Hull City Ladies fell to a 4-1 defeat to high flying Huddersfield today but despite missing several key players they put up a real fight and it could have been a different story if they had put their chances away.
With the Tigresses missing several first team players it was always going to be a tough ask to travel to Huddersfield, a well established team at this level, and get a result. That was illustrated after just 30 seconds when the home side took the lead. They attacked from the kick off and a cross into the box fell to Kerry Hope 8 yards out who lashed a left footed shot into the top corner at the near post to give the home side the perfect start.
This was a hammer blow for the Tigresses so early on but to their credit they battled hard to work their way back into the game. In the 7th minute Rachael Ackroyd hit a shot from range that went just wide and a few minutes later Emily Smith almost equalised. She drove at the fullback down the right and sent in a cross/shot that looped over the goalkeeper’s head and onto the post!
The Tigresses were gaining in confidence and had another sight of goal a few minutes later when Hope Knight beat three defender before jinking into the box and hitting a powerful shot that the keeper could only parry. Luckily for Huddersfield the ball missed everyone in a City shirt and was eventually cleared.
The Tigresses made their pressure pay in the 24th minute as they scored an excellent equaliser. Jo Symington picked out Emily Smith in behind the defence with a pin point pass and Smith controlled it brilliantly to take it round the keeper before finding the empty net to make it 1-1. It was a goal City deserved after recovering well from conceding so early on.
Unfortunately the Tigresses were only level for a matter of minutes as the home side restored their lead in the 31st minute. Sarah Danby was given too much time and space in the box and she was able to rifle a shot past Amy Halloran in the City goal to give the home side the lead once again.
The game became really end to end in the latter stages of the first half and City looked to get back on terms when they won a corner in the 40th minute. The cross was met by the head of Hope Knight who looked to have found the top corner before a Huddersfield defender came from nowhere to clear it off the line!
Just as the Tigresses had come close at the other end the home side showed their class to increase their lead. Following two City corners they cleared and countered quickly. Arianne Parnham was released in behind the City defence and she made no mistake in placing her shot beyond Halloran and into the net to give Huddersfield a 3-1 lead going into half time, a cruel blow for City.
City almost got one back just before the break when Jo Symington hit a free kick from range that deflected off Rachael Ackroyd and went inches wide of the left hand post. That could have put a different complexion on things going into the interval but it wasn’t to be.
HT Huddersfield Town Ladies 3-1 Hull City Ladies
The start of the second half was more cagey. The home side seemed content with their lead and looked to absorb any pressure the Tigresses put on them. City grew into the half and began to create openings for themselves but they didn’t threaten the goalkeeper enough as the hour mark approached.
The first real chance of the half came in the 69th minute. Hope Knight started the move in midfield and found Jo Symington in space on the left, she got to the by line and sent in a cross towards Rebecca Beech who slid in to challenge the goalkeeper for the ball but she was just beaten to it and the chance was gone. Once again just as the Tigresses looked to score at one end Huddersfield scored at the other. A cross from the right was met at the back post by Kate Mallin who had the simple task of slotting the ball past Halloran and into the net to make it 4-1 and effectively seal the win for the home side.
As they always do, the Tigresses kept going and created some good chances to narrow the scoreline before the end. Substitute Amy Blinkhorn hit a pile driver from almost 30 yards out that had curl and dip on it. It would have been a brilliant goal but the ball missed the target by inches. Jo Symington was the next to have a chance as she hit a shot from the left hand side of the box that was brilliantly saved by the goalkeeper.
Rebecca Beech, who put in a real shift up front, had two chances to score in the final ten minutes. Firstly the Tigresses thought they should have had a penalty, and so did we, after Hope Knight was pushed off the ball as she looked to unleash a shot. It looked clear to everyone that she was in the box and the linesman appeared to signal for a penalty but the referee disagreed and awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. Beech stepped up and hit a shot just wide of the left hand post.
A few minutes from time Beech had another chance when she chased a long ball forward. A slight mix up between the last defender and the goalkeeper allowed Beech to nip in and take the ball round the keeper but she could only shoot wide and that summed up the day for the Tigresses. The home side saw out the final few minutes to secure a comfortable win in the end.
FT Huddersfield Town Ladies 4-1 Hull City Ladies
After last week’s brilliant win away at Nottingham Forest this was a disappointing day for City Ladies. Several first team players sat out with injuries but the Tigresses still had enough about them to create several chances but they didn’t take enough of them. Huddersfield are a quality side and they showed that today. The Tigresses don’t have long to dwell on this defeat as they head to Doncaster on Wednesday night. The Belles are yet to pick up a point so this is a game the Tigresses should be looking to win.
Our player of the match today was Rebecca Beech. She ran her socks off up front and chased everything. She missed a couple of decent chances to score and she will be disappointed with that but she put in a real shift and caused the Huddersfield defence problems throughout.
We spoke to City Ladies manager Rachel Gay after the game and you can watch the interview below,