very tough side as they showed in both games against the Tigresses last season.

We spoke to a delighted Hull City Ladies Manager Rachel Gay after the game and you can watch the video below,

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Decimated Tigresses can take pride from Stoke defeat

A decimated Hull City Ladies side fell to a 4-1 defeat away at Stoke City Ladies on a chilly winter’s afternoon in the Potteries. Despite the defeat the young Tigresses learnt a lot today that will stand them in good stead for the future. 

20181125_140014The Tigresses were without their Captain and Vice-Captain, Jo Symington and Natasha Cooke, through injury and illness respectively while Ellice Jackman also remains sidelined with another bout of illness. That meant the Tigresses were missing a huge chunk of experience at the back and a major reshuffle was needed. Amy Kay moved to centre back alongside 16 year old Molly Lunn with Tillie Oxley continuing at right back and Hope Knight stepping back to left back. With that in mind it was always going to be tough to get any sort of result today.

Inevitably the home side started the game the brighter and looked to take the Tigresses on early. Amy Halloran had to be on hand as early as the second minute to deny Stoke the opening goal. Despite the early danger City Ladies didn’t panic and looked to work their way into the game. Their first chance came in the twelfth minute. Excellent interplay between Hope Knight and Harley Skinner resulted in Knight firing a shot narrowly wide from the left hand side of the box.

Just two minutes later the Tigresses took a surprise lead. A free kick midway into the Stoke half was drilled into the box by Amy Blinkhorn. It was only half cleared and the ball fell to Rachael Ackroyd at the edge of the box. She swivelled and hit a powerful low shot into the bottom corner to register her first goal from open play this season. It was an excellent finish to give the Tigresses a 1-0 lead.

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Tigresses celebrate Ackroyd’s goal

Sadly the lead only last ten minutes as Stoke were awarded a penalty in the 24th minute. Stoke looked to exploit the inexperienced Tigresses defence by playing balls in behind and that led to Amy Halloran having to bring down Ashleigh Hayes who was looking to take the ball round her to score. Luckily Hayes’ last touch before she was brought down took the ball away from goal slightly so Halloran wasn’t shown a red card. She couldn’t prevent the equaliser though as Tash Tezgel hammered the ball home from the spot to make it 1-1.

In the blink of an eye the home side were in front. Youngster Molly Lunn misjudged the power required for a backpass and the short pass was pounced on by Amy Hughes who took the ball round Halloran and passed it into an empty net to give the home side a 2-1 lead after 26 minutes. The home side were on a roll now and they blitzed the Tigresses with a third goal in just six minutes. They got the ball in behind the City Ladies defence once again and a low cross from the left was tapped home by Ashleigh Hayes to make it 3-1.

As the first half continued the home side looked likely to score every time they went forward. In the 34th minute Tezgel hit a point blank header wide while the Tigresses did have a half chance at the other end when Amy Kay hit a shot straight at the goalkeeper.  If the result wasn’t already certain it was made so in the 40th minute thanks to an absolute screamer from Kelsey Richardson. She let fly with a shot from 25 yards that arrowed into the top corner giving Halloran no chance. The home side now led 4-1 which was harsh on the Tigresses who had a wobble in the middle of the half that Stoke exploited expertly.

HT Stoke City Ladies 4-1 Hull City Ladies

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Tigresses leave the pitch after a tough first half

It’s fair to say the second half performance from the Tigresses was excellent. They were hit with a ten minute blitz in the first half that killed the game but they kept their heads up and played with pride in the second half. In the 48th minute Misty Russell had a shot from distance saved while at the other end Amy Halloran made a point blank save to keep the score at four.

For the next twenty minutes the Tigresses bossed the game. They played with energy and commitment and made life very difficult for the home side. They had a few half chances but unfortunately they couldn’t find the goal they deserved. Meg Calvert and Jodie Steadman came on for more valuable experience and they didn’t look out of place in the last twenty minutes.

