By Sebastian Sternik
Bradford picked up an impressive 3-0 victory over Brighouse Town to lift the County Cup title for the fourth time running.
Two goals from Ellie Olds and one for Jess Graham sealed the cup in front of around 250 fans in Woodlesford. Despite losing out in the final, Brighouse, who are a division below Bradford, put up a great fight and left with their heads held high.
Bradford got off to a good start and created two early opportunities but, they were made to wait until the 35th minute to score their first goal of the game.
Charlotte Stuart made a superb run down the left wing and delivered a low cross into the area. The ball took a deflection and landed in front of Ellie Olds who finished off the move with a simple finish from close range.
Brighouse slowly grew into the game and had a number of good chances through Jodie Redgrave and Danielle Brown.
However, a controversial moment took place towards the end of the first half when Redgrave’s cross appeared to hit a Bradford hand inside the area. Referee Gavin Hock dismissed penalty appeals.
Brighouse carried the momentum over into the second half and almost found the equaliser when Emily Starkie’s 30 yard free kick rattled the crossbar.
Rob Mitchell’s side threw everything but the kitchen sink at Bradford however, City’s defence remained resilient and soon they reaped the rewards when Olds scored her second goal of the game.
Bradford threatened with a counter attack and were awarded a free kick down the right flank. A good delivery from Shauna Legge found an unmarked Olds who smashed the ball into the top left corner, giving the Brighouse keeper no chance.
It seemed like that goal took a lot of steam out of Brighouse who were firmly on the back foot from that point on. Bradford pushed for a third and almost found it when Jess Graham missed the target from close range.
Laura Elford and Abi Lee also had chances for City but failed to convert them as the score remained 2-0.
But with 10 minutes to go, the County Cup was sealed as Graham scored Bradford’s third goal.
A rapid counter attacking move caught the Brighouse defence off guard as Lee found Graham down the near side. Graham charged forward with a defender on her tail and beautifully placed her shot into the bottom left corner to make sure of the victory.
Speaking after the game, Bradford’s player/manager Charlotte Stuart said: “It was a really good performance and a really good win. We played really well and stuck to the game plan, changed our formation and it really worked.”
Despite losing, Brighouse manager Rob Mitchell was proud of his young side and said: “I think we can take a lot of positive things from the performance. I think we competed, we’ve battled and we gave a good account of ourselves. We weren’t at our best and Bradford thoroughly deserved to win however, losing 3-0 to a team above us is a bit of an achievement in itself.”
Bradford City 3-0 Brighouse Town
Ellie Olds (2), Jess Graham
Player of the match: Jess Graham
Attendance: Around 250