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Match Reports


17 April 2024

Match Reports


17 April 2024

Bradford City Women lost their first competitive match of 2024 on Sunday, suffering a 1-0 defeat away at Barnsley FC Women in the quarter-final of the League Cup. 

Despite a host of chances falling to the Bantams, a late goal from Barnsley’s Kirstie Nicholls was enough to secure the home side’s passage through to the semi-finals.

With City’s league form remaining untarnished in 2024, hopes were high ahead of kick-off that a full-strength side – with returning Laura Wilson in goal – could pick up another impressive result on the road.

However, Barnsley demonstrated early on why they are one of this season’s promotion candidates in the North East Regional Women’s Football League (NERWFL).

The first five minutes saw City barely able to leave their own half, with Barnsley harrying the Bantams’ backline the second they got possession of the ball.

Only impressive defending from City’s centre-half Sharone Buckle – their Player of the Match on the day – and full-back Matilda Fernie prevented Barnsley finding an opener early on.

As the game neared the first quarter of an hour, against the run of play, City nearly found an opener themselves.

Midfielder Kanisha Underdown – part of so much that City do well – launched a ball forward that had Barnsley centre-half Stephanie Rigby scrambling back to recover, with Bantams forward Aaliyah Nolan chasing her down.

Rigby miscontrolled the ball as it came down, allowing Nolan to dispossess her and burst into the box. The defender clearly recognised her mistake, as before Nolan could get a shot away, a fabulous sliding tackle prevented what would surely have been an opener.

Despite having the best chance of the match, City were still being kept in their own half for the majority of the first 45 minutes, and struggled to work the ball to their usual pacey outlets in Nolan and Mia Jacobs.

Similarly, while dominating possession for large chunks of the opening period, Barnsley lacked the cutting edge needed in the final third and the break saw both teams head in level, with limited chances throughout.

City’s Manager, Em Senior, clearly wanted a reaction, and the Bantams flew out of the blocks for the second half.

A minute after kick-off, Hannah Markey picked the ball up 25 yards out and played a delightful through ball for Jacobs to run clear down the right-hand side, but City’s prolific scorer this season could only hit the side netting of the near post once in a shooting position.

Five minutes later, Underdown played another lob over Barnsley’s backline that Nolan reacted to quickest. The striker was one on one with Barnsley’s ‘keeper Ashleigh Ridsdel-Harrison, chipping the ball over her outstretched arm only to see it come crashing back off the crossbar.

With an hour played, full-back Matilda Fernie demonstrated why Senior continues to select her at only 16-years old. Having cut out a dangerous Barnsley counter-attack, the defender had the composure to turn, look up and play Nolan down the left channel, cutting the entire Barnsley midfield out in the process.

After playing a cute one-two with Markey, Nolan could not convert the chance, however.

Barnsley continued to pose a threat, and City were nearly caught out in the 65th minute by a counter-attack that required Buckle to boot the ball clear as the last defender, with Barnsley forward Jodie Gregory clean through otherwise.

For all their good work in the match, City were undone by a hopeful Barnsley goal-kick launched forwards in the 77th minute, as the hosts took a late lead.

Centre-half Dani Trickett won the initial header, playing the ball across to her partner Buckle. However, Nicholls was alive to the situation and nipped in before Buckle could react, bursting into the box and lobbing the onrushing Laura Wilson to give Barnsley the upper hand.

City had just over 10 minutes to respond, and they were nearly level five minutes from time when Underdown again curled a ball into the box that was begging to be scored from, but Trickett could not make enough contact when sliding in and Ridsdel-Harrison gathered.

Unfortunately for Senior’s side, the equaliser never came, and City’s first competitive defeat of 2024 allows them to turn their full attention to finishing the final four matches of their league campaign as strongly as possible.

CITY: Laura Wilson, Daniella Trickett, Charlie Ramsden, Sharone Buckle, Hannah Markey, Kanisha Underdown, Aaliyah Nolan, Monika Stube (C), Mia Jacobs, Hollie Barraclough, Matilda Fernie. SUBS: Tiffany Whelan, Jade Foster, Imogen Hayhurst, Summer Paley.

BARNSLEY: Ashleigh Ridsdel-Harrison, Stephanie Rigby, Charley Evans, Amy Dawson, Victoria Chinchard, Alayna Millard, Kimberley Brown, Jodie Gregory, Louisa Barraclough, Betty Cheetham, Melissa Turton-Burrell. SUBS: Madison Foye, Kirstie Nicholls, Bethany Ayrton, Nicole Shaw, Eliza Holland.

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