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Strong challenge on Harley Skinner

The defence was much more organised in the second half but Stoke are a quality side and they did manage to create some chances. Luckily Amy Halloran was always on hand to deny them. A piledriver from range was tipped around the post while she did well to hold onto a powerful shot from 10 yards late in the game. The Tigresses kept pushing to try and find another goal but it wasn’t to be however to keep a second half clean sheet was some achievement.

FT Stoke City Ladies 4-1 Hull City Ladies   

On paper this looks like a disappointing result for the Tigresses but we came away from the game proud of the effort and the performance of the very young team. Several teenagers graced the side again and the big reshuffle at the back didn’t help matters. Stoke exploited that well in the first half but the Tigresses matched them in the second half and the young players should take a lot of pride in that. Hopefully some of the FOURTEEN players currently missing from Rachel Gay’s squad return for the big FA Cup away game at Long Eaton next week.

Our player of the match award today goes to Amy Halloran. She made several brilliant saves today and did well to come out of her box quickly on many occasions to clear her lines. She gave away the penalty but there was nothing she could really have done differently and she kept the score respectable in the first half. A couple of her point blank saved were as good as we have seen from any keeper this season. Well played Amy!

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Player of the match: Amy Halloran

We spoke to a very upbeat Tigresses manager Rachel Gay after the game and you can watch the video below,

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Clinical Boro too good for the Tigresses

Hull City Ladies slipped to a 3-1 home defeat today against Mid-table rivals Middlesbrough Women. After a cagey first half the visitors bossed the second period and ran out easy winners in the end.

20181118_140241The visitors sat just below the Tigresses in the table going into the game but even early on it appeared they were better than the table suggested. They had the first chance of the game after just two minutes when their forward beat two City Ladies defenders before shooting just wide of Amy Halloran’s goal. Just a few minutes later the Tigresses almost scored an own goal through Natasha Cooke who was attempting to clear a fizzing Middlesbrough cross.

The Tigresses took a while to get into the game but their first chance came in the 8th minute. Hope Knight sent in a brilliant cross from the left and Rachael Ackroyd met it with a header that went narrowly wide. Amy Blinkhorn attempted to get things moving in midfield and she had a couple of opportunities in the first half. She hit a free kick from 20 yards just over the bar after Knight was fouled and then a few minutes later she came even closer after she was set up by Harley Skinner, again though Blinkhorn’s shot went inches over the bar.

 

 

 

 

 

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Unlucky not to score: Amy Blinkhorn

The rest of the first half was relatively quiet but the visitors did have a chance to take the lead just before half time. Amy Kay made a last ditch block to deflect a shot wide and from the corner the Middlesbrough striker could only fire high and wide after being found unmarked at the back post. The Tigresses got away with one there and breathed a sigh of relief going into the break at 0-0.

HT Hull City Ladies 0-0 Middlesbrough Women

The opening 15 minutes of the second half were entertaining to watch despite not producing any goals as both teams looked to open the scoring. Amy Halloran made an easy save from a free kick while at the other end Hope Knight hit a shot just wide from 12 yards before crossing for Ackroyd a few minutes later and despite getting a touch to the ball it was just behind the striker who couldn’t get her shot on target.

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Had a few chances: Rachael Ackroyd

A goal had been coming in the game and Middlesbrough were the team to get it in the 63rd minute. Good work by the Boro substitute who had just come on allowed her to cut across two City Ladies defenders and despite looking to shoot into the left hand side of the goal, Halloran was beaten as the shot was fired in at the near post. It was a brilliant finish leaving the Tigresses keeper helpless.

This gave Boro the impetus they needed and they dominated the next period of the game. Amy Halloran had to make a last gasp save in the 70th minute after great work by the visitors to cut through the Tigresses defence. Just three minutes later the visitors doubled their lead. This time a shot from the right hand side of the box flew into the opposite bottom corner and again there was nothing Halloran could have done about it.

