By Chris Routledge
City made the long trip north this week to play Newcastle Utd. They were hoping for a change in league fortune after freely scoring in the County Cup last week. The pitch at Druid Park, Newcastle was within a stone’s throw of the airport and planes taking off were seen at close quarters throughout the match. The pitch was a 3G artificial surface and obviously used for a wide range of sports as there were as many lines on the pitch as a bar code from the side of a baked beans tin. These would contribute to City’s downfall as they were not only confusing, in different colours and partially visible.
With several first team players being out for a variety of reasons, manager Chris Hames only had one substitute so it was going to be a hard afternoon. The match kicked off with both teams getting forward and competing well. Newcastle had the first chances from a corner though producing a good point blank save from Routledge the City keeper and Beth Shepherd clearing the goal-bound second attempt. It wasn’t long before City conceded though as Newcastle struck first with a shot rebounding under the crossbar and rolling over the line. The highlight of the first half for City was a well taken free kick from Jemma White that produced a good save from the Newcastle keeper.
Half Time - Newcastle Utd Women 1-0 Bradford City Women
The second half started very much where the first half ended, lots of midfield battles but not many real chances, Newcastle did get a second under rather bizarre circumstances, a long hopeful ball cleared from the Newcastle defence was picked up by Routledge not under any sort of pressure at all, only to realise that she had stepped out of her area due to the poorly marked out pitch, this was spotted by the referees assistant as the referee was still in the centre circle. The Newcastle forward grabbed the ball and chipped it into the net, with the defence not being set and the keeper only being a few yards from the ball there was nothing that could be done to stop what was a very soft goal. City players looked on in disbelief at the referee awarding the goal with no consideration for the kick being taken in the correct place or a rolling ball.
With 20 minutes left City had Newcastle on the back foot, several players having half chances and the pace of City’s only substitute Amelia White causing problems still couldn’t find a reply as the game played out in a fragmented manor. A combination of injury stoppages and losing the balls over the stand or in the adjoining Travelodge car park an additional eight minutes of time was added but Newcastle held out.
Full Time - Newcastle Utd Women 2 - 0 Bradford City Women
City were brave but unlucky today, Keeper Routledge carried an injury from the 15 th minute and Charlotte Stuart twisting an ankle deep into the second half makes them both requiring remarkable powers of recovery to be fit for next week’s game against Chester Le Street.
Manager Chris Hames saw a lot of positives in the performance, but is under no illusions about the task ahead. He said: “Our structure and shape were close to being spot on today. We frustrated a side who have lots of confidence, particularly at home, and the work rate that required was given in abundance from the whole team.
“It was a massive improvement from our last trip up to the north east. We are not far away from getting the break we need, but again it was individual mistakes that cost us, and we need to just ride through them whilst our luck is low.
“Time is not on our side, whilst we are close to showing our potential, each game that passes is another that we don’t have points in, so we know we need to start turning performance into result soon"