Bradford City Women's penultimate game of the season ends in a well earned draw

                                         

I think it is safe to say this season has absolutely flown by and somehow we have just seen Bradford City Women play their final home game of the season against Norton & Stockton Ancients. It was a big game for Bradford who are trying to avoid the relegation zone and the fans turned out to get behind the team in their final game of the season at the Horsfall Stadium. In the end both teams walked away with 1 point however, it could have been a totally different result if chances were converted in the first half. 

City started the game off well putting Norton under some early pressure however, they found themselves 1-0 down in just the 3rd minute when Norton & Stockton's corner beat everyone and found the back of the net. City didn't give up though as they worked the ball around well and set up some chances of their own, a few great breaks through defence but the final shot just wasn't wanting to find the back of the net. City's Stuart probably had the best chance during this spell of play when she managed to get the ball past the 'keeper but unfortunately for City one of Norton's defenders had tracked back well and thumped the ball away from danger. 

Although most of the time since the first goal was dominated by City it was Norton who got the next goal of the game to give them a 2-0 lead, the Norton player chested the ball down before firing the ball into the back of the goal leaving City's 'keeper no chance of saving it. Again though City's heads didn't drop and they continued fighting back to try earn something from the game and their efforts soon paid off as a 38th minute goal from Hawkins, who capitalized on a poor clearance from the visitors saw Bradford going into half time just 1 goal behind. 

City came back out from half time fighting and certainly not giving up on the task at hand. City ended up with the first chance of the half when a great ball through to Knight ended up well saved by the Norton 'keeper. City's hard work finally paid off in the 59th minute though when Stuart finally got herself on the scoreboard, a corner was swung in and she managed to make a connection to bundle the ball over the line. It is safe to say the goal was a long time coming from Stuart who had plenty of chances in the first half and kept on pushing to get City into some great positions. 

With the scores level and City pressing for a winner it really did start to look promising for City however, in the 62nd minute Norton were awarded a penalty as City's 'keeper clashed with their attacker. From the stands it did look like a questionable penalty decision and City were protesting the decision but ultimately it was given and Norton converted it to retake the lead and make the game 3-2. 

There were a fair few delays in the game however, City's momentum didn't stop and they kept on pressing to get something out of the game after all they had come back from being 2-0 down and they knew they were more than capable of getting something out of the game. All the hard work paid off in the 82nd minute though when Stuart got her second of the game after a great ball into the box for her to slip it past the 'keeper from close range. Once that 3rd goal for City went in they kept on pushing and pushing for a winner but unfortunately time just wasn't on their side and the game ended 3-3. 

City were certainly unlucky throughout the game and could have easily been a few goals up in the first half but unfortunately a mix of great keeping, defending and miss hit shots kept the goals at bay. To say they went behind twice in the game though to pull it back to 3-3 I think it just goes to show the change we have seen in the team this season they kept their heads held high and kept fighting rather than getting disheartened and giving up which is what seemed to happen so often in previous seasons. 

Our player of the match for the final home game of the season has to be awarded to Charlotte Stuart. Charlotte has put in some solid performances throughout the season and this game was no different, she got herself on the scoreboard twice and helped get City in some great positions. Stuart had plenty of chances in the first half and was a key player in creating chances for others for the full 90 minutes of the game just like she has in previous games this season. Her awareness of the space around her and knowing what ball to play next to advance the team is brilliant and her two goals were well deserved. You could see in her celebrations just what the day meant to her too. 

The draw means Bradford City Women go into their final game of the season with just 1 point currently between them and the relegation zone, with FC United of Manchester still having 2 games to play so we will definitely be keeping an eye on their results as the season draws to a close. The team can definitely be proud though as they thought back twice to get a point from the game and never showed signs of giving up. With each goal you could see what it meant to the team and when the full time whilst blew you could see on the faces of the players just what the result meant. 

Fingers crossed results go in Bradford's favour in the run up to their final game of the season and they manage to avoid relegation as the team's performances definitely don't deserve that fate. 

The Since 71 x Southampton Women's FC X Kit & Bone Shirt Collaboration...

Photo : John Bilcliff

If you have read the blog for a while now you will know I am a sucker for a good football shirt, so when Since 71 let me know about the shirt they released of course I had to take a look for myself. I aren't usually a fan of white shirts but I love how this one has been designed as it looks nice and simple and thanks to the club badge being the only bit of colour on the shirt it really does draw attention to the heart of the club rather than sponsorship or kit manufacturer. 

This shirt is in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Southampton Women's Football Club's victory in the inaugural Women's FA Cup back in 1971.  For the celebration Since 71 have teamed up with the club and the fantastic Kit & Bone to launch a limited edition football shirt which includes the clubs newly designed crest. Since 71 have been a great source for women's football for years now and I think what they have done with this shirt is absolutely brilliant especially with the inspiration of the sites name coming from that ban on women's football being lifted back in 1971. 

Photo : John Bilcliff

Back in the inaugrual Women's FA Cup in 1970-71 seventy one teams set out to compete and on the 9th May 1971 Southampton Women came away 4-1 winners of the competition. I just think it is very fitting that Since 71 have taken part in this project with the 71 being prominent on shirt just as a little bit of a reminder to everyone of the year that the ban was lifted and the FA Cup was first won. 

The club itself were happy to be heavily involved in the project as they wanted to celebrate the first Women's FA Cup final and also share the proud history of the club. Plus what I love the most is that any profits from the sales are going to be used to invest back into helping females play football within the Hampshire, something that every area needs investment in and fingers crossed they can do some great work with the profits as I am sure it will be beneficial to many clubs and help get more females involved in the beautiful game. 

