Bradford City Women got back to winning ways in emphatic fashion on Sunday as they breezed past fourth division opposition Norton & Stockton, winning 17-0 in an incredibly dominant performance.
Despite just the one tier separating the two, City showed their class throughout, 3-0 up inside 20 minutes, which became five before the half hour mark and nine before half time.
The first half saw Olivia Thackray open the scoring, whilst Rosie McDonnell added to this a few minutes later. Following this, Abi McIver got the first of her four goals – all of which came in the opening 45 minutes – whilst Hannah Campbell, another hat-trick hero, opened her account for the day.
Chantelle O’Hara was another of the scorers in the first period, whilst Thackray grabbed a second. The former made hers a brace too within 13 minutes of the restart, and the defenders got in on the action in the second half too, with Danielle Whitham getting one from right-back as centre-half Charlotte Stuart found the top corner from distance.
Campbell completed her hat-trick in the final few minutes of the game as City kept their high intensity until the final whistle, whilst McDonnell got another, Abi Lee slotted home and Whitham’s cross produced an own goal to take the score to an incredible 17 and the Bantams into the next round.
With manager Steve Winterburn citing this competition and this match as one which can help the team rectify some rather erratic league form, it perhaps came as little surprise that it was a game that City took very seriously, fielding a full strength side despite the cup often considered a lesser competition – especially in the early stages.
The quality on show was evident from the off too, with the Bantams comfortably in control, despite being away from home, and they were able to take the lead after just nine minutes through Thackray.
Great work from McDonnell on the left wing started the deadlock-breaking move, and it was her cross who found McIver in the area, the summer arrival teeing up Thackray to stroke home from the edge of the box.
Just over five minutes later, McDonnell made it two, Lee battling well in midfield to regain possession before slotting her teammate through on goal, and the winger did the rest, neatly finding the back of the net.
The goals just continued to come and come for the travelling Bantams from there, with their Premier League quality showing against their lower division opponents, with McIver the next on target to make it three after only 17 minutes.
Campbell’s efforts on the right created that one, and she followed this up with a goal of her own before the half hour mark, making a darting run in behind the Norton & Stockton defence and coming out on top in the one-on-one, coolly finishing.
With the confidence flowing now as the hosts really started to crumble, City went through the gears, constantly keeping the intensity high, despite the scoreline. McIver bagged a brace just short of the half hour mark, whilst O’Hara also got her name on the scoresheet after good link-up play in the middle.
Less than a minute later, Thackray got her second, following up McDonnell’s saved shot and easily tapping home, whilst McIver got her hat-trick five minutes before the break, McDonnell with the cross this time.
The striker still had time to grab her fourth of the day before half time though, McDonnell again involved as her cross caused mayhem in the six-yard box, which McIver capitalised on, prodding home to make it nine at the interval.
The former Sheffield FC forward did not get chance to add to her personal tally for the day, taken off just before the hour for Paige Crosby, which allowed her teammates to catch up – O’Hara the next to reach the two-goal mark, on the cusp of a hat-trick, when her effort went in off the post.
Whitham was the next to get in on the action, City’s right-back bursting forward and getting on the end of another of Lee’s well-weighted through balls, emphatically smashing it into the back of the net.
Fellow defender Stuart followed suit, going on a determined run up the pitch from the centre of the back line and powering her shot into the top corner from 30 yards, having been given the time and space to do so.
Campbell joined O’Hara and Thackray on two goals with just less than 20 minutes to play, using her pace to break through the home defence before hitting a shot into the back of the net that was simply too powerful for the ‘keeper to cope with – making it 13-0.
The final stages were not relaxed from City either, with them continuing to get forward and pose countless problems, with an unfortunate own goal bumping the tally up to 14 with 78 minutes gone, Whitham’s cross diverted into the back of her own net by one of Norton’s defenders.
Having grabbed her second of the day just 10 minutes prior, Campbell bagged her hat-trick with seven minutes to play, Thackray threading McDonnell through on goal whose typically unselfish play put it on a plate for the right-winger to finish for three.
McDonnell would get another a minute later though, again using her great pace to latch onto a through ball, but this time going herself, striking low and hard to beat the ‘keeper.
The scoring was concluded in the 86th minute by another lively performer who deserved to be on the scoresheet – Lee showing great composure to take the grand total to 17, Crosby picking her out after a great lofted pass from Stuart.
Though the tie was played against a lower ranked opponent, City really showed what they are made of in the game and what they can do, blowing away an opponent who are only one league below them.
The confidence gained from the game will be priceless too, and the Bantams can take this into their next fixture – the following round of this competition, which will be played against Leicester City Women this coming Sunday.