Hull City Ladies secured their first win of the season today as they defeated Bradford City Women 2-1 in the Determining round of the FAWNL Cup. It was a gritty, tight affair not helped by the referee but the Tigresses got the job done which is all that matters.
In contrast to last week it was a glorious day down at Hull University and the Tigresses started brightly. Their first chance came in the 11th minute when Harley Skinner cut inside her marker before unleashing a curling shot that crashed off the crossbar and away to safety.
Unfortunately from the off the game was made a stop start affair due to an overly picky referee and that made it hard for either team to get going. The Tigresses were enjoying more of the possession though and they created a great chance to take the lead in the 24th minute. A slick passing move led to Hope Knight being released in the box, she was brought down and a penalty was duly given but how the Bradford defender escaped without a card we will never know.
Despite a significant delay due to a Bradford injury Knight remained calm and placed the ball ready for the spot kick. When the ref eventually blew his whistle she slotted the ball into the bottom corner giving the goalkeeper no chance.
The Tigresses now had a 1-0 lead that they deserved but they were unable to build on that significantly and they were punished late in the first half. While Liberty Bott was down injured a through ball split the Tigresses defence and Keegan Lambert made no mistake to slot the ball past Jasmine Lacey in the City Ladies goal. That was a hammer blow for Rachel Gay and her side as it came so close to half time and they needed to regroup at the break.
HT Hull City Ladies 1-1 Bradford City Women
The Tigresses took the game to their opponents at the start of the second half and looked to get back in front. Their first chance came in the 56th minute when Ellice Jackman headed a Jo Symington corner towards goal but it was brilliantly cleared off the line by Zoe Roberts.
Luckily that was a sign of things to come for the Tigresses as they took the lead just three minutes later. A shot from substitute Rebecca Beech, who came on for the injured Liberty Bott, was parried by the goalkeeper and it came to Hope Knight on the left hand side. She found Beech in the centre of the box with a pinpoint cross and the experienced striker buried it to give City Ladies a 2-1 lead.
The rest of the second half was frustrating for everyone involved. Neither team got into any real rhythm but on a positive note the Tigresses always looked comfortable. This was due in no small part to the role played by 16 year old Meg Calvert and the returning Amy Kay, playing a new defensive midfield role. Kay was excellent in the role, barking out orders to her teammates and getting stuck in to break up the play in the midfield, with Natasha Cooke and Ellice Jackman playing so well at centre back this could be a role Kay finds herself in more often this season.
Despite the stop start nature of the game the Tigresses continued to try and find another goal to seal the win. Rachael Ackroyd and Meg Render both saw shots blocked as did Harley Skinner who was giving the Bradford defence a torturous afternoon, her pace and energy were causing them problems all game and a goal would have topped her performance perfectly. The final chance of the game fell to Ellice Jackman who could only head a cross just over the bar.
The Tigresses saw out the extended period of added time with ease to secure safe passage through to the next round of the FAWNL Cup.
FT Hull City Ladies 2-1 Bradford City Women
Well that game wasn’t pretty but it’s the result that counts and City Ladies are safely through to the next round of the cup. Our player of the match award goes to Harley Skinner. The 16 year old winger has a real future in the game, that is clear for all to see. She terrorised the Bradford defence today with her pace and skill and as you would expect from a youngster she has bundles of energy which enabled her to keep up a high level of performance for the full 90 minutes. The Tigresses have a real talent on their hands!
Next up for the Tigresses is a trip to Blackburn which will be a real test. Congratulations to the City Ladies reserves who kicked off their season with a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough today.
Photos: Sam Shepherd and Dave Hare
We spoke to manager Rachel Gay after the game and you can watch the video below.