Photo : Dave Bodymore


The club actually wore the shirt during their National League game vs AFC Bournemouth and it looks absolutely fantastic and really does showcase that newly designed crest and has it catching your eye as all other details are worked into the white shirt well, it definitely gives off a retro vibe and it is something I wish more clubs would try. They actually wore this shirt for this particular game though as it was the same day as the postponed 2020/21 final between Arsenal and Chelsea which was actually the 50th final in the competition which goes to show how the game has come a long way since the ban was lifted but there is definitely a long way to go. 

I have followed Kit & Bone on Twitter since before this blog even got up and running so to see them get involve in the project and helping out the women's game is absolutely brilliant and to me just goes to show more and more companies want to take part in helping the women's game develop whilst also telling a story. Kit & Bone have done great with this shirt and I am excited to see what future projects for the women's game they take on in the future as they have never disappointed me. 

I know I will be adding this to my shirt collection as not only is it a brilliant shirt but with the profits going to such a good cause this is a shirt too good to miss out on. If you want to pick up the shirt for yourself you can get it from since-71.com/shop and don't forget to use discount code DAVIES9 when ordering. 

Whilst you are at it don't forget to give Since 71 a follow on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and check out their website
You can also find out more about Southampton women via their website, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram
Finally if you like football shirts be sure to check out Kit & Bone on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and their website

Let me know if you want a full review of the shirt when I receive mine. 

Photo : John Bilcliff

Match Report : Bradford City Women fall to defeat at home to Liverpool Feds

 

It was a big game at the Horsfall Stadium yesterday as Bradford City Women played host to Liverpool Feds in a game that has ended up leaving the league table looking very interesting as we approach the end of the season. Going into the game City were aiming to get further away from the relegation zone with just 5 points between them and the drop zone whilst at the other end of the table Liverpool Feds were looking to capitalise on their games in hand and close the gap on 1st place Newcastle United. In the end though it was Liverpool Feds who picked up the all important points from the game with a 2-0 victory. 

The first half was hit and miss for both teams with some scrappy play at times but then some moments of great momentum. City were lucky though with Liverpool being called offside a lot in the first half, they were going for the ball over the top and if they had stayed on side I think we might have seen a few goals early on however, City stepped up and played the offside trap well denying Liverpool early opportunities. For the first half City were moving the ball around well and got into some good positions but unfortunately the ball through on goal just couldn't find another City players feet and Liverpool were able to clear the danger. 

Both teams were putting pressure on each other in the first half but it seemed to be Bradford coming away with the ball more often than not and moving it around the pitch but again they just lacked in that final third and were unable to capitalise on the pressure they had piled on. As I mentioned earlier plays from both teams were scrappy at times but during the first half it seemed to be Liverpool wasting most of the possession with a lot of loose balls into open space for City to collect easily. 

There were a few moments towards the end of the first half where Liverpool picked up pace a little and made some threats on the City goal but two fantastic saves in quick succession and an offside kept the scoreline level at 0-0. The best chance of the half came with the last kick of the half when Liverpool's Pope took a brilliant free kick which seemingly had everyone beat before rattling off the inside of the post luckily for City though Stuart was there ready to clear the danger taking the game into half time goalless. 

The half time team talk for Liverpool definitely seemed to work as they performed much better in the second half but at the same time City also started off the half strong with a great ball through to Hawkins who just couldn't quite meet the ball to get a shot away. Liverpool definitely started adding the pressure as the half went on and it all paid off in the 54th minute, a great ball to the back post found the head of Kinvig who sent a looping header straight into the back of the net which in City's favour didn't look like it could be stopped. 

Once the first goal went in the game could have gone two ways for City, they could have put their heads down like they might have done in previous seasons or they could keep on pushing and try get something out of the game, City decided to take the second option and never showed signs of giving up and they almost got an equaliser for their efforts but unfortunately Hawkins shot rattled the post. With neither team looking like letting up the play was definitely back and forth with chances from both sides but neither team could quite find a breakthrough until the 72nd when Liverpool picked up their second of the game, a great bit of build up play helped Donoghue run onto the ball and slot it home into the bottom corner. 

Even 2-0 down City didn't seem to let up and had a few more chances of their own but unfortunately they couldn't get themselves on the scoreboard and the game ended 2-0 to the visitors. 

City definitely did well going into half time at 0-0 keeping Liverpool at bay for 45 minutes and they created some good space for themselves and some good chances however they just couldn't break down the Liverpool defence or find the target to get on the score sheet. The amount of early offside calls against Liverpool definitely help City out in the first half too. They definitely had the right ideas throughout the game but just couldn't get anything out of it. One of the standout players for Liverpool was definitely number 11 Pope who caused some really problems with some great breaks and plays. Our player of the match though has to go to City's Hawkins who once again put in a real shift throughout the game and really tried to get the team in some great positions and didn't look like giving up throughout her time on the pitch. 

The 2-0 result for Liverpool now takes them just 1 point behind league leaders Newcastle United with a game in hand on their competition and it keeps City 5 points away from the relegation zone however, they need to start picking up point soon as Barnsley who take up the last relegation spot still have a game in hand on City and with just the handful of games left this season it really vital to pick up every point available to move away from the drop zone. I think we are in for an interesting end to the season and I think in City's league it could easily be a very close call at both ends of the table but it is safe to say we are looking forward to seeing how it plays out. 

