Match Report : Bradford City Women vs Chorley

Well it is safe to say that it has been a while since we did a match report and it is something we have definitely missed doing. The long awaited return of the FAWNL has finally happened and Bradford City women kick started their campaign at home to Chorley. Bradford have looked good in pre-season pulling off some great victories but could they carry on their winning ways coming into the new season? Hames has added new faces to the squad in the build up to kick off and there has been multiple changes at the top off the field too so hopefully the results would start to go Bradford's way. Unfortunately though their first game ended in a 1-2 defeat to Chorley but there are plenty of takeaways from today's game with improvements definitely seen when you look back at previous seasons. 

The first 10 minutes or so Bradford had a fair bit of possession and Chorley mainly only got the ball from free kicks however City just couldn't break through the Chorley defence and threaten their goalkeeper. The game was then hit with a lengthy stoppage as City's Stuart was down injured which forced Hames to make an early substitution where he brought Douglas on after just 12 minutes. Fingers crossed it isn't a bad injury to Stuart as she is a key player for City but she did seem to be in a lot of discomfort. 

Chorley did end up taking the lead after 21 minutes with Mills scoring a pretty good goal against the run of play really as up until then City seemed to have the ball a whole lot more. The goal definitely sparked Chorley up though and once the game restarted it was all about them and they looked a huge threat. It only took them another 7 minutes to double their lead with Matthews scoring in the 28th minute with a calm lob over the head of City's 'keeper Richards who had no chance of stopping it as she was quite a way off her line. Once Chorley got those goals they really got more into the game and looked lethal going ahead and City seemed to be a little shaken and struggled to get back into it before half time.

City went into half time trailing 0-2 however, I don't know what was said in the dressing room as they came back out fighting. Hames made a second substitution at half time bringing Jakeman off and putting Beck on and City started the second half with an early free kick and an early opportunity which unfortunately didn't really trouble the Chorley 'keeper. Beck definitely made an impact on the game when she came on, she made some great passes and some even better breaks to create some opportunities which again didn't really come to anything but it showed Chorley we could get through their defence if we wanted to. Hames then made another substitution bringing Prothero off and putting on Russell in her place again this is a sub that worked well in City's favour with Russell making some good passes and some good runs to help City really challenge to get some goals back. Beck did manage to get a goal back for City in the 80th minute with a really good finish to get City back in the game. Straight after the goal Hames made his final change bring Lambert off who was struggling with a bit of cramp and bringing Thomas on. 

Once Beck's goal went in City's spirits seemed to be lifted and for the final 10 minutes they livened up and though as hard as possible to find that equaliser however, they just couldn't hit the net for a second time and unfortunately their first game of the season ended in a defeat. They should be proud of their performance though as it was definitely an improvement on previous years and they fought hard to get themselves back into the game rather than just giving up when nothing really seemed to go their way. I really do believe the referee had a big impact on the game and especially the flow of it as it constantly seemed stop start for the most ridiculous free kicks. For the full game there was definitely some questionable decisions like a back pass that wasn't called and few offside's that definitely didn't look offside yet for obvious ones the flag stayed down. Those decisions definitely got tempers flaring and cost a few players to understandably frustrated, even the anger was rising was on the benches and we saw City coaching staff member Qasim have a talking to from the referee with him ultimately receiving a yellow card, it is safe to say a lot more yellows could have been given out in the 90 minutes with each team having players on yellow cards we could have easily seen a couple of reds too if the referee really wanted to. 

There was definitely a few City players who had a standout game in my eyes, 'keeper Richards pulled off some great saves to keep Chorley on just the two goals but they could have definitely walked away from the game with more if Richards didn't have the game she did. Woodcock and Roberts both had great games in defence too although at times they were hard done by they still carried on putting a solid performance to stop Chorley scoring more than they did. Both these players were certainly getting frustrated but they didn't let that stop them and not only did they defend really well but they helped create some good attacks too. The substitutions Hames made certainly made an impact too which is just what is needed in this league, when the opposition is getting tired we want the option of players who are going to test them with their fresh legs and it looks like this season we are going to be seeing a fair bit of this. It does make me wonder how we would have got on if Stuart was able to play the full 90 minutes though as she started the game really well before her injury. 

City certainly looked a lot better than in previous years and I don't think it is going to be long until we see all the hard work paying off on the field and those results start heading in the right direction. We just look like we need to tighten our defending that little bit more, making sure we are closing players down a bit quicker and tidy up some of our passes in the midfield to get us in some dangerous positions going forward. 

So here is who we would have voted as our player of the match...

Lucy - For me it was definitely a tough choice between Roberts and Woodcock as they both had a really strong but I think Woodcock gets the honour this week as she showed us just why she is captain she never gave up.

Liam - For me just like Lucy I would have to say Woodcock, because she never gave up and had a really good game.

It is nice to be back at the game watching live football once again and I think we are going to be in for an interesting season. It was also nice to see a lot more fans at the game compared to previous years, the changes off the field are definitely going to help bring the results on the field. 

Up next Bradford take on Durham Cestria on Sunday 22nd August, are we going to see Bradford win all 3 points? 

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