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Bradford City Women vs Leeds United : The Replay

Remember back in September when I posted about the Bradford vs Leeds match getting abandoned over on TheNorthernGirl? Well this abandonment was due to a nasty clash of heads which lead to players needing medical treatment. Unfortunately the rescheduled match had been hard to fit in due to bad weather constantly pushing back the fixture however, last night it was finally played. The weather was awful, it was cold and raining very heavily and I was actually surprised the game latest the full 90 minutes, you could see the water settling on the surface, the mud seemed to be slowing down the run of play and causing quite a few questionable challenges, the rain just didn't stop. The game did go the full 90 though and unfortunately for City, Leeds came out 3-0 winners. 

Bradford started off well with a chance coming in the first few minutes and for the full 90 they were working the ball around the field really well, in fact I would say they had worked it around better than I had seen in previous games. The first 15 minutes seemed to be all City but it was Leeds with the opening goal, a snap shot finding its way past Routledge who managed to get her finger tips to the ball but the ball inevitably found the back of the net, the Leeds goal definitely seemed to go totally against the run of play. 

Not long after the goal there was a small delay in the game as the linesmen switched which half they were manning as the side near the Leeds dugout just seemed to be boggy, I don't blame the linesman for not wanting to run back and forth in that for 90 minutes. In the first half Routledge seemed to take a few challenges but it didn't seem to stop her making some great saves. Leeds seemed to wake up after the first goal but luckily for City so did City's defence and they went into half time just 1-0 down.

City seemed to start the 2nd half quite well but unfortunately less than 5 minutes after the restart Leeds doubled their lead with a looping header over Routledge.  

City managed to keep Leeds out but not for Leeds lack of trying with them trying to add a 3rd to the scoresheet but City's defence made plenty of scrambled clearances to deny the attacks. City had a brilliant opportunity in the 70th minute with some great build up play in the middle of the park leading to Prothero getting a shot away which was unfortunately straight at the keeper.

As I mentioned earlier the playing conditions lead to a few questionable challenges being made throughout the game but it wasn't until the final 10 minutes that the first and only yellow card was awarded and it went to City's Jakeman for a sliding challenge. Leeds did manage to add a 3rd to the score sheet after a mix up whilst Routledge and Roberts were trying to clear the ball and a Leeds player was brought down in the process. One thing I have noticed is that penalties seem to be a common theme at this level with one being awarded in each game I have been to see so far this season.

From watching the game yesterday City definitely look like they are improving game by game but that final 3rd is still lacking, they can move the ball around and get into dangerous positions but just cant seem to capitalise on it, hopefully we will start seeing more goals from them soon. Sometimes they also look like they are struggling on the break too players get into a great position but just don't seem to have any players around them in support which then ends with them giving the ball away.

If I had to choose a player of the match it would definitely have to be Routledge, she really did stop Leeds running away with the game and pulled off some absolutely brilliant saves to keep the score line down, even after taking a few knocks she managed to continue helping City stay in the game.

City's losing streak in the league continues but can they bounce back and grab a win on Sunday against Ripon in the West Riding County Cup?

Current Favourite Bradford City Players

It is safe to say last season I didn't exactly have a favourite Bradford City player, how could I when they were all so poor and looking so defeated all the time. No players gave me hope during the games and at times I actually dreaded going to watch them but of course I still did. But with Bowyer having the transfer market to make the changes he needed something seems to be clicking and we have a team again & have even gone back to winning those 3 points. Not only has he brought in some great new players but he also has those left from last season (not many) actually playing to their strengths and winning games. Which is why on this list of my favourites so far this season you will see a mix of old and new faces. So here we go these are my current favourite Bradford City players...

Richard O'Donnell

To me O'Donnell didn't have the best season last season but when you think back I believe a lot of the blame for that could be down to the defence he had in front of him, they just kept putting him in impossible situations. So far this season though he looks like a different keeper, he is pulling off some fantastic saves and even looks to have his back line under control.

Ben Richards-Everton

One of the new boys that Bowyer brought in was Ben Richards-Everton and what a brilliant signing he is. Here at Edge of the Area we have been saying how he has the potential to be a future captain. He really gets the back line working together and is also good when running forward getting the team further down field. It is nice to see us with a centre back who knows what they need to do for a change, we don't seem to have had one of those for a while. 