Bradford City Women Victorious In Their First Game At Their New Home


Bradford City Women started their life at their new home the Horsfall Stadium with an important win over Alnwick Town Ladies. With games in hand on those teams around them it was always going to be an important game for City who are looking to keep momentum going and grab those points to get them further away from the drop zone and the teams hard work certainly paid off with a 5-1 victory. 

City didn't start the game particularly well with Alnwick taking the lead after just 3 minutes thanks to a great break straight through the City defence. After Alnwick's early goal the game did look a bit scrappy as City tried to get back into the game and Alnwick tried to hold onto their lead, it was like this until the 12th minute when a fantastic free kick from City's Norde found its way to Woodcock who put the ball into the back of the net to draw the game level. 

In the 21st minute Woodcock got her second of the game in a very similar way to her first, another great free kick from Norde found its way to Woodcock who put City in the lead. Set pieces, especially free kicks, are definitely becoming a threat for City now and it is nice to see them capitalising on Norde's ability to get a great ball into the box. 

Just 6 minutes after Woodcock's second goal Knight extended City's lead with a fantastic curling shot from outside the box which the Alnwick 'keeper had no chance of saving. City didn't stop their though and kept creating plenty of chances for themselves however, the Alnwick 'keeper did well to keep City at bay but that all changed in the 34th minute when Stuart finally beat the 'keeper to get her name on the score sheet. Stuart managed to breakthrough the Alnwick defence and fire it home to take City in to half time with a 4-1 lead.

The second half started off with City creating themselves some great chances but just couldn't add to their lead. City's 5th and final goal came in the 69th minute with Hawkins finally getting herself on the score sheet after being denied so many times previously in the game. Once that 5th goal went in for City they still continued to press and look for a 6th however, they just couldn't find the back of the net one final time and the game ended 5-1 to the home team. 

City definitely started off slow however, once they really got into the game they looked threatening on the attack and at times they moved the ball around really well. As for our player of the match pick I think it is safe to say there are a few players who could walk away with this however for us it is a tie between Stuart and Hawkins. Both these players had a great game and made an impact on the game for the full 90 minutes. Stuart and Hawkins both got on the score sheet but they also created some great passages of play to set up some great chances for each other and the rest of the team.

This was City's first game on their new pitch and I think overtime we are going to see City really use this pitch to their advantage. It looks a lot wider than Eccleshill's pitch was and with the use of those players out wide I think they could really challenge the opposition and create some issues for them. There is also the bounce for the ball to take into consideration ow too as that can cause trouble for both teams and we saw a few times today that it is going to be something that City need to get used to too, if they can get used to it and use it to their advantage they could definitely cause issues for the visitors. 

This win now leaves Bradford City 4 points above the drop zone with games in hand on the teams directly above and below them, I think it is safe to say times are changing for City and it is nice to see them picking up the points they deserve. 

Let's see if City can keep the momentum going in their next game when they are away to Stockport County. 

Match Preview : Bradford City Women vs Alnwick Town Ladies


It is a return to league action for the Bradford City Women first team on Sunday as they take on Alnwick Town Ladies at their new home... the Horsfall Stadium. It is safe to say we should be in for a treat with this game as Bradford are trying to build momentum on the field to pick up those all important points to avoid the relegation zone whilst Alnwick are trying to gain their first win of the season. 

Alnwick are playing their first season in the league and I think it is safe to say that it isn't going too well for them so far as they are sitting at the bottom of the table on just one point, they do have quite a few games in hand on the teams around them so they will be looking to make an impact and try to change their fortunes around. 

As for Bradford they are going into this game in 9th place in the table just 5 points behind 8th place FC united with 4 games in hand. If Bradford can pick up points from this game it is bound to send out a warning signal to those teams around them who are also wanting to avoid the drop. On the other hand though Bradford are still just 1 point above the drop zone so they will be hoping to keep the momentum going from their past few games to get a bit further away from those teams also fitting to avoid relegation. I think if Bradford can find their feet on the new ground quickly we could see them really build on from their recent league draw with Leeds United where the team gave it their all to earn a point even after going behind a few times. I think this just goes to show how the team is really progressing this season as they aren't seeming to give up when decisions and results go against them they are really fighting to prove themselves, something that as a fan is great to see. 

Bradford are definitely going into the game in the better form but we have seen this season form means nothing in this league and anything can happen and with fixtures starting to build up. Bradford are definitely going to be giving it their all to keep that momentum going and to show those they will be playing soon they are not a team to be taken lightly. We are seeing so many improvements from the team and let's hope Sunday's result shows that. 

This is the sides first meeting and with it being on a new ground for Bradford too I think we could be in for a good game with both sides wanting those all important 3 points. With it being a pay what you want scheme at the turnstiles lets hope we also see plenty of fans come out to support the team at their new home and really get behind them to get that win. 

If you are free on Sunday afternoon definitely head down to the Horsfall Stadium to see for yourself how this game plays out. 

Kick off : 2:15pm 

Venue : Horsfall Stadium, Cemetry Road, Low Moor, Bradford, BD6 2NG

Tickets : Pay what you want 

Bradford City Women Have A New Home

 

Photo credit @bcafc_women

It is all change for Bradford City Women as they will play out the remainder of the season at their new home, the Horsfall Stadium. The team are moving away from their now former home in Eccleshill to begin a new partnership with Bradford Park Avenue. 

I actually quite liked heading to Eccleshill as it wasn't too difficult to get to and the ground its self wasn't too bad to say it was a non-league ground. However, I am really looking forward to the new chapter for the club as the Horsfall Stadium is definitely one of the best facilities in the City and should be really really beneficial for the club in the long run. Not only that but it is a lot closer for us to get to which we can't complain about. 

