Bradford City Women’s six game winning streak came to an end in disappointing fashion at Newcastle United on Sunday, with Magpies running out 3-1 winners on the day.
Bradford started well in a first half of few chances, but it was the Toon Army who led at the break thanks to a dubious penalty – the referee judging Shauna Legge to have fouled her opponent in the box, when it looked to be well outside.
However, the man in the middle was never going to change his mind and Newcastle took full advantage of the decision by smashing home from the spot.
The Bantams really piled the pressure on in the second half and, after coming close a few times, were finally able to get themselves back on level terms with just over 20 minutes remaining – Sarah Danby the scorer with a cute finish at the near post.
The visitors pushed for all three points from here, but were to be punished on the counter as a lack of communication from City on the right allowed their opponents in to regain the lead.
Newcastle then wrapped things up late on, making it 3-1 with just a minute to go and condemning Bradford to their first defeat in seven games.
On such a fantastic winning run, the Bantams came into the game full of confidence and that showed from the off as they came close to breaking the deadlock twice on the six minute mark.
Top-scorer Hannah Campbell, who came into this match on 11 goals from 11 games this season, had the first chance, but saw her header tipped over the bar well by the Newcastle ‘keeper, whilst City would hit the post from the following corner.
However, this hardly set the tone for the first half as it was a 45 minute period lacking in chances and real goal mouth action in a tight and well fought contest.
Newcastle would grow into the game though and had a glorious opportunity to take the lead with 24 minutes played after City’s Chloe Precious could not keep hold of a powerful shot at her goal.
Fortunately for the visitors, their opponents did not take the chance, blasting the loose ball high and wide from close range.
The Magpies would take the lead in the match though and in controversial fashion as they were awarded a penalty with just three minutes left until the break.
Legge conceded it, getting the wrong side of her player, and there were few arguments about it being a foul, but whether or not it was in the box was certainly debatable.
Nonetheless, this was of little concern to the hosts and Jess Havelock, who stepped up to smash the spot kick into the roof of the net brilliantly.
City weren’t disheartened though, ending the half well as, less than a minute later, Danielle Whitham saw her shot from 20 yards parried by the ‘keeper. The loose ball was recycled well and worked back to the edge of the box, but the eventual effort strayed wide of the mark.
Half time followed shortly after, giving the Bantams a chance to regroup, and it was a chance they took as they came out after the interval focused and looking a threat.
Olivia Thackray had a chance to give them the equaliser they were searching for just six minutes after the restart, Legge beating the ‘keeper to the ball in the air and allowing it to fall kindly for her teammate, but Thackray could not make the most of it as she fired over the bar.
However, the Bantams would get the goal they deserved with just over 20 minutes remaining as Danby got her name on the scoresheet for the third league game in a row.
The forward has been a real thorn in Newcastle’s side in recent years, scoring five goals in her five appearances against them, and she made that six in six when she brilliantly finished Campbell’s cross at the front post to level the scores.
Looking to capitalise on the momentum they now had, Bradford pushed on in search of all three points and their seventh successive win, with Campbell coming close when she found space to head at goal from less than 10 yards, but she could only direct the effort right at the ‘keeper.
Instead though, City’s hard work would be undone with six minutes remaining as Newcastle put themselves back into the lead.
It was a disappointing goal to concede as a lack of communication on the right gave the hosts a chance to break forward, and they took full advantage of this when Jess Foster fired the ball into the back of the net with an emphatic 20 yard strike.
Just to be sure though, the Toon Army added a third in the final minute of the 90 – City again proving to be the architects of their own downfall.
With the visitors pushing heavily for an equaliser, they were always suspect to the counter and a defensive error allowed Newcastle to exploit this, with Ellie Dobson sealing the three points for her side.
It was a disappointing defeat for the Bantams for many reasons, though the main one will be because of their performance on Coach Lane, with sloppy errors and slight lapses in concentration proving costly in undoing some great character that saw them get back into the game and really start to dominate.
Having defeated Newcastle here earlier this season in the cup too, City will have been confident in securing their second win of the campaign over the Magpies, but fell short on the day.
However, the team will now look to focus on ensuring this was just a one-off bad day at the office by bouncing back this Sunday at home to local rivals Huddersfield Town and getting back to winning ways.
On another note, it was really nice to see this ad during Newcastle's game this weekend...