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Coventry City 2 Bradford City 0
Coventry City ended a highly successful year with a hard earned 2-0 victory over a resilient Bradford City at the Bedworth Oval to take over at the top of the FAWPL Northern Division.
A very strong team display restricted the Bantams, themselves having a fine season, to a minimum of chances whilst second half strikes from Helen Dermody and Destiney Toussaint earned the Sky Blues the points after a good contest.
The match nearly got off to a sensational start in the first minute as a right wing cross found Amber Hughes unmarked at the far post. A first shot hit the underside of the bar and the follow up was blocked on the line by a defender's arm before the ball was cleared. The home side maintained their early pressure, a Sami Quayle cross narrowly evading the onrushing strikers and Maz Gauntlett earning a corner with another dangerous raid. Ashleigh Neville was wide with an effort from 25 yards but Bradford were defending with increasing confidence after the early scare.
Natasha Lynch's timely tackle ended the visitors' most dangerous attack, denying Rosie McDonnell. A corner led to Bradford's first shot on target, a Chantelle O'Hara effort being well held by Sue Wood on the half hour.
Hughes was very close to the opening Coventry goal with a 25-yard effort which rebounded to safety off the bar on 32 minutes. Neville played in a delightful cross which Hughes met but Bradford keeper Carrie Simpson saved well on her line.
Coventry piled on the pressure as the break approached. Quayle fashioned a half chance but her effort was well defended by Charlotte Stuart and Toussaint had a shot blocked for another corner. Simpson made a fingertip save to turn away a Gauntlett cross shot and Bradford went to the break on level terms.
A nasty accidental clash of heads between Stuart and Toussaint led to a lengthy delay soon after the restart and the Bradford defence, well marshalled by skipper Faye Boshell, was equal to all the home side's efforts. It took a fine run to the line and low cross from Hughes to finally open up the visitors, Dermody reacting well to turn the ball home from close range on 58 minutes.
Simpson saved well from another Hughes shot but Bradford were still dangerous on the break without ever getting a clear sight of Wood's goal. A couple of Bradford corners were well defended but the home side were liberated by a second goal on 81 minutes. Toussaint powered her way into the area, evaded a challenge then finished with a shot from a tight angle, which went in via a post.
Toussaint almost added a third on 85 minutes but Simpson made a fine reaction save with her feet. Rachel Lee nearly pulled a goal back for Bradford late on with a 30-yard free kick which rebounded to safety off the bar.
The final whistle left Coventry with a 2014 League record of 20 wins, 2 draws and a single defeat, at Sheffield FC on the opening day of this season. They start 2015 with an immediate rematch with today's opponents at their Thackley base. Another good performance will needed against a highly committed Bradford City team who will be seeking revenge for this defeat.
Coventry City: Sue Wood, Ashleigh Neville, Annabel Johnson, Jade Formaston, Natasha Lynch, Nikki Miles, Sami Quayle, Helen Dermody, Maz Gauntlett, Amber Hughes, Destiney Toussaint. Subs: Katie Lowder, Ellie Towers, Libby Piggott, Jade Ogle.
Bradford City: Carrie Simpson, Danielle Whitham, Charlotte Stuart, Faye Boshell, Paige Crosby, Chantelle O'Hara, Rachel Lee, Abigail Barker, Aqsa Mushtaq, Sara Dobby, Rosie McDonnell. Subs: Zoe Roberts, Olivia Thackray, Abigail Lee.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Destiney Toussaint takes on Paige Crosby
(middle) Danielle Whitham is challenged by Nikki Miles
(bottom) Ashleigh Neville battles with Rosie McDonnell
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