Reds forced to settle for league draw in final game before Christmas

Barnsley Women’s Football Club played out a frustrating 1-1 draw with Bradford City Women’s Football Club.

By Josh Allen

Barnsley Women’s Football Club started with intent, looking to improve on a disappointing performance against Newcastle Women in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup last week.

The positivity was once again led by Lissa Woodhouse, but she was caught late and studded on the calf. The striker tried to continue but was forced off after just five minutes.

Louisa Barraclough came on in her place and that meant that youngster Madison Foye became the sole striker.

The Reds had early chances – none more so than when captain Kath Smith clipped a delicate ball over the top to find Foye. She looked destined to put it past the goalkeeper as she rushed out but mistimed her effort.

The press was working for Andy Glossop’s side as Bradford were penned in. Foye and wingers Darcie Greene and Courteney Csomor were harrying from the front and drawing fouls with their turn of pace.

Greene drove inside off the left flank and was shoved to the floor, winning a free kick 20 yards out. Midfield controller Lindsey Tugby hit the free kick and it was heading in, but for a strong hand from the goalkeeper and the cross bar.

The away side weathered the storm and began to grow into the game. They won their 50-50 battles and carved out two excellent chances that they failed to convert. A let off for Barnsley.

Glossop’s side got in behind time and time again, but clinical edge and finesse were lacking. There was a clear sense of frustration as Bradford were happy to slow the game down, with Smith picking up a yellow for a cynical challenge on half time.

The momentum continued with the home side into the second half, but the final touch was still not there.

Foye thought she had broken the deadlock but showed some naivety as she veered offside. She was once again involved as she slipped in Greene, who cut back a delicious ball across the box, but nobody was there to tap in.

Centre-backs Elisha James and Becky Troake were excellent throughout. The pair have the attributes to create a balance at the back – with James’ physicality and Troake’s athleticism and ability to step out.

The opening goal came 67 minutes in with Greene receiving the ball from Nat Watson, and Greene once again beat her marker to pull the ball back to Foye, who’s attempted effort fell perfectly for Csomor at the back post, who never looked like missing.

With just a one-goal cushion, the three points could quite easily slip from Barnsley’s grip. And so they did. Bradford were in on goal and Barraclough tried her best to get a last-ditch challenge in but caught the player.

Goalkeeper Micha Boyes was sent the wrong way and things were all square at Oakwell Academy with just over 10 minutes to go.

The referee had another decision to make as Foye was about to pull the trigger, when a Bradford defender slid through her first, before getting a toe to the ball.

The Reds knew that they had a physical game on their hands and tried to use this to draw set pieces. They came agonisingly close from a Tugby in-swinging free kick, where all that was needed was one flick.

Three players – plus the coaching staff on the touchline – flung themselves at it, but it went right the way through for a goal kick. The game finished 1-1.

A frustrating afternoon for Glossop’s side, but there will be hope going into the New Year, with key squad members returning for what is an intense second half of the season.

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