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.
The 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.
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.
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.
Today’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.