The Horsfall stadium is one we are familiar with thanks to the Bradford city men's team playing against Bradford Park Avenue in preseason at the ground alongside us attending a whole host of events at the stadium such as charity rugby games. It is safe to say this partnership should help align Bradford City Women within the community as it is just one of the great sports teams that will now be playing their games at the ground. 

Probably the best part of this move though is the partnership that it creates with Bradford Park Avenue and their women's team. We have seen in the men's game how the two Bradford teams work together with City players heading out to Park Avenue to gain valuable game time to help them progress in the game. If we can see a similar thing in the women's game I really do believe it will be really beneficial for those players on the verge of breaking into the first as they can go off get some game time and work on their game rather sitting on the bench watching on and waiting. It will also create the opportunity for dual registration players which again will be just as beneficial as a player going out on loan. 

The move and partnership is also going to be a very good way for more girls in Bradford get into the game and hopefully progress through the ranks to end up in the Bradford City Women's first team, it just gives them another avenue to achieve this and will hopefully keep young players at the club(s) for a longer period of time rather than going off elsewhere looking for opportunities. Fingers crossed this is just the first for partnerships with local clubs to give more young players in the City a pathway into the club and give them more opportunities to develop and work towards joining the Bradford City Women's club in the long run. 

With Bradford City Women partnering up with Bradford Park Avenue I really do believe that this is just one step towards how the club is working on developing behind the scenes, now the Foundation have seen the club in action and what needs improving I think this is just the start of developments we are going to see from the club both on and off the pitch and I think we are going to be seeing a pretty big difference with the club over the next few seasons as everything starts to gain momentum. We have already seen results start to change and with the off field changes from this season and into the future I think us fans could be in for a treat. 

The first game fro the club at Horsfall was due to be on the 27th of February however, rearrangements from cancelled games has meant the first game will now be Sunday 6th March vs Alnwick Town Ladies, with the game being a pay what you want on the day fingers crossed we see a lot of fans filling the new ground to give the team a boost for them to finish the game with those all important 3 points to get further away from the drop zone. 

With us now being in the second half of the season every point picked up counts more than ever to keep the team away from relegation so lets get Horsfall filled with fans to create a great atmosphere and really get behind the team. I have a feeling this ground move is only the beginning... 

Our Thoughts On Mark Hughes Being Appointed Bradford City Manager

 

Photo Credit : Bradford City 

It has definitely been a rough time to be a Bradford City fan, things just haven't been going to plan the past few years but have we finally found the cure to those past few seasons with the appointment of new Manager Mark Hughes? 

The is no denying that this season so far has been absolutely terrible (but more on that another day as that is a whole post itself) with results just not going our way and terrible performances on the pitch. It is safe to say the majority of us fans went into the season with high hopes thanks to promises from the club and the then new manager Derek Adams, with his track record it was hard not to be hopefully of pushing for promotion. But this didn't go to plan and it was safe to say everyone was getting frustrated. 

With the manager & team we had there is no doubt that we should have been getting much better results but something just wasn't clicking and performances were boring and painful to watch, you just knew walking into the ground you weren't going to be seeing the best from the players and I really do believe this is due to tactics and falling outs more than anything else. The tactics just seemed all wrong how you can play with 1 man up front and play the long ball every time baffles me, you need 2 upfront in this league and if you are playing the long ball you need 1 man to flick the ball onto another striker not just 1 man doing all the work for 90 minutes. We have had our fair share of injuries too which hasn't helped but we have a bench full of players that are more than capable of stepping up and putting in a good performance if they wanted to and if they were given the opportunity to. 

I wasn't a fan of Adams as our manager if I am honest, the football her orchestrated wasn't fun to watch and he didn't seem to want to change, his ego was a bit too big for my liking too. He constantly played it off as it was fans at fault rather than himself and seemed to keep bigging himself up as a manager when performances told a different story. His comment about us not finding a better manager tipped me over the edge and I wasn't bothered if he left the club. I do find it funny though as that was one of his final comments then along comes new manager Mark Hughes... 

With all the names being thrown around on who could possibly fill Adams shoes I honestly thought we would end up with Steve Evans or Richie Wellens especially with them being the most frequently spoken about names. I really didn't see Mark Hughes becoming our next manager, in fact when it was announced I was so shocked I thought it was a parody account that had tweeted it. When it finally did start to sink in though it got me thinking about what could be to come for the remainder of the season and next season. 

Mark Hughes is one of those managers who has been around for a while now and has managed at some great clubs with some big names playing at the clubs at the time, I have actually enjoyed watching the teams he has managed so lets hope that doesn't change with him now being in charge at City. With Hughes being used to managing at higher levels it is going to be interesting to see how he does with us in League 2 with standards and tactics being totally different to top leagues, I am sure given time though he will settle in nicely and find out the strengths of the team and how we can make it work in the league. He has notably had a few years away from the game too but I can't see that being too much of an issue with him and fingers crossed it brings him in with a clear view of what he wants to achieve. 

All that I can seem to think about though is the connections he possibly has from previous appointments and just his general time in the game to date, not only that his name should also bring the club to some great players attention and should help us build a great squad for the future. Granted there is not much he can do this season unless he brings in some free agents whilst that is still an available but I am more looking forward to the summer transfer period when fingers crossed we should be able to build up a strong squad and really look to push ourselves up the leagues in the future. Let's just hope we are right and his name does help bring in some great players as it is definitely needed in most positions on the pitch at the moment.