Connor Wood

Somewhat of an underrated player for City recently has been Connor Wood, now Chicksen has gone he is finally getting the playing time he deserves and only seems to be developing into a better and stronger individual under Bowyer. It is so nice to finally have a player who can put in a decent cross and set piece when needed it is something we have lacked in recent years. Plus he can get forward into dangerous positions as well as getting back and putting in some really good tackles.

Zeli Ismail 

Zeli Ismail is another player that Bowyer has brought in and to be honest I am impressed (if we forget about that Bradford Park Avenue friendly), Zeli has the ability to really drive at the opposition defence which again is something we have been really missing out on in recent years. He isn't afraid to go one vs one with the defenders and flies down the wing putting City in some very promising positions.

Hope Akpan

Hope gets a lot of grief especially on-line which I really don't understand as I do think he is coming into his own lately and is having a good season so far. Not only is he doing well in midfield creating play and helping distribute the ball well and winning tackles when needed he is also grabbing himself some goals. Fingers crossed he scores quite a few more before the season is over and people start to see what an asset he actually is to the team.

Harry Pritchard

Finally we have Pritchard, a player I am glad we have bought and not just loaned. Harry has been fantastic so far scoring a brilliant goal and helping in the build up to others. He is 27 years old and already possesses plenty of knowledge of the EFL which can only help him further his career and help City back to winning ways. He did take a knock the other week though, lets just hope this doesn't effect him too much on his return. 

So there you have it those are my current favourites, keep an eye on the site though as when it comes to the end of the season we will be revisiting this post to see if there are any changes to this list will it stay the same or are other players going to hit their stride and knock some of these off the list?

