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Match Reports

CITY MAKE IT SIX UNBEATEN WITH WIN AT SOUTH SHIELDS

29 February 2024

Match Reports

CITY MAKE IT SIX UNBEATEN WITH WIN AT SOUTH SHIELDS

29 February 2024

Bradford City Women’s hot streak of form saw them claim another three points away at South Shields this past Sunday, with a 2-1 victory leaving them still unbeaten in 2024.

Seeking to go one better than the 1-1 draw played out at home to South Shields last October, a brace from City’s player of the moment, Mia Jacobs, saw the Bantams emerge with a 2-1 win and claim four points from a possible six against their North-Eastern opponents this season.

City boss Em Senior made two changes from the side that beat Spennymoor Town last time out, with Ellie Prothero and Laura Wilson unavailable, and Matilda Fernie and Kadie Dobinson – called up from the under-23s – in their place.

The Bantams are arguably the form team currently in the North East Regional Women’s Football League (NERWFL), and as early as the third minute, they showed why.

Midfielder Kanisha Underdown showed tenacity in winning the ball back for her side, allowing her to release winger Maria McKenna down the channel. She in turn found centre-forward Aaliyah Nolan, who nearly opened the scoring, but her shot fizzed just wide of the right-hand post.

South Shields recognised City’s threat, and began to retain composure in the early stages, picking their passes more carefully.

Loose passes from the Bantams however eventually called into action ‘keeper Kadie Dobinson, who, on her first start for City’s first team, showed great sweeping abilities when South Shields found themselves through 1-on-1.

South Shields’ No.10, Sophie Curle, picked up the ball just in front of City’s backline, and played centre-forward Eve Gatens clean through on the right-hand side of the penalty area.

Were it not for the sharp reactions of Dobinson, who immediately rushed off her line to smother the ball, the Bantams would have found themselves behind.

However, as they have done regularly of late, City showed a reaction, and in the 15th minute, they got their reward.

Forward Mia Jacobs defied her small frame to win a header on the halfway line, nodding the ball down into her path to utilise her blistering pace down the right channel. South Shields centre-half, Alliyah Ali, tried to intercept, but Jacobs dinked it past her, broke into the box, and slotted past ‘keeper Scarlett Gowans to give City a 1-0 lead.

The Bantams spent the next 10 minutes camped in South Shields’ half, unable to find another breakthrough, despite dazzling footwork from Underdown allowing her to skip past two markers and play a delightful ball over the top for Nolan to run onto, but Gowans was quick to react off her line and gathered.

With half an hour played, Dani Trickett and Sharone Buckle continued to show how their solid connection at the back was allowing City’s forwards to flourish.

Under pressure from two South Shields’ attackers, Buckle required the assistance of her centre-back partner to clear from danger, with Trickett finding Jacobs in doing so and enabling the forward to engage in one of her trademark mazy runs down the right-hand side. She played a cross into the box as a result, but was unable to connect with a City shirt.

The first half ended with City firmly on top and deserving of their lead.

After the break, there was clear intention from South Shields to take the fight to City early on in the second period, requiring Buckle to demonstrate footwork not usually associated with a strong centre-half, to evade two challenges and drive her team upfield.

With 10 second-half minutes played, Underdown tried her luck with a shot from 25 yards out that was heading for the top corner, but lacked the pace needed to prevent Gowans from making a comfortable save.

It did not take long thereafter for City to find their rhythm again, however, and they found their second goal of the match within 15 minutes of the restart, thanks again to Mia Jacobs.

The forward picked the ball up this time down the left, and took a shot that was parried away by Gowans into the path of Nolan. With the goal seemingly gaping, Nolan took aim but an incredible sliding block from South Shields defender Jennifer Wootten prevented her finding the back of the net. Fortunately, Jacobs was quickest to react again, picking up the rebound and slotting in for her second of the match.

After the second goal, the rest of the half saw a series of free-kicks awarded to the home side in dangerous areas, as they tried to claw their way back into the game.

City captain Monika Stube showed great defensive diligence to help out her defenders at set-pieces, winning numerous headers and second-balls.

However, the pressure that South Shields built throughout the second 45 inevitably lead to them getting a goal back in the 86th minute.

Gatens did well to hold off pressure from City winger Imogen Hayhurst down the left channel, allowing her to turn and play a pass inside to Sophie Curle. The midfielder showed great feet to skip away from Trickett’s outstretched leg, before rushing into the box and slotting past Dobinson into the far corner.

Thankfully for the Bantams, it was too little too late, and they held on for a victory that sees them keep fourth place in the league, three points off the top and unbeaten in their last six matches.

CITY: Dani Trickett, Charlie Ramsden, Sharone Buckle, Hannah Markey, Kanisha Underdown, Aaliyah Nolan, Monika Stube (C), Mia Jacobs, Matilda Fernie, Maria McKenna, Kadie Dobinson. SUBS: Jade Foster, Imogen Hayhurst, Hollie Barraclough, Summer Paley.

GOALS: Jacobs (15’, 59’).

SOUTH SHIELDS: Scarlett Gowans, Alliyah Ali, Monica Innes, Natalie May, Annece Legg, Eve Gatens, Sophie Curle, Jennifer Wootten, Becki McMahon (C), Zoe Norton, Jasmine Elliot-Wood. SUBS: Sophie Greener, Rebecca Emery, Erin Taylor, Ellie White, Josie Foster

GOALS: Curle (86’).


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