The announcement definitely seemed to help win back some fans and give them a little bit of a sense of hope after how the season has gone so far but I think most fans are going to have the same attitude of not getting their hopes up too high for the remainder of the season thanks to how the previous appointment turned out but I do believe the general sense is that we could actually be onto something good here and if given the support from the board I really hope this turns into a long term appointment and we could end up going back to the days of Phil Parkinson being in charge where fans really looked forward to game days and the stadium was full of fans chanting unlike it has been the past few months. 

I definitely aren't going to set my hopes too high with this appointment and I think it is going to take time to see drastic changes which we need but fingers crosses Hughes settles well at the club and gets plenty of backing from not only the board but the fans too, I know we have been having a bad season so far but miracles don't happen over night. We need to give Hughes time and a good chance to build his team, if results don't go our way straight away we don't need to be giving him abuse straight away because remember he inherited this team, he needs to have a chance to find out what works and to bring in the players he can work with the best. 

Fingers crossed we start to see the results change and start to go our way and lets hope the players start playing to the best of their ability now too and give Mark Hughes a reason to pick them week in week out. Hopefully we can start picking up points rather than dropping them. 

What do you think to Mark Hughes becoming Bradford City's new manager?

The Standout FAWSL Players To Me So Far This Season...

We are well into the FAWSL season now and I will be honest I am enjoying this season much more than I have others and I think that is simply down to how competitive it has been. There are no clear winners anymore and upsets have certainly been created so far and I think there could still be plenty to come. It is nice to have a season where one team isn't running away with the league and are miles ahead of the other teams, it is definitely going to be close to call and we are seeing some teams who have previously struggled really make an impact and get into some good positions in the table, Tottenham are just one great example of this as they are sitting in the top half of the table so far and have played some good football. Granted some of the bigger teams have been missing key players but it is just so nice to see different teams thrown into the mix for the title race. Throughout the season there are some players that have really caught my eye though and I think they have had some great performances and have had a big impact on their teams results. Granted I haven't been able to watch as many of the teams as I would have liked to at this stage of the season, thanks Sky & BBC for showing the same teams over and over so there will be a few players missing from this list but here are my favourites players from the FAWSL based on the games and teams I have managed to watch... 

Millie Bright

If I remember correctly Millie Bright has made it onto quite a few of these lists but honestly I believe that just goes to show how good she really is. She is still a no nonsense player who isn't afraid to put in a challenge and she is a solid part of Chelsea's defensive line up. We all know she is more than capable of getting a goal at the other end too whether it is with her head or a fantastic shot. 

Alex Greenwood 

I have been really impressed with Greenwood in a central defensive role and I think once she has a permanent centre back alongside her, hopefully Houghton when she returns fully from injury, we are really going to see a strong central defence at Man City once more. Greenwood seems to have settled into the role really well and has put in some great challenges to stop plenty more goals going in against Man City. Granted I am missing seeing her running down the wing and pushing the opposition whilst creating some chances for the club but honestly I think she looks at home in the role and just gives Taylor options for when the squad is back to full fitness, she can either continue central or move back to being a left back. 

Ella Toone

Toone is one of those players I really enjoy watching and to say she is still so young I think it is safe to say if he manages to stay major injury free she is going to become an integral part of not only Man Utd's squad but also Englands in the future. It is also great to see how much of a fan base she has already has at such a young age, I think as she progresses in her career she is really going to end up becoming a household name. So far this season it has been great to watch Toone really find her feet at the club and put in some brilliant performances. 

Mary Earps 

For me Earps has always been a very underrated and overlooked goalkeeper. She is finally starting to get her recognition though and that is thanks to some fantastic performances she has put in for Man Utd this season but at the same time some games she has barely even had to touch the ball. I think Earps is really progressing as a player and is beginning to stand out with her performances. I just hope she continues this season like she has played so far because I would love to see her as England's number 1 for the Euros. 

Vivianne Miedema 

How can you not be impressed by Miedema? She really is one of the greatest players around at the moment and I really enjoy watching her play. She has really become an integral part of Arsenal's team and I am really hoping she sticks around the FAWSL a little longer as she can really help Arsenal get back to winning trophies I believe. Not only is she great in front of goal but she can also create plenty of attacks for others and can get the team into some really dangerous positions. 

Jess Park 

Jess Park is having an absolutely fantastic season for Man City and every time she is on that pitch for me she is showing us just what we should be looking forward to as her career progresses. I think from what we have seen from her so far this season we should definitely be excited for what is to come from her as I think at only 20 years old she is in for a great career where she could become an integral part of any club she plays for. She has got people talking about her quality and abilities so fingers crossed she can continue to build on this and stay major injury free so her game time grows along with her quality on and off the ball. 

It is safe t say I haven't been able to watch as much of the FAWSL as I would have liked so far with other commitments and the TV games seemingly only focusing on specific teams more than others however, we finally have a good internet connection at home meaning I can finally watch the games on the FA Player which I haven't been able to before. So who knows by the end of the season this list could have changed massively as I get to watch more teams than previous. For now though these players are definitely firm favourites of mine and I am enjoying watching the games they play in. 

Bradford City Women Victorious Against FC United of Manchester Women

 


Bradford City Women returned to Eccleshill to face FC United of Manchester Women under the lights for another all important FAWNL league game that was always bound to be a good game with both teams looking to improve their current form and get a win under their belt. The game was a big one for Bradford though with the chance to pick up 3 points to lift them away from the relegation zone and with games in hand on those around them in the table every point from games in hand is vital. The game definitely didn't disappoint those in the crowd with Bradford putting on a brilliant performance and walking away with all 3 points after an impressive 3-0 victory. 

