Hull City Ladies got back to winning ways today as they registered a comfortable 3-1 away win at Bradford City Women. After putting in a poor display last week the Tigresses were much better today and could have scored more goals.
Rachael Ackroyd started up front today and she had the first chance after just three minutes. She latched onto a long ball forward, beating the advancing goalkeeper to the ball, but her shot went agonisingly wide. It wouldn’t be long before the Tigresses took the lead though. In the 8th minute Emily Smith was free on the right and she hit a shot that was cleared off the line and eventually went for a corner. Amy Blinkhorn delivered an excellent cross and Amy Kay rose highest to power a header past the goalkeeper and into the top corner to give the Tigresses a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later City almost doubled their lead again from a Blinkhorn corner. This time it was Knight who met the cross with a header but it went wide of the left hand post. After dominating the opening 15 minutes the Tigresses almost conceded an equaliser. A shot from the edge of the box was heading for the bottom corner but Amy Halloran did well to get down quickly to tip the shot around the post.
After that warning City started to push on again and Hope Knight had another chance. Meg Render found her with a precise through ball but with a goalkeeper baring down on her Knight could only hit her shot wide. At the other end Bradford came close again this time Amy Halloran could only watch as a shot from a free kick bounced off her crossbar and away to safety.
The game had been end to end for a while but the Tigresses slowly took control of the match again and doubled their lead in the 37th minute. Rachael Ackroyd was released by a through ball yet again and just as she got her shot away she was brought down by goalkeeper and the referee gave a penalty. Ackroyd needed a goal and she stepped up to take the penalty. She fired the penalty past the keeper but she was asked to take it again as the keeper wasn’t on her line. Ackroyd went the same way but her powerful shot was far too good for the keeper and it found the top corner to make it 2-0.
The Tigresses should have made it 3-0 before half time. Emily Smith saw a shot parried and it fell to Knight who was unmarked in the box. Unfortunately she lent back and got too much on the shot so the ball flew over the bar.
HT Bradford City Women 0-2 Hull City Ladies
Once the second goal went in late in the first half the Tigresses looked in complete control of the game and they kept the pressure on Bradford at the start of the second half. Jo Symington was denied by a fine save in the 48th minute after she hit a powerful shot across the goalkeeper who got a strong hand to it to push it away from danger. Amy Blinkhorn was the next to work the goalkeeper when she hit a shot from 20 yards but it was straight at the keeper who made a simple save.
Hope Knight was running the defence ragged in the number ten role and her distribution to the wingers and Ackroyd up front was good she was just missing a goal. Her next chance was all her own making and it would have been a great goal. She picked up the ball in midfield and as she reached the edge of the box she turned her marker inside out and as she turned she hit a shot that went inches wide of the right hand post.
Knight finally got the goal she deserved in the 67th minute to seal the win. Ackroyd did well to turn her marker and her pass picked out Knight who came steaming onto the ball in the middle of the box and left the Bradford defenders for dead. She fired home a first time shot and it was good to see her cap a fine performance with a goal. 3-0
Bradford are rooted to the bottom and low on confidence so the result was clear even in the first half but to their credit they kept going and scored a consolation goal in the 80th minute. A shot from 30 yards took everyone by surprise as it dipped and found the back of the net despite Halloran getting a hand to it. It was a great goal to make it 3-1 and Bradford almost scored again just two minutes later. This time a shot went wide of Halloran’s post but the striker should have buried it and that would have made the last few minutes very nervy for the Tigresses.
City got their foot back on the ball and controlled the rest of the game to register a comfortable away win.
FT Bradford City Women 1-3 Hull City Ladies
After the performance at Guiseley last week this was just what the Tigresses needed. They played their usual style again today and got the passing game going to good effect. They exploited the sluggish Bradford defence with through balls that resulted in countless chances and on another day City could have scored six or seven. The Tigresses are now on 13 points and with some winnable games to come they will hope to be safe by Christmas, today’s win was a big step towards that.
As mentioned earlier it was a much better performance today from everyone but our Player of the Match award goes to Hope Knight. The Bradford defence couldn’t deal with her and she looked a constant threat on the break. She got the goal she deserved in the second half taking her total to 6 for the season. A mention also has to go to Meg Render who was back in the starting line-up today and she had a solid game at right back giving Bradford no joy down their left hand side and she was a threat going forward too.
We spoke to City Ladies Manager Rachel Gay after the game and you can watch the video below,