Women's Football Weekend : Man City vs West Ham

The first ever Women's football weekend was taking place on the 16th and 17th of November this year and it saw a whole host of games been played. We made the short trip over to Manchester to watch Man City take on West Ham, honestly I thought it would be a very close contested game but I couldn't be any more wrong. Missing from City's starting line up was Walsh who is still serving her ban from a red card picked up vs Man Utd but the team worked well without her, it can be hard when you are so used to a cetain player starting week in week out but you wouldnt have thought that was the case during the game at all. The game also marked Stanway's 100th appearance for City.

The game started off well for City who had most of the possession from the get go. It took just 11 minutes for City to make it 1-0, a corner sent in found the head of Jill Scott who couldn't get her effort on target but the ball fell kindly to White who fired the ball into the back of the net.

The left hand side of the pitch looked noticeably weak for the visiting West Ham side and it showed with the amount of breaks City's Beckie was able to make alongside all the time she was given far too much space. City were also the better side in terms of closing down and winning the ball back there seemed to be constant pressure on each West Ham player when they had the ball and this definitely worked in City's favour as they were winning the ball back in the middle of the pitch and getting into some dangerous positions. Something that Man City did really well for the full 90 minutes was playing some great through balls and some absolutely brilliant balls out wide & over the top, players were making some great runs around the back of the West Ham defence and it really put them in some threatening positions.

Georgia Stanway scored to make it 2-0 to City in the 32nd minute on her 100th appearance and just 5 minutes later she managed to make that 3-0, yet another brilliant ball in from Beckie and Stanway was there to put the ball in the back of the net. By the 40th minute it was 4-0 to City a score line I don't think anyone was really expecting. This time it was an absolutely fantastic goal from Lauren Hemp. Scott looked like she was going to have a go at goal herself but instead passed it to Hemp who was in plenty of space and held her composure to put the ball passed the West Ham 'keeper. The first half ended 4-0 and it just looked like West Ham couldn't get going they didn't look to be a threat at all.

City made their first substitution at half time with Stokes coming off and being replaced by Megan Campbell and it looked like City were just carrying on the momentum of the first half with White rattling the crossbar not long after the restart. In the 53rd minute Stanway managed to find Wullaert in space who found the bottom corner to take City's lead to 5.

It wasn't until the 57th minute until West Ham really challenged Roebuck but she kept her clean sheet by pulling off a brilliant save. Roebuck has really stepped up with Bardsley out injured and I really think Bardsley may struggle to get that number 1 spot back with the performances Roebuck is currently having.

City's second sub saw Scott being replaced by Bremer, Scott had played pretty well but with City 5-0 up I think Nick was right to take her off as she has played a lot recently both for club and country, with a 5 goals lead she finally got a bit of a rest. Maybe though it should have been Stanway who was subbed out of the game as she had already received 1 yellow card and was dangerously close to a 2nd which eventually came in the 71st minute. I know she was on her way to her hattrick but you could see all the silly little fouls slowly building up so maybe Nick could have done something about this sooner but now they have lost her for the next game and had to carry out the rest of the game down to 10. Which should have really benefitted West Ham but they still couldn't capitalise on having an extra player and was unable to get a goal in the game. It wasn't through lack of trying though as they did seem to pick up a little when City went to down to 10 and even had a very close effort in extra time which unfortunately hit the post and came back into play. City did make their 3rd and final substitution just minutes after the red card which saw Hemp being replaced by Toland. 

If I had to pick a player of the match it would certainly be between Hemp and Beckie both those players put in a real shift and created a lot of chances for the team. They created some great breaks and never seemed to give up the ball. Hemp provided the speed to keep the ball in play and put in some brilliant deliveries as did Beckie throughout the 90 minutes.

Man City starting 11 : Roebuck, Beckie, Houghton (C), Bonner, Stokes, Scott, Weir, Wullaert, Stanway, Hemp, White.

Man City Subs Used : Campbell, Bremer, Toland.
Man City Subs Unused: Benameur, Park, Geum-Min, Fidalgo.

West Ham starting 11 : Moorhouse, Redisch Kvamme, Flaherty (C), Vetterlein, Baunach, Middag, Longhurt, Dali, Lehmann, Leon, Kiernan.

West Ham Subs Used: Galabadaarachchi, Hendrix, Kiszkis
West Ham Subs Unused: Brosnan 

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?