Hull City Ladies got back to winning ways today thanks to a hard fought 1-0 win over a tough Bolton Wanderers Ladies side. The result was massive for the Tigresses after last week’s disappointing draw at Mossley Hill and you could sense that with the celebrations at the full time whistle. It was a frustrating game at times but City kept going and eventually got their reward.
Bolton had the first sight of goal due to a misplaced pass at the back. Amy Halloran was able to make an easy save and soon after it was the Bolton keeper being tested. Liberty Bott was given her chance in the starting 11 today and was influential early on. Her neat pass found Rebecca Beech whose shot was saved by the keeper. Bott then had a sight of goal herself after smart play from Hope Knight but Bott could only drag her shot wide.
As the game reached the 20 minute mark Tigresses were on the front foot and were creating some good chances. A lovely ball from Rachael Ackroyd found Hope Knight who could only shoot straight at the keeper and Bott had another shot saved soon after.
Everyone in the ground thought City Ladies had taken the lead in the 26th minute. A brilliant through ball from Beech found her strike partner Ackroyd. She then curled a shot towards the top corner only to be denied by a worldie of a save as the goalkeeper got her fingertips to the ball as she dived to her right.
The closing 15 minutes of the half were less eventful as the home side got a foothold in the game. Jo Symington saw a shot go just wide while at the other end Halloran was on hand to deny Bolton from a free kick.
HT Bolton Wanderers Ladies 0-0 Hull City Ladies
The start of the second half was much more edgy than the first and you could sense the growing frustration of the City players. They couldn’t afford to drop points like last week and were doing everything they could to find a goal.
We began to think it was going to be one of those days in the 65th minute. Natasha Cooke almost replicated her goal she scored at Brighouse earlier in the season when she met a corner with a header but the ball crashed against the bar. The rebound fell to Nat Bell who saw her header cleared off the line. The ball rebounded again this time to Beech who sliced her shot wide!
Bolton were more than holding their own in the second half and looked dangerous on the counter. Cooke had to bring their striker down on one occasion as they broke but City dealt with the subsequent free kick easily.
The goal we had all been hoping for finally came in the 75th minute and there were no prizes for guessing the scorer. Hope Knight delivered a magic touch once again to put the Tigresses in front. She had the ball wide on the left and saw the goalkeeper off her line. She then hit a shot over the keeper and into the far corner to spark wild celebrations from the City players. The sense of relief was palpable.
After Knights brilliant goal the rest of the game was managed well by City. They controlled possession and never allowed Bolton to trouble them. The defence, marshalled by Amy Kay who didn’t put a foot wrong all game, stayed disciplined and coped well with Bolton’s attempts to get back into the game.
Despite City looking relatively comfortable with such a slender lead our nerves were still jangling so after 6 agonising minutes of injury time we had no fingernails left! Finally the whistle blew and you could see how much the win meant to the players and especially manager Rachel Gay, who embraced her captain, Jo Symington, and goalscorer Knight as they left the pitch.
FT Bolton Wanderers Ladies 0-1 Hull City Ladies
That really was a massive win for City against a very good Bolton side who came into the game in a rich vein of form. Brighouse V Liverpool was postponed so the Tigresses now have a 10 point lead over Brighouse who have three games in hand.
We spoke to a delighted City Ladies manager Rachel Gay after the game and you can watch the video below,