Bradford City Women got their County Cup defence off to an ideal start on Sunday with an incredible 22-0 victory over Battyeford Belles.
The Bantams quite simply ran riot on the day with a dominant performance on home soil that saw Emma Elliot bag six goals in 45 minutes on her full debut for the team.
Following her, midfielder Olivia Thackray grabbed a hat-trick, whilst there were also braces for Danielle Whitham, Hannah Campbell, Abi McIver and Faye Boshell.
Chantelle O’Hara’s fantastic long range effort contributed to taking the total to 15 for half time, whilst Alarna Fuller and Abi Lee were also on target.
The second half didn’t bring about as many goals for a cruising home side, but there were still seven strikes, with Paige Crosby and Rosie McDonnell adding to the grand total of 22 that takes City into the next round of the competition in style.
The Bantams started quickly against their lower-league opponents, with Elliot testing the goalkeeper early on, but the stopper coming out on top on the five minute mark.
Battyeford were keen to withstand the early waves of attack from their opponents, with conceding early on a must-avoid scenario as it would surely open the floodgates for their superior hosts.
Whitham, Thackray and Lee saw efforts miss the target in the opening 10 minutes, whilst McDonnell headed over from a corner as Bradford looked to break the deadlock as soon as possible.
The Belles resisted well but the scoring would be opened with 11 minutes played, Elliot the scorer as she latched onto Whitham’s through ball and calmly slotted home to give the Bantams the goal they deserved.
This really did open the floodgates too as City simply out-classed their opponents in every area of the pitch to bag 15 before the break.
Elliot had her brace four minutes after bagging her first goal for the club, having made the switch from Harrogate Railway this summer and impressed with the Bantams’ reserves in order to earn a starting berth in this cup clash.
Her performance today certainly gives manager Steve Winterburn something to think about too, as the striker went on to bag six goals, even if they came against a lesser opponent.
The next five minutes then brought about four goals as Bradford simply ran riot. Chantelle O’Hara’s 25 yard strike made it three, Whitham added another when she converted McDonnell’s cross, then Elliot played in Thackray to score before Fuller headed in Lee’s corner on the 20 minute mark to make it six.
The Bantams weren’t going to take their foot off the gas now that they were flying either, with O’Hara stinging the palms of the ‘keeper from range a minute later.
Elliot in particular certainly wasn’t going to stop as she searched for her hat-trick, and she completed it in the 23rd minute, O’Hara turning provider this time as the striker showed great composure, once more, to find the back of the net.
Centre-back Boshell got in on the action two minutes later, heading in from a corner, whilst McDonnell registered another assist as her pass was dummied by Campbell, allowing Whitham to bag her brace.
Elliot grabbed another with a simple tap-in moments later, whilst she managed her second assist of the day seven minutes after – finding top-scorer Campbell who grabbed her first with the help of the inside of the post.
Elliot was back amongst the goals 60 seconds later after pouncing on the rebound of McDonnell’s saved shot, and she managed her sixth and final strike of the day in stoppage time as she was removed after a more than impressive 45 minutes.
This was one of three goals in injury time, with Campbell heading in McDonnell’s cross and Lee tapping in with ease, either side of Elliot’s last goal.
Cruising at the break with the scoreline reading 15-0, Winterburn saw it fit to make three changes, with O’Hara, Campbell and Elliot those withdrawn for Katie Nutter, Shauna Legge and McIver, respectively.
However, it was a defender who was next on the scoresheet just three minutes after the restart as Crosby ensured the entire back four found the back of the net in the game.
Substitute McIver would make a prolific impact off the bench too though, netting the first of two goals for her on the day with 11 minutes of the second half gone, having rounded the ‘keeper after latching onto Thackray’s through ball.
Another half time change, Legge, would provide McIver with her second less than 10 minutes later, the winger, who scored two in the 5-1 win over Guiseley Vixens in midweek, driving down the right and slipping her teammate in to bag her brace.
This was one of three doubles to be completed in the second period, with Thackray the next to do so in a lower-scoring half that produced just the seven goals for the Bantams.
Whitham and McDonnell linked up down the wing to give the midfielder the chance to make it two for her, the former playing in the latter who laid the ball off for Thackray to emphatically finish as we entered the final 10 minutes.
McDonnell then finally got herself on the scoresheet to ensure all of City’s starting outfield players got a goal, volleying home in the 81st minute as the ‘keeper found her effort too powerful to parry, with it flying into the back of the net despite her getting a hand to it.
Despite the final whistle nearing, Thackray still found time to turn her brace into a hat-trick in the final five minutes, striking home from inside the area to take her tally to three for the day.
The scoring was then completed in stoppage time, with Boshell heading home for the second time from another dangerous corner to take the tally to 22 for the day, and an impressive 22 at that.
Though more than expected to beat their opponents, Bradford were convincing and professional in every aspect of their performance, unwilling to drop their intensity despite their winning margin constantly rising.
Winterburn will also be pleased to have a selection headache ahead of the team’s trip to Stoke City at the weekend, with many having impressed in the game and both Sarah Danby and Charlotte Stuart still to come into the team - two players who have been regular starters throughout the season so far.
The confidence that the Bantams will take into the game will be a big factor too, with this victory making it five in a row in all competitions as they prepare to avenge that 4-1 loss at home to Stoke last month – which was the last time they tasted defeat.
As for the County Cup, City will face Wetherby Athletic in the second round after their 6-3 win over Leeds Medics and Dentists this afternoon.
Incidentally, Bradford’s ‘A’ Team defeated Wetherby’s reserves 9-1 on Sunday to ensure another win for the club, and so Athletic will be hoping for revenge for their second team when they face the two first XIs face off next month.