It was United who had the first chance of the game with an early free kick which found itself going out of play for a City goal kick. From there though it took them a while to get their next chance as City picked up pace and really started to show just what they are capable of when they put some great passes together. It took just 4 minutes for City to get on the scoreboard with Jakeman playing a great ball through to Stuart who slots the ball into the far corner to give City a deserved early lead. It was nice to see the team go ahead for a change and keep up momentum and pressing the opposition rather than taking their foot off the pedal and sitting back. United did try to draw level with City struggling to clear their lines after some good pressure from United however, the eventual shot went wide without troubling City 'keeper Kirkham. 

After that small bit of pressure City picked up momentum once more and in the 12th minute Stuart got her second of the evening, a loose ball back to the United 'keeper was closed down very quickly by Stuart who deflected the ball around the 'keeper and hit the ball in the back of the net. From there on out City just looked more motivated than ever and even had a possible goal ruled out for offside. United did keep trying to apply pressure to get a goal back but after rattling the crossbar and some fantastic saves from Kirkham they just couldn't find the back of the net. 

City went into half time 2-0 up and had certainly put on an impressive display in the first half which looked a lot better than some of the performances so far this season, they just looked stronger and like they wanted those 3 points more than ever. 

The second half was just like the second with City looking the more dominant side throughout with United having a few spells of pressure which didn't amount to much due to a brilliant defence and absolutely fantastic goalkeeping. In the 52nd minute City wrapped up the game with their 3rd and final goal of the evening, Beck went on a great attacking run and ended up riffling the ball into the top corner giving the United 'keeper no chance of saving the ball.  From this point both teams were trying their best to grab a goal however, the game ended 3-0 to City and the performance gives us all hope for the rest of the season. 

City's performance against FC United was a much better team performance with a lot of positives to take from the game, they started the game strong and kept on pushing to get the most out of the game. They chased the ball down and put pressure on United, creating some fantastic chances for themselves and getting themselves into some dangerous positions. The team moved the ball around well throughout the game creating some great paces and getting into space to go on the attack and it was nice to see the passes linking up well and plenty of attacks taking place. 

In terms of our player of the match me and Liam both agreed it could have gone to a fair few players as each one had strong parts of the game however, we both settled on a joint player of the match as it was too difficult to pick between 'keeper Kirkham and Stuart. Both these players had fantastic games with Kirkham making some brilliant saves to keep a clean sheet then you have Stuart who got 2 early goals and showed no signs of slowing down throughout the time she was on the pitch even with all the knocks she was taking from the opposition. 

This game gave Bradford those all important 3 points and lets hope City can make it 6 from 6 as they face Barnsley Women at Eccleshill on Sunday. If they play like they did against FC United I think they are in with a good chance. 

Match Preview : Bradford City Women vs FC United Women

 


Sometimes you just can't beat night games and this time Bradford City Women are back at Eccleshill under the lights as they take on FC United Women on Thursday 10th February in a 7.45pm kick off. It is the first of two home games for Bradford City Women this week and this game is going to be an interesting to get the back to back games started as both teams are looking to get back in form and pick up those all important points. 

Earlier on in the season when these teams faced off for the first time FC United took away all 3 points after a 3-1 victory and they seemed to be a very strong looking side however, injuries seem to have taken its toll on the team and they aren't doing as well as I expected at this stage in the season. It is the teams first season in the league and with games being postponed the lack of consistency is likely to have effected them just like it has the other teams. They have played more games the Bradford so far this season though so it will be interesting to see how they play compared to that game earlier in the season as Bradford look to be making progress as the season goes on but again the lack of consistency in games seems to be having an effect on the results. 

Bradford are going into this game off the back of a 2-2 draw away to Chester-Le-Street where as FC United had their game this weekend postponed so they will be going into the game with fresher legs after the break at the weekend but surely that isn't going to effect the game too much as Bradford manager Chris Hames seems to have got the team giving it their all each game so far this season and even when they have looked tired they have still pushed on and played well in the games. The whole mindset of the team seems to have shifted and you just know they are going to give it their all whether they played on Sunday or not. 

Looking back on the form of the two sides it is City who are going into the game with 1 win, 1 draw and 3 losses in their last five games whereas FC United are going in with 4 losses and 1 draw. Let's just hope the FC United don't find their form this game though and City can pick up those all important points to get them away from the danger zone they find themselves in at the moment. 

FC United are currently sat in 8th place in the table on 13 point where as Bradford are down in 11th on just 8 points, Bradford do have 3 games in hand on their opponents though so it is vital they start picking up points from the games they play as they will finally start to move up the table and away from those relegation spots. 

It is bound to be a very interesting game on Thursday night with both teams hoping to pick up the points and start to pick up pace in the league but fingers crossed Bradford start making those games in hand count and take away all 3 points from this game. 

If you are stuck for something to do this Thursday why not head down to the Mitton Group Stadium to see how the game plays out and if City can pick up their first points of the week. 

Kick off : 8pm

Stadium : Mitton Group Stadium, Eccleshill United FC, Kingsway, Bradford, BD2 1PN.

Tickets : Adults £5, Under 16's Free. 

Women's Content Is Increasing In FIFA Video Games But Can We Please Have More?