The Tigresses kept going as they always do and looked to get back into the game. They were denied a huge chance to get a goal back in the 86th minute. A cross from Emily Smith was clearly handled by a Boro defender, everyone in the ground could see that except the officials. To rub salt into that wound from the resulting corner Boro broke and sealed the win on the counter attack. As Amy Halloran advanced to try and put pressure on the striker the Boro player placed a shot around the keeper and into the empty net. Once again it was a fine finish that epitomised the quality of the Boro forwards today.

The Tigresses denied Middlesbrough a clean sheet with the last kick of the game. A free kick mid way into the Boro half was floated into the box by Blinkhorn. Jo Symington reacted quickly to beat the offside trap, knock the ball past the keeper and tap the ball into the empty net give the Tigresses some consolation at 1-3.

FT Hull City Ladies 1-3 Middlesbrough Women

Today was one of those days when you have to say fair play to your opponents. After an even first half they dominated the second and were good value for their win. They showed real quality in forward areas and the Tigresses couldn’t match that today. They won’t get too down though as they created chances of their own it was just one of those days today.

20181118_160242.jpgToday’s defeat marks the halfway mark of the league season and despite today’s result it’s still been a remarkable start to the Tigresses first season at this level. Next week they travel to Stoke looking to avenge their opening day defeat to the team from the Potteries.

We spoke to manager Rachel Gay after the game and you can watch the video below.

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Purring Tigresses see off Sheffield with ease

Hull City Ladies made it back to back wins and moved up to seventh place in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division table with an impressive 4-2 win over Sheffield FC Ladies. The Tigresses really hit their straps today and scored some excellent goals.

The first sight of goal came through Hope Knight. She picked up the ball in midfield and as she got to the edge of the box she hit a shot but it was straight down the throat of the Sheffield keeper.

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First chance: Hope Knight

The Tigresses wouldn’t have to wait long to take the lead though. City Ladies won a corner and Amy Blinkhorn came to take it. She has already shown her quality from dead ball situations this season and she found a familiar target in the box once again. Blinkhorn’s cross was headed home by Ellice Jackman in almost a carbon copy of her goal at Doncaster a few weeks ago. The Tigresses led 1-0 and deservedly so on the balance of the opening 15 minutes.

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Lethal on corners: Amy Blinkhorn

Sheffield have been an inconsistent side this season but they do have some quality players and they tried to get back into the game after going a goal down. In the 32nd minute they almost equalised but Amy Halloran was on hand to make a fine save in a one on one situation to deny the visitors an equaliser. Jo Symington eventually got the ball clear and the Tigresses breathed a sigh of relief. That scare seemed to motivate the Tigresses and they doubled their lead in the 34th minute. Harley Skinner continues to show she has a bright future and she scored a brilliant individual goal to make it 2-0. She hit a powerful first time drive from the edge of the box that found the top corner to make the lead more comfortable for City Ladies.

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Impressed again: Harley Skinner

To their credit the visitors ended the half strongly and they were almost gifted a goal in the 40th minute. A short back pass to Halloran was pounced on but a heavy touch took the ball wide and Halloran did well to get back in time to clear the ball off the line. Unfortunately this was a hint of things to come as the visitors got back into the game on the stroke of half time. A cross from the right went over the head of Jackman and Lisa Giampalma was on hand to head the ball in off the post to give Sheffield a foothold in the game going into the break.

HT Hull City Ladies 2-1 Sheffield FC Ladies

It was a quieter start to the second half but that suited the Tigresses as they looked comfortable on the ball and dominated the midfield area. Hope Knight is looking extremely dangerous in the number ten role and she had the first sight of goal in the second half when she hit a shot wide from the edge of the box but it took a deflection which led to another corner. Blinkhorn combined with Jackman again with yet another pin point cross but this time the centre back was denied by a brilliant save by the Sheffield keeper who did remarkably well to tip it over the bar.

