By Matthew Kermode
Bradford City WFC fell at the first hurdle in the FAWNL Cup Determining Round thanks to a 1-0 defeat on the road to fellow Division 1 North side Liverpool Feds.
In searing heat on a heavy 3G pitch City started brightly, but the first significant action came on 15 minutes when City skipper Zoe Roberts conceded a corner which was easily dealt with by keeper Aimee Routledge.
After a much-needed drinks break after half-an-hour the home side had another chance, but the direct free kick from the edge of the box was easy for Routledge. She then launched a long kick up field for last Sunday’s hat-trick hero Falone Sumaili to chase, but she was closed down on the edge of the Liverpool box and the attack broke down.
With a couple of minutes to go until the break Liverpool piled on the pressure, but City’s back line defended stubbornly, with Routledge and Roberts both making last ditch clearances off the line in the midst of an old-fashioned goalmouth scramble.
Half Time - Liverpool Feds 0 - 0 Bradford City
Manager Steve Winterburn brought on Ellie Edwards to replace Kate Donnan at the break, but only a couple of minutes later the decisive moment came. Jen Rogers picked up a through ball that split the City defence, and was able to chip the ball over Routledge into the City net to put Liverpool ahead.
City dug deep and went close just before the hour mark when Ellie Prothero and Megan Maxted combined well on the left to force a corner. Roberts saw her cross tipped onto the bar, but Sophie Parrish was unable to put home the rebound and headed just wide of the far post.
With 20 minutes to go there was a lengthy stoppage as Liverpool keeper Deanne Tomkins rushed out to challenge Sumaili on the edge of the box. The home stopper came off worse in the collision and hobbled off after treatment on the pitch.
City continued to push for an equaliser, but a very physical Liverpool team dominated the midfield exchanges and continued to frustrate City.
In the dying moments Winterburn brought Liuli Dyson and Amelia Hunt on, but it was too late to change the course of the game, and Liverpool held on for the win.
Full Time - Liverpool Feds 1 - 0 Bradford City
The City manager was honest in his assessment of the game and the conditions. He said:
“A disappointing performance today which was mostly down to the blistering temperature. Not helped by finding out on our arrival that it was to be played on a 3G artificial pitch which was not the information we received and very frustrating for me and the players.
“Overall, praise has to be given to both sets of players for playing in the unbearable heat but it wasn’t a good watch for anyone. City’s biggest disappointment was our passing game which was way below par. Things to work on and improvement needed before our next league fixture.”
City will have chance to turn things around when they travel to Chester-le-Street in the FAWNL Division 1 North next Sunday, before a mouth-watering clash with Leeds United at Eccleshill United on September 4th.