Moors Ladies moved up to second in the NERWFL Premier Division after battling to a 3-1 victory over Bradford City at New Ferens Park on Sunday.
Conditions were difficult for both sides following some heavy rain, but they still managed to produce an entertaining encounter during which Moors were the more clinical in front of goal.
Billy Shackleton’s side were winners in the FA Cup against Wakefield last weekend but were keen to get back on track in the league after suffering their first defeat of the season to leaders Sunderland West End last time out.
A cagey affair saw Moors keeper Sophie Miller the first to be tested when she made a good save to deny the Bradford striker who had escaped in behind the Moors defence.
It proved a key moment because on the half hour it was Moor who went in front. Caitlin Bates cleverly chopped inside on the left of the area before being tripped and Autumn Colledge slotted home the resultant penalty to make it 1-0.
Moors took confidence from the goal and were on top for what remained of the first half, adding a second goal just before the break when Coral Colledge was able to bundle Bates’ corner over the line to double the lead.
However, The Bantams appeared more determined as the second half began and they took the game to their hosts as they looked for a route back into the encounter.
Their breakthrough arrived on 63 minutes when their dangerous right winger burst brilliantly down the right flank before coming inside to lash an unstoppable shot past Miller to reduce the deficit.
City looked to make the most of their momentum and Shackleton had to make changes to try and stem the tide as the visitors probed for an equaliser.
But their hope was extinguished on 83 minutes when Moors substitute Hannah Knox curled a wonderful free-kick into the far corner of the net from the right edge of the area to make it 3-1.
“I’m really pleased for the girls that we’ve managed to get all three points today,” Shackleton admitted afterwards.
“For a club the size of Bradford City to come to Spennymoor and leave empty-handed shows just how far we’ve come in the women’s game, and it motivates us to get to the level they been.
“We’ve put ourselves amongst it again at the top of the table and next week we’ve got an opportunity to go and play at a great stadium like Oakwell against Barnsley and that’s another chance for us to show we belong at this level.”
Saturday’s victory also meant a little more to the players after the game was played in the memory of Jess Crookes, who sadly took her own life in January.
“It’s a proud moment for us all to have been involved in the game and in honouring Jess,” Shackleton added.
“We’re a family here at this Club and we all thought it was important to raise awareness of issues such as mental health and hopefully encourage anyone who might be struggling to speak up.”
Full Time: Moors 3 Bradford City 1
Moors: Miller, McGovern, Welch-Davison, C Colledge, Foster, O Mole, Drinkald, Reed, Bates, L Jackson, A Colledge.
Subs: C Mole, Saunders, Seymour, Knox, Middleton.