Just a few minutes later the Tigresses effectively sealed the game. Another corner and yet another brilliant cross by Blinkhorn led to a header by, you guessed it, Ellice Jackman. Again the keeper did well to get a strong hand to it down low but the ball fell to Rachael Ackroyd who fired it over the line to make sure of the 3-1 lead. We thought it was Ackroyd’s goal but apparently she didn’t agree and said the goal was Jackman’s so the centre half had a brace which was no less than she deserved.

Ackroyd was unselfish again a few minutes later when she was released down the left and as she entered the box she looked to find substitute Misty Russell with a dinked cross but it had just too much on it and went for a goal kick. Then a couple of minutes later another precise ball from Blinkhorn released Ackroyd down the right this time and this time she took the shot herself and was unlucky to see it go across the goalkeeper and inches wide of the post. The Tigresses were purring now and were creating chances at will, largely thanks to Amy Blinkhorn and Hope Knight in midfield. The two combined this time and that resulted in a shot by Knight who could only fire a shot over the bar.

The fourth goal had been coming for a while and when it finally came in the 86th minute it was worth the wait! A clearance by Sheffield was hoofed up into the air and it came down with snow on it, it went that high up. That didn’t bother Blinkhorn who waited for it to drop before hitting a sublime first time volley into the bottom corner. An unbelievable finish by the best player on the pitch by some distance today. Take a bow Amy.

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Tigresses celebrate Blinkhorn’s wonder goal.

With the score now at 4-1 the result wasn’t in doubt but Sheffield didn’t give up and after hitting the post in the 90th minute they got a consolation goal deep in stoppage time through Lisa Giampalma again. It was slightly frustrating to see the Tigresses concede again but the visitors didn’t have time to get back into the game and the Tigresses eased to victory.

FT Hull City Ladies 4-2 Sheffield FC Ladies

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Tigresses leave the pitch after a job well done today

At times today the Tigresses were as good as they have been all season. The midfield in particular stood out as they ran the show. Emma Westmorland has been consistently good for a few weeks now and she got stuck in from the first minute with some excellent tackles to turn over possession. Hope Knight looked dangerous throughout and on another day she could have added to her goal tally for the season. She linked up well with Smith and Skinner on the wings as well as Ackroyd up front and is making the number ten position her own.

Our player of the match though was Amy Blinkhorn. She was superb today. Her range of passing is first class and she got numerous attacks going. She looks dangerous every time the Tigresses get a corner and her crosses from corners provided two assists for Ellice Jackman today, not for the first time this season. We were going to give her the award anyway but the goal she scored put it beyond any doubt. It was a one in one hundred strike but she absolutely nailed it and has added her name into the hat for the goal of the season award.

The Tigresses are now up to seventh in the league table with 16 points from 11 games which is some achievement. They look safe already and are now setting their sights even higher as they look to fight for a place in the top 6. They will hope to continue picking up points next week when they welcome Middlesbrough to Hull Uni.

We spoke to a delighted manager Rachel Gay after the game and you can watch the video below.

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Consolidation aim achieved already by the Tigresses.

When Hull City Ladies started life in the 3rd tier of Women’s football this season all the talk was about consolidation in the Northern Premier Division, and with still over half the league campaign to go it’s looking like that aim has already been achieved by the Tigresses.

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Rachel Gay (l), Head Analyst, Lee Wright (c) Danny Johnson (r) talk tactics.

If you’d have asked manager Rachel Gay and head coach Danny Johnson back in August if they’d have taken 11th place and safety at the end of their first ever season at this level then in private at least they would’ve said yes, but like with everything the management duo do they strive to be the best they, and their squad can be so in public the answer would probably have been an emphatic NO.

With this in mind ahead of two home games with Sheffield FC Ladies (11th November) and Middlesbrough Women (18th November) to come, the Tigresses sit in ninth place, level on points with 7th placed Guiseley Vixens on a healthy 13 points from 10 games and just three points off the top 5.