Women's 2019 Ball d'Or Nominees

Photo credit : France Football
Last Monday saw the announcement for this years Ballon d'Or trophy nominees so today we are going to take a look at the female nominees this year. Last year's award was picked up by Ada Hegerberg however, after a fantastic World Cup year I really do believe we could see a new winner crowned. So here are this years nominees....
Lucy Bronze (Lyon) - Bronze is becoming a bit of a household name lately and was in the top 3 for the FIFA Best awards. She had a fantastic season with Lyon last season but in terms of playing for England I don't think we fully saw the best out of her, not through any fault of her own but the fact Neville seems to be desperate for her to move into midfield. She is definitely more suited to that right back role.
Ellen White (Manchester City) - If we are going just off World Cup performance's White definitely deserves to be top of this list, she had a fantastic tournament scoring goals for the fun of it helping England do really well and progress through the tournament.
Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars) - Kerr is one of those players who is absolutely fantastic but for some reason never gets the recognition she deserves. Kerr is a record breaker and seems like breaking the scoring records for fun, she has proved crucial for Chicago lately and since signing for them has helped them progress in league positions and she had a pretty good World Cup too. She is lethal in front of goal.
Nilla Fischer (Linköpings) - To be completely honest I haven't seen many games with Fischer playing but in the ones I have she has been a standout, even at 35 year old she is going strong. 
Amandine Henry (Lyon) - Henry is a fantastic player, she did brilliant at Portland and only seems to have gotten better since going to Lyon. She seems to run every game she plays and if she is in a game you will know she is playing as she always seems to be involved in plays bagging herself goals in the process.
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) - I still aren't sure about this one. She had a pretty good World Cup but honestly it wasn't that great, yeah she scored a lot of goals but where was she the rest of the 90 minutes? As for her season with Orlando did it actually exist? In the games she did play I wouldn't say she made that much of an impact.
Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal) - Like Kerr, Miedema is another player constantly overlooked, at just 22 year old she is her countries record scorer, and last season she broke the record for the most WSL goals scored in a season. Yet she rarely gets the recognition she deserves, Miedema would definitely be one of those players you want on your team not against you.
Dzenifer Marozsan (Lyon) - Another great talent who plays for Lyon, they really do have some of the best players in the world on the team. Marozsán is one of those players you wouldn't want to face as she can be a real threat when on top of her game.
Pernille Harder (VfL Wolfsburg) - The Danish forward is another player you wouldn't want to face especially in front of goal. She is an absolutely brilliant player especially for her club team and she is a stand out for her Danish side. I do believe that she is going to really help get that Danish side up and fighting for those top spots in tournaments, particularly the Euro's
Sarah Bouhaddi (Lyon) -  The French keeper played a brilliantly in the season for Lyon and did quite well in the World Cup but can she beat the rest of these nominees? For me there are others who should definitely come above her in these awards.
Marta (Orlando Pride) - Yet another player I can't understand being on the list. Orlando had a terrible year and in the games she played for them I don't believe Marta played as well as she could have. She did have a pretty good World Cup though so maybe that is what has edged her to this nomination? She may not have had her best year and probably won't win this award but honestly she will always be one of the greatest female players of all time to me.
Ada Hegerberg (Lyon) -  Is Hegerberg a great player of course she is, should she be up to for this award? Honestly I aren't 100% sold. She plays for one of the greatest teams and puts in a great performance especially in the games I have watched her play in. But with her lack of International appearances over the years I just don't see how she can be up for this award again, there are players who play a lot more games than her throughout the year and some of those put in better performances in my opinion.
Kosovare Asllani (CD Tacon) - A player who I hugely miss at Man City, Asllani is one of those players you always need to keep an eye of as she is a huge influence in the games she plays. Need a decent tackle putting in, she can make them. Need a decent strike on goal she is more than capable. Sometimes you forget she is playing but then she pops up and pulls off a spectacular tackle. This is definitely a deserved nomination. 
Sofia Jakobsson (CD Tacon) - Jakobsson is another player that always seems to slip under the radar for me maybe because I haven't paid much attention to the teams she has played for in the past. But now she is with CD Tacon alongside Asllani I think I will be seeing more of her play when possible. But she is definitely one who grabs your attention when she plays for Sweden. Plus at just 29 years old she has plenty of playing time left and will hopefully only keep on improving.
Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns) - Finally Tobin is getting recognition she deserves. For some reason Heath normally gets overlooked for these sort of things but honestly she is possibly one of the most deserving players. She has the skill and the flair and can get her teams in great positions. She tracks back and defends, gets plenty of assists and even grabs herself some goals. When she is injured teams definitely miss her and I can easily say I wouldn't like to come up against her in a game.
Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC) - Well 90% of people probably won't agree with what I am about to say but here it goes anyway... I think Rapinoe can be a good player sometimes but honestly I think there are players who are much better who get over looked. For me Rapinoe is hit and miss I don't particularly think she had a good World Cup, yes she was top scorer but a lot of those were penalties. Plus she spent most of Reign's season out injured so you can't really judge her on that one. 
Lieke Martens (Barcelona) - Lieke is definitely a fantastic player, although she definitely seemed missing for the Netherlands at points in the World Cup yet when she plays for Barcelona she is absolutely fantastic. Did she do enough to make this years nominees though? I aren't too sure with some of the names are missing.
Sari van Veenendaal (Atletico Madrid) - An absolutely fantastic 'keeper in fact Sari is definitely one of the greatest in the world currently for me. Some of the saves she pulls off are absolutely unbelievable, even some of the male 'keepers would be surprised if they pulled them off. If it had to be a 'keeper who won this award she would definitely be my pick.
Wendie Renard (Lyon) - Another Lyon player surprise, surprise. To me Renard wasn't looking her best through the World Cup although she did still play really well, just to me not as well as she could have. But she has been an absolutely solid defender in that Lyon back line.
Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit) - Lavelle has definitely become a bit of a stand out for the USWNT, even scoring in the World Cup final. In my opinion she 100% deserves this nomination. She is a great player already in terms of both attack and defence which really helps out both her club team and national team. To say she is so good now I can't wait to see how she progresses in the future, she could definitely be a household name in the near future.
My personal top 3 picks for this year after seeing the nominees would be Tobin Heath, Sam Kerr and Vivianne Miedema however, I honestly believe it is going to be the same top 3 that was seen at the FIFA Best awards Lucy Bronze, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan as they seem to be the big names lately. I really do believe though there is one huge name missing from this list, Julie Ertz. Ertz has had yet another fantastic season with Chicago and had a fantastic World Cup with the USWNT but for some reason she is constantly being over looked.

Who would your top 3 picks be?

Are times changing for Bradford City?

Are things finally changing at Bradford City? After an appalling season last season Gary Bowyer has finally got a team who can play together. Last season we had players in the squad who you would have expected to run away with the league, instead we were relegated. Josh Wright kicked off the season then disappeared until the last few games, there were a few players noticeably missing which really didn't help plus there was a huge lack of communication between the team and stupid mistakes been made. This led to fans turning on the players and managers booing them off the pitch, along with trying to get joint chairman Rahic out, which eventually worked.

