Another Sunday and another home game for Bradford City, the weather held off until after the game and City were looking to get their first win of their season against Durham Cestria. City’s first game of the season was a 2-1 defeat to Chorley so they were hoping to bounce back and get those all important three points. It was definitely great to see Charlotte Stuart’s name on the team sheet too after her taking an early knock in the first game of the season.
The game started off at a pretty fast pace as expected and City ended up giving a few fouls out in dangerous places in the first few minutes but Durham couldn’t break through the City defence with any of those free kicks. Durham did however, manage to break through just five minutes into the game to make it 0-1 after a cross close to the goal was deflected into the back of the net passed City ‘keeper Richards. Durham were definitely on the front foot for a while after the goal and kept challenging City looking to double their lead. It really looked like they were going to do this in the 15th minute but a great save from Richards kept it at 0-1.
City did manage to create some chances though and Hawkins made a great run forward, momentarily she did lose the ball but once again she showed no sign of giving up and won the ball back quickly to create a great position for City unfortunately though there was no one on the receiving end of her pass and Durham gained possession once more. It didn’t take long for City to have another chance though as some great build up play put them in a good position to take a chance a shot but unfortunately this went straight to the Durham goalkeeper.
Just like last week it seemed to be once City hit that 30 minute mark they started to perk up and put in the performance we know they are capable of, once they got settled they were putting some great moves together and pushing forward, fingers crossed as the season progresses we will see City settling into games a lot sooner. There was a bit of a lengthy delay in the build-up to half time as a 50/50 challenge saw Stuart once again needing treatment but luckily this week she was good to carry on and got back up to carry on where she left off. In the 39th minute Roberts took a shot from distance that looked like it could have beaten the Durham goalkeeper but unfortunately, the ball dipped at the wrong time and the goalkeeper comfortably caught it.
Throughout the first half we saw Durham really attack City trying to push through and gain that second goal but thanks to strong defending and great goalkeeping City somehow managed to keep Durham out and we went into half time with Durham leading just 0-1 when it could have honestly been more.
Durham were the ones with the first chance of the second half but luckily for City it found it’s way over the crossbar without troubling Richards. It didn’t take long for City to find their feet in the second half though and it didn’t take long for them to have a chance of their own with Prothero getting herself into a good position but her shot was ultimately blocked by the Durham defence. Bradford definitely got themselves into the second half a lot quicker than they did the first half and they looked a whole lot stronger in the midfield and going forward so it is safe to say whatever was said to the team at half time was taken in and they knew what they needed to do.
In the 63rd minute Hames made his first substitution with Stube coming on for Prothero, who had covered a lot of ground throughout the time she was on the field so I think this was a good move as it meant a fresh set of legs on the field to try push for an equaliser. Unfortunately for City the 2nd goal of the game also went to Durham. Richards pulled off yet another brilliant save to deny Durham’s first attempt but the second attempt managed to find its way into the back of the net for Durham to double their lead in the 71st minute. Almost immediately after the 2nd goal Hames made his 2nd substitution bringing Russell on in place of Roberts who once again had a really good game and covered a whole lot of ground whilst on the pitch.
City did try to pull a goal back not long after conceding with Lambert moving well to keep hold of the ball and getting it through to Hawkins which was once again saved by the Durham goalkeeper. In the 83rd minute Hames made his final two substitutions of the game bringing Knapton on for her debut and Douglas whilst taking off Stuart and Hawkins. In the 85th minute City finally got themselves on the scoreboard with a great goal but again City left it late to score just like they did in their first game of the season, but for the final minutes of the game they were constantly pushing for an equaliser which was great to see.
The game ended 1-2 just like it did against Chorley in their first game but you can definitely see improvements being made throughout the City team as they are putting up a fight each game and trying to find a way back into the game rather than just looking like they want to give up. Durham took their chances well and looked like they are going to do well this season and City might have been defeated but again they are showing some strong signs on the pitch and off field it is improving once more as we are seeing more and more people attending the games, it is nice to see the stand looking full.
There were a few silly fouls given away from both teams really but the game was definitely more physical than it was against Chorley and City looked to be holding their own really well which is great to see, they never looked like giving up on a challenge. There were definitely a few City players that stood out throughout the game. Woodcock once again seemed to be allover winning the ball back with some great challenges and was carrying the ball forward really well. Stuart had a great game too and was covering the midfield really well and winning the ball plenty of times both on the floor and in the air which definitely helped City out a fair bit as the ball seemed to spend a fair bit of time in the air.
Hawkins had an absolutely brilliant game too as she was all over the field and pressing Durham really well and never looked like she was going to give up even when the ball seemed out of reach she still tried to make it. Richards was also a standout player with some of her saves looking brilliant and she really did keep City in the game especially in the first half and quite a few times in the 2nd half.
So here is who would have been our player of the match. For me (Lucy) it has to be Richards as without some of her saves we could have easily conceded a whole lot more. For Liam it is once again Woodcock as she made some solid challenges and got City into some good positions to push forward.
The game this week was really enjoyable and I am really looking forward to seeing City when they are back home again as I think that win is due very soon, unfortunately there will be no report for their next home game as we aren’t here that week but bring on the next home game after that.