Growing up I absolutely loved playing video games and honestly I still do to this day. I used to love sitting and playing FIFA or Club Football : Manchester United 2005 and I would put hours into those games after school and football training, these days I am on FIFA most days either building my ultimate team or progressing through my career. Something that always bugged me though was that if I wanted to create a character it had to be a male one as there was no sign of any female players within the games I loved to play, this got more and more annoying as I got older and the women's game was growing as it just felt like the women weren't getting the representation they truly deserved. 

Things started to change though in FIFA 16 as after the success of the Women's World Cup in 2015 we were finally given some female players and teams and although it wasn't a lot it was still a start. We were limited to the bigger players having their faces scanned although a few of these are definitely still questionable and there were only those bigger teams included within the game. You could also only play in kick off, tournament mode or friendlies but I guess 3 modes is a start. In 2018 we were then introduced to Kim Hunter in the Journey story mode as the sister of Alex Hunter who you followed through part of his career, in 2019 though The Journey focused on Kim Hunter and her aim to play for the USWNT in the 2019 World Cup, this was great to play through but once it was done it was back to those same 3 modes for game play with the limited teams or street football mode Volta if that is what you fancied. Fast forward a few years and we might finally be seeing more progress of women coming to the FIFA games a bit more which is great to see at last but is it going to continue to grow or are we going to have to settle for just these few additions for the next few years ?

One of the new additions is the ability to play as a female player in Pro Clubs, now I don't play Pro Clubs for any female that does it is definitely a great addition. In this you can create and customise a female pro player to be used in the online 11 vs 11 game mode which also means for the first time ever you can play as part of a mixed team. It is going to be interesting to see if this is just a step forward to introducing females into more modes on the game. 

Possibly one of the biggest additions to FIFA 22 has been women's footballing legend Alex Scott coming into the game as a pitch side reporter in FIFA 22's career mode, coming into the game to replace Alan McNally is a really big step for the game and they have picked a great woman to start with and hopefully we will see a lot more over the next few years as we see more and more females commentating on the TV and radio lately. Alex Scott is one of my favourite commentators at the moment and I think she talks a lot of sense and it is nice to see her making history as the first female reporting voice in the game and this move has been one that has had a lot of positive reactions from those who play the game and those who want more female representation. It would be great if a few years down the line we could chose between either female or male commentators in the game. 

There are definitely a lot of fans of the women's game that are calling out for various leagues to be added to the game such as the NWSL, FA Women's Super League and many more from around the world. With a lot of international players now already in the game surely it is about time they introduced a few leagues to start with whilst working on getting more and more leagues at all levels added as the game grows internationally. FIFA have alienated a fan base for a long time but at least now we are finally getting to see the fan base slowly being included in the game. 

Obviously FIFA isn't the only big football video game out there as there is also Football Manager who said in 2021 they were working on adding a women's database to their game which I am looking forward to seeing and I will be doing a whole new post on that in the future as more details come out about it and I have looked into it a bit more so keep checking back for that post. It is just nice to see that slowly but surely the female games is getting a bit more recognition and the game is definitely growing off the pitch with a global game like FIFA finally adding more female representation to its games. I can't wait to see how the representation increases over the next few years as the women's game continues to grow. 

Are you glad women are finally been added to video games? 

Bradford City's Home League Return Didn't Quite Go To Plan : Bradford City Women vs Newcastle United Women Match Report



On Sunday we saw the return of FA Women's National League action at the Mitton Group Stadium in Eccleshill as Bradford City took on Newcastle United, with it being the first home league game for Bradford since September 2021 and Newcastle sitting second in the league at the start of the day on a good run of form it was always bound to be an interesting game and it certainly didn't disappoint, except for the final score for us Bradford City fans.  

The game started off with quite a few throw ins to each side as the ball spent a lot of time out on the wings however, nothing would really happen until the 6th minute when Newcastle took the lead, City 'keeper Richards came out to collect from a corner but was unable to clear the ball and the ball fell to the head of Newcastle's Robson who headed home from close range. Not long after the goal Bradford found themselves playing with 10 on the field as Katy Woodcock found herself in the sin bin, City held on though and kept up a strong performance even with a player down for 10 minutes. 

Throughout the whole first half Newcastle looked the stronger of the sides and kept on pushing for that second goal but they just couldn't find the back of the net. They had a lot of chances on goal however, City's Stuart was there to clear the Bradford lines a fair few times and when she wasn't 'keeper Richards was making some great saves to deny Newcastle a further lead. The teams went into half time with Newcastle winning 0-1 which in all honesty could have been a whole lot more but City were doing well to keep the score line looking reasonable at the break. 

Whilst the first half was a very one sided affair the second half started off well for Bradford City. Straight from kick off they went on the attack and gained a free kick in a dangerous area, the resulting goal for Knight saw Bradford draw level in the 46th minute. It really looked hopeful that Bradford could put up a fight and stay in the game but then the run of play changed once again. Around the 50th minute Newcastle really started to find their feet again and picked up their attacking pace once more and in the 53rd minute Newcastle took the lead once again, City 'keeper Richards originally got her hand to the ball to make the initial save however, the ball fell to the feet on Newcastle's Barker who slotted it home to gain the lead. 

The 56th minute saw Newcastle take the lead even further with an absolutely brilliant goal, which there was no stopping. The strike was riffled home from around 30 yards by Newcastle's Guy and there was absolutely no chance of it being saved especially with the bit of a swerve it had on whilst heading towards goal. City picked up pace a little bit after the 3rd goal and started linking some great passes together but in the 71st minute Barker picked up her second goal of the game and extended Newcastle's lead to 1-4 with a brilliant volley that made its way into the back of the net. It didn't take long for Barker to pick up her hat-trick as her shot in the 75th minute bounced over the line after hitting the bar. 

