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. 

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