Nine of the Tigresses 13 points have come away from home so with a run of fixtures at Hull Uni against sides around them in the league, manager Gay recently told FanaticHull that the girls would be looking to turn their home patch into a bit more of a fortress and add to their points tally.

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Amy Blinkhorn is becoming a real influence in the Tigress midfield.

Frustratingly at this time of the year the season starts to become a bit stop/start and as a consequence the Tigresses have had only two away league fixtures in the last month. The performances at lowly Guiseley and Bradford City Ladies couldn’t have been any further apart in terms of quality though and this inconsistency in collective and individual performances is something the entire coaching team and squad are working on tirelessly.

Guiseley was a game that Gay openly admitted to FanaticHull that they had targeted as a win, but it didn’t transpire on the pitch. On reflection it was probably the worst Hull City Ladies performance for the last 2-3 years. Despite taking a very early lead the girls just weren’t at the races. Guiseley dominated every area of the pitch, individual battles were lost by every Tigress player, with the exception of recent recruit Amy Blinkhorn (pictured above) who is quickly becoming an influential member of the midfield. The Vixens wanted the win more and duly got it with a comfortable 3-1 win on the day.

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Hope Knight find her goal scoring touch again.

Fast forward a week and the real Tigresses stood up. Travelling to Eccleshill FC to take on struggling Bradford City Women, the girls knew they couldn’t afford to perform as badly again this time against the basement dwellers. The body language and vibe, even in the warm up of the girls was much more upbeat and energetic and it showed from kick off. The Tigresses won the all important individual battles and unlike at Guiseley played like they were a team and not a bunch of strangers. The 1-3 scoreline didn’t reflect the dominance Gay’s side demonstrated for the 90 minutes.

Not for the first time this season City came up against a superb opposition keeper who kept the girls at bay for long periods and it could’ve been a much bigger scoreline but for Aimee Routledge in the Bantams goal and some wayward finishing.

Speaking to Hope Knight (above) after the game, she was frustrated with only converting 1 of her chances and felt she should have had a hat trick but acknowledged it’s a good thing she is getting into the positions for the chances to fall. Probably her own harshest critic Knight, will not be happy at not scoring more but she is still top scorer this season so far with 6 to her name despite not playing in her favoured left wing position due to the outstanding start Harley Skinner has had to her Tigress career in that role. Knight’s quality though is she is a top performer in any position and she was our POTM in the number 10 role at Bradford.

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Amy Kay has been outstanding in recent weeks.

October’s player of the month award went to Amy Kay (above) who has been simply outstanding since returning to the side recently after a preseason injury curtailed her involvement early on in the season. Whether it’s been at centre back or a defensive midfield role, Kay hasn’t really put a foot wrong and it was great to see her score her first goal of the season at Bradford where she met a peach of a corner from Blinkhorn to power in an unstoppable header.

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Meg Render (right) announced her retirement from the game this week.

It came as a complete shock to most when it became public knowledge after last week’s Bradford game that the extremely popular and talented right-back, Meg Render announced her retirement from the game at just 25 years old! Meg has decided to step back from the game to spend more time with her partner and young son and with another baby due early next year she felt it was time to call it a day…….for now.

Speaking to Meg during the week, she reiterated how much she loved her 5 years at Hull City and being part of a squad that has achieved two promotions holds a special place in her heart. Also Meg confirmed to me that she would never play for another club if she ever reverses her decision and would only play for the Tigresses if Rachel and Danny would have her back. She also said she will always be a supporter of the club and will still be down at Hull Uni to cheer on the girls.

It’s safe to say ‘Meggers’ leaves with all the love and best wishes from everyone connected with Hull City Ladies.

You can catch the Tigresses in action at home against Sheffield tomorrow (11th November) and Middlesbrough (18th November), so get yourselves down to Hull Uni Sports complex on Inglemire Lane and roar the girls on.

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