Hartlepool United Women suffered late disappointment again at Grayfields against Bradford City. Pools held out for 70 minutes but strikes in the last 20 from Rebecca Hunt and Maria McKenna gave the West Yorkshire side all three points.
The Bantams netted seven past Pools in October’s reverse fixture, indicating that they were always going to provide a tough encounter. Despite this, Pools started brightly and had the first attempt of the game. Robyn Foster latched onto a lobbed pass from Macy Thornton in the second minute but her low shot was comfortably gathered.
Left-back Faye Garside also enjoyed an early opportunity after driving forward from defence. She tried to catch the goalkeeper off guard with a strike taken early from distance but was denied by the shot-stopper.
As the first half drew on, the visitors gradually began to assert more dominance on proceedings. They cursed on their luck on a number of occasions for failing to take their chances. Aaliyah Nolan rounded Lauren Ranson in the 18th minute but then shot into the side netting. Mia Jacobs also squandered a golden opportunity in the first half, finding herself unmarked in the box but shooting wide with the goal gaping.
The Bantams continued to control the flow of the game throughout the second half. They struck the woodwork in the 49th minute while Hannah Markey saw a shot saved by an in-form Ranson.
Eventually, pressure told and City took the lead through Hunt. The forward was given time and space in the box to fire low past Ranson and break the Pools resistance.
Bradford sealed the victory in the 85th minute with a second goal. The substitute McKenna weaved her way into the box before slotting an effort into the bottom left corner to kill off any chances of a Hartlepool revival.
Pools: Ranson, Kennedy (Borthwick 46), Pye, Stuart, Garside, Basnett, Portas (Rackstraw 61), Geary, Foster, Thornton, Johnson
Subs (not used): Field