By Matthew Kermode
Following manager Steve Winterburn’s retirement the previous Monday, City have fallen to two heavy losses, first away at Barnsley in the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round, then to neighbours Brighouse in the FAWNL Division 1 North.
City started brightly on a heavy pitch in driving rain, but the majority of the early action was played out in the middle third. City captain Zoe Roberts attempted one of her trademark long range shots early on but Town keeper Katie Kefford claimed it easily.
With 24 minutes gone Monika Stube picked up the ball and drove at the home defence, her through ball found Harriet Jakeman as she ran through, but the City midfielder was unable to find the target and blasted wide.
Then a minute later Brighouse broke, Katy Woodcock mistimed a tackle in the City box, and Annabelle Cass opened the scoring from the resulting spot kick.
This clearly rattled City, and by the half hour mark Brighouse has grabbed another two. First Aimi Beresford’s shot on the turn was cruelly deflect past Aimee Routledge, then less than a minute later former Bantam Hannah Campbell found the top corner of Routledge’s net for a first goal on her debut for Brighouse.
City finished the half brightly, and Maisie Norde should have pulled one back for City as she ran clear to pick up Jemma White’s defence splitting pass, but she fired straight at the home keeper. With a minute left in the half Stube held up the ball well before laying back to Megan Maxted, who’s thunderous shot looped over Kefford but rebounded away off the crossbar.
Half Time - Brighouse Town 3 - 0 Bradford City
Bradford started the second half brightly, and winger Stube brought out a diving save from Kefford with a powerful shot just after the break.
After 53 minutes City made a change, bringing on top scorer Falone Sumaili for White, who had worked tirelessly for no reward on her own upfront. Sumaili struggled to get into the game though, and was well-marshalled by an organised and strong Brighouse defence.
City’s player of the match Routledge pulled off a spectacular point blank save from Campbell but it was the Brighouse number nine who had the final say on 65 minutes, scoring her second and Brighouse’s fourth on 65 minutes with a simple finish as City’s defenders appealed in vain for handball.
As the rain became heavier was brought down on the edge of the box Sumaili tried to wriggle through the resolute Brighouse back line. Roberts curled her free kick around the wall and over the diving Kefford, but saw the ball drop agonisingly inches over the bar.
The final ten minutes were relatively uneventful, and the game fizzled out to a tame end in ever-worsening weather conditions.
Full Time - Brighouse Town 4 - 0 Bradford City
City now sit second from bottom in the division, but have up to three games in hand over some of their rivals.
Next up for City’s first team is a home game against Leeds in the league cup on Sunday October 13th, while the Reserves make the trip north to Middlesbrough on the same day.
Meanwhile off the pitch, the closing date for applications for the vacant manager’s position is Wednesday 16th, the club have already received over a dozen CVs.
City line-up: Routledge, Roberts (c) (Donnan, 79), Parrish, Maxted, Woodcock, Sales (Prothero, 61), Stube, Hunt, Norde, Jakeman, White (Sumaili, 53)
Unused subs: Jacobs, Shepherd