Hull City Ladies travelled to Newcastle today knowing a win would be enough to secure the league title. They seemed to have done all the hard work by beating Brighouse last week and with the sun shining on this bank holiday weekend everything seemed perfectly set up for a promotion party, alas it wasn’t to be. The Tigresses went down 1-0 to a well organised and motivated Newcastle side so the promotion celebrations will have to wait for now.
On a beautiful afternoon in Newcastle we were all looking forward to the kick off, unfortunately the players were forced to warm up again, which wasn’t difficult in the conditions, as the hosts appeared to have lost their corner flags! Eventually they located them, and the game got underway.
Perhaps with the delay the City players focus had slipped slightly as Newcastle got off to the perfect start. After just two minutes a speculative looping shot from Rhiannon Gray at the edge of the box flew over Amy Halloran and into the net to give the hosts the dream start to the game.
That was just the start City didn’t need and it took them a few minutes to get going in the game after the shock of conceding so early. Despite the poor start they almost equalised after 9 minutes when a Meg Render corner was headed on target by Natasha Cooke but as the ball looked to be heading for the top corner it was turned round the post by the goalkeeper.
In truth much of the game was being played in midfield with Newcastle dominating in that area. They seemed to be winning every second ball and City struggled to get their usually slick passing game going. Rachel Gay’s side did manage to create a few half chances though, Liv Jackson had a shot blocked after a pull back from Rachael Ackroyd before Hope Knight saw a shot go well wide.
In the 34th minute the Tigresses had a penalty appeal waved away when Knight looked to have been brought down in the box but the referee thought the Newcastle defender had got enough of the ball first. Knight had another good chance just before half time after some smart play in midfield but her shot from the left went across the keeper and skimmed the paint of the right hand post.
HT Newcastle United Women 1-0 Hull City Ladies
The Tigresses were out early from the half time break and looked to find a goal quickly as the second half began. Their first opportunity fell to Hope Knight who could only shoot straight at the goalkeeper from 25 yards out.
As City pushed forward the hosts began to look dangerous on the counter attack after not looking overly threatening in the first half. In the 60th minute they had a free kick that was dropped by Amy Halloran but thankfully regathered at the second attempt. Three minutes later a cross /shot from the left went just over the bar. Other than these two half chances Newcastle never really threatened thanks to some brilliant defending from centre halves Amy Kay and Natasha Cooke.
City sent on Liberty Bott and Katie Thompson to try and help find a goal and to their credit they both livened up the midfield when they came on but unfortunately City Ladies still struggled to create real chances. The Tigresses are a quality side though and they were always going to create a good chance to score. That chance came in the 82nd minute. Jo Symington latched onto a through ball and got to the byline she cut a pass back to Knight who was denied by some remarkable last ditch defending from Newcastle.
That just about summed the day up for City Ladies and the game crawled to a frustrating finish. The players trudged off at the end disconsolate as they obviously wanted to get the job done today.
FT Newcastle United Women 1-0 Hull City Ladies
Liverpool Feds lost so they are now out of the title race but Brighouse won away at Crewe so the champagne remains on ice for at least another week. Fingers crossed the Tigresses get the job done next week in front of their home fans.
We spoke to a disappointed City Ladies manager Rachel Gay after the game and you can watch the video below,