Bowyer was seemingly given chance to put his opinion out there to the board when it came to signings this summer and he has definitely made some good choices. One of the main ones is the signing of Paudie O'Connor from Leeds, although he is only a young player he is showing what it takes to be a great defender and I can see him only improving in the future. He somehow even managed to sign James Vaughan, why he chose City I still don't know. Bowyer has also managed to get players from last season back on track, Hope Akpan didn't really have a fantastic season last season but honestly I believe that had a lot to do with those around him not playing as they should and giving him options but this season he has been great, making runs forward getting back defending, even grabbing a few goals in the process. Another player who seems to be doing a lot better is 'keeper Richard O'Donnell, he has been pulling off some fantastic saves lately which have kept City in the game but he also looks a lot more confident and seems happier to play it out from the back rather than just kick it up field. I really do believe this may be down to how much stronger his back line is now looking and he can trust them in not messing it up. Even Anthony O'Connor seems to be doing a bit better this season but I think that may be down to actually having some competition for his spot now. 

City have played 14 games so far won 8, drawn 3 and lost 3 which is definitely a whole lot better than last season. They are currently 5 games without a loss and on their 3rd consecutive win, can they make it 4 tonight? It is nice seeing them 2nd in the table and not sitting at the bottom. The winning ways has brought the atmosphere back to Valley Parade too, so many times last season it was far too quiet as results weren't going our way, the chant you heard most was 'we want Edin out' whereas now the chants are back for the 90 minutes and K block are back on top form, you can just tell things are going back to the good old ways for the club and I am loving it. Let's just hope we can keep this up for the rest of the season and gain automatic promotion, I don't think I could go through Wembley again.

Keep an eye on here as very soon I will be doing a post all about my current favourite City players.

10 Football Facts About Me

So for today's post with the blog being new I thought I would give you a little bit more information on me and how I got into loving the beautiful game so much. It hasn't always been this way though and I think some facts may intrigue you all a little bit. So here we go here are 10 footballing facts about me...

1. I started playing at a young age as my best friend at the time wanted to join, that is why I made the switch from Rugby. Before this I had been to a lot of football matches but I preferred going to Rugby ones with my grandad. If only I knew how hooked I would get on the game.

2. I have played for a few teams over the years and even got put through a few trials for Centre of Excellences. The teams that I had the trials for were Man Utd, Leeds and Bradford City unfortunately nothing ever came of these though.

3. Kelley O'Hara has always been my favourite USWNT player, more so in recent years she has cemented herself in the number 1 spot due to how she has bounced back from injury and has claimed her spot as one of the best defenders in the world. As someone who has struggled with injury she has taught me never to give up and keep going. Plus she is absolutely hilarious.

4. Believe it or not I didn't properly get into the women's game until 2014/15. I went to an Arsenal vs Leeds game with my club when I was younger but that was it other than dipping in and out of the game. It just didn't hook me and give me the same enjoyment the men's game did but lately it is the opposite and it has been going that way for a while now sooner or later both games will be on an equal level for me.

5. I have a few signed items hanging around the house including images, books but most importantly shirts, I have a Darby training top signed by the whole Bradford City team which was to raise money for MND, at the side of that I have a signed Lucy Bronze shirt from when I met her, I actually got her to sign my phone too. 

6. Over the years I have met a lot of players and teams mainly due to my dad being head steward at City whilst I was growing up. One memory though that will always stand out to me is when Fiorentina came to Valley Parade, their players were amazing and spent a lot of time chatting to my dad and even give me a lot of badges and sausage rolls, as a little kid this was the highlight of my day.

7. I actually support the USWNT more that I support England. There is just something about that team that drew me in. So in this years world cup when it came down to the USWNT vs England I was laughed at by my family for wearing the shirt I made in the image above and cheering when Press scored. 

8. I may support Bradford City but I have always had a soft spot for Man Utd, growing up I would always get a Man Utd shirt for my birthday and I would go to games whenever I could. The most recent game was the Treble reunion.

9. From a young age every holiday me or the family went on abroad I would get a football kit (we knew they were fake it was pretty obvious) whether that was me personally picking it out or them bringing it back for me. Even to this day at 25 years old my Auntie still brings home a shirt for me, it seems to have become a tradition.

10. I will literally watch any game as football just because it is football I aren't just one of these people who will only watch 1 team. This has led me to follow plenty of teams from all around the world in both the men's and women's game along with making some friends and meeting new people along the way. The game has always been an escape for me and long may the love of the game continue for me.

So there you have it that is a little bit more about me, the person behind the blog.