Even though Newcastle were 1-5 up they still kept pushing to increase their lead but some strong defending from City and some brilliant goalkeeping from Richards kept them at bay until the 90th minute where Newcastle ended the game with one last goal, this time from Ferguson who broke through defence and took the ball around Richards to end the game 1-6 to Newcastle. 

Looking back on the game it is safe to say Newcastle are a fantastic team who have the potential to remain top of the league for the remainder of the season as they are a very strong side and move the ball around the pitch well. At the same time though City had spells where they played well especially in the first half when they kept Newcastle's lead to just 0-1 when it could have easily been more, plus at times they moved the ball well around the pitch. Sometimes though they just looked defeated and like they had lost all hope even with the scoreline still in an achievable comeback range. There were some positive takeaways from the game though with Woodcock having a pretty good game in defence despite the scoreline along side Shepherd who also made plenty of crucial tackles throughout the 90 minutes. Richards also had a good game in goal making some brilliant saves to deny Newcastle plenty more goals and it is great seeing her confidence grow as the season progresses, she is definitely willing to go for the ball a lot more than at the start of the season. 

Our player of the match though definitely has to be Charlotte Stuart once again. She covered plenty of the pitch winning some important challenges in the middle of the field and she made some very important challenges in the defence to stop Newcastle in the first half and she continued stepping up and making important challenges even whilst catching a few knocks in the process. 

Newcastle definitely showed us how good of a side they are and fingers crossed Bradford can bounce back from the defeat in their next league game as they take on Durham Cestria away, fingers crossed we can walk away with some points from that game. 

In Conversation With Gareth Davis

Photo credit : www.twitter.com/bcafc_women

For our final Bradford City Women's interview of the week we got the chance to chat to Gareth Davis, who will be stepping into the dugout for his first home league game as part of the official first team coaching staff when Bradford City Women take on Newcastle United. Gareth's appointment to the first team is bound to be a very beneficial one for the team as there is no doubting his passion for the game and optimism for the future of the team. So here is how our conversation with Gareth went... 

EOTA : How did you originally get involved in the club? 

Gareth : It was very much by chance. When the pandemic started in 2020 due to COVID19 my football coaching stopped just like everything did for everyone.  Qasim asked if I would like to get involved with the women's team in January 2021 with the U23's and as I was not doing much, I thought i would be a good time to challenge myself . I had been involved in the women game before but family commitments took over. 

EOTA : You have recently stepped up to the 1st team coaching set up, how did that happen? 

Gareth : It was all thanks to Qasim stepping away to concentrate on things off field for Bradford City Women. Chris asked me if I would like to step up, it took me a week or so to decide as I had started to see changes with the U23's and would have like to seen it through to the end of the season. The U23's are in great hands though with Stephen, Paul and Manny .On the other hand opportunity like this don't come around every day and I don't want to look back and regret not taking it in years to come. 

EOTA : What are you looking forward to now you are part of the 1st team coaching set up? 

Gareth : The work I was doing with the U23s has got me this far so I am not going to change much I want to keep my standards high and passion for the game of football rubbing off on people. I want to see the U23's and 1st team putting in great performances week in week out making the club a force to be reckoned within the women's game.

EOTA : You have seen the team from various angles, from the stand, from the dugout and at training, how do you feel the team have progressed since the start of the season?

Gareth : It's been a very strange season for lots of different reasons . It feels to me the season has never really got going. As a player you want a run of games to get stuck into and I don't think we have had that yet. We have a a run of games coming up so I think the next 3/4 league game will be true reflection of the team, the girls have given their all in training since we came back after Christmas. We are not kidding ourselves 8 points is not a good return at this stage of the season. We know we have to give our all to the end of the season. What has gone we can't change but what's to come we can control. It's in our hands. 

EOTA :  Newcastle are currently sat 2nd in the league so it is bound to be a tough game for the team but how do you think they will fair on the day? 

Gareth : My job as a coach is to make sure the girls are prepared to deliver there best on the day mental and physically. 2nd in the league bottom of the league we prepare the same way. Nothing changes as to what is in front of us, getting points from games that we deserve.

EOTA :  We are entering the second half of the season and City have a few games in hand on those around them, do you think they have a good chance of climbing up the table? 

Gareth : As I said before runs of games are key. The stop start in the 1st half of the season has not helped. As a group we know we need to climb the table it's in our hands to do so if we want to do it enough it will happen . No one in this league will hand you points you have to earn them and that's what we will be doing, looking to work hard for every point available going forwards. 

EOTA : We are seeing a big push to get fans in the ground for this game vs Liverpool Feds and future games, if anyone is unsure about spending their Sunday afternoon watching the team what do you say to them?  

Gareth : The women's Euros are coming up in the summer and it it great to see football close up and capture the next generation of footballers and football supporters.

So there you go that is how our chat with Bradford City Women's Gareth Davis went, the team have definitely gained a great member of coaching staff with Gareth joining the first team and I think he can be really beneficial in helping the team progress in the future. We have spoke to Gareth plenty of times in the past thanks and it is safe to say his passion for the progress of the club is there and I think we are going to see that on the pitch too as his passion through coaching will hopefully rub off on to the players and results will still soon start improving. 

Don't forget there are plenty more interviews coming from the Bradford City Women's team & management but who else would you like to see us chat to in the 'In Conversation' series? Anyone from your supported club? Let us know as we would love to get more people & clubs involved in this series.