A DISAPPOINTING first half cost Bradford City Women what could have been an impressive result against Northern Division leaders Middlesbrough in the FA Women's Premier League.

The Bantams fell three goals behind in the first 45 minutes, before Hannah Smith's strike on the stroke of half-time inspired a spirited second period.

But the damage was already done, with Smith admitting that first-half errors were their downfall in the 3-2 defeat on Sunday.

"We can't go three goals down and expect to win a game, it's as simple as that," she said.

"I don't even know what happened in that first half. All the goals we conceded were just so sloppy and came from silly errors – from us not clearing it when we should have or giving their players too much space and time on the ball.

"We had so many chances too and I really think we could have won the game. Pulling a goal back just before half-time helped, and I'm really happy to have scored my first goal for Bradford, but we had already let ourselves down in the first half.

"It's just so hard to come back from three goals down."

Emily Scarr's 13th and 14th goals of the season kept herself at the top of the scoring charts, coming either side of a strike from Jessica Havelock as Boro established a comfortable advantage.

But Smith's composed finish from the edge of the box narrowed the deficit before the interval and City came out for the second half a different team.

Chance after chance was created but it was not until two minutes from time that they pulled another back, with Zoe Roberts' cross-shot finding the back of the net unaided.

By then it was too little too late, although the mood in the camp remains upbeat after the response to such a poor start to the contest.

Smith said: "As a team, we took a lot away from the game. We all reflected on the positives and negatives on the journey home.

"We played well, to be fair, especially in the second half. We looked stronger going forward and caused a lot of issues for them.

"It worked for us with Laura (Elford), Charlotte (Stuart) and Ellie (White) all switching about in the front three.

"As a team, we just kept going to the end and everyone gave 100 per cent. It's just frustrating because the positives are there but the results aren't coming."