FALONE Sumaili put in a match-winning display up front as Bradford City took the points in a hard-fought 3-2 win at home to Durham Cestria on the opening day of the FA Women's National League Division One North campaign.

City manager Steve Winterburn had brought in a few new faces and promoted some players from last season’s junior section, so there was a new look to the line-up.

Durham had won their respective league last year, winning every game and their league cup, to gain promotion to the National League, so relegated City were expecting a hard game.

The pitch at Eccleshill United was in fantastic condition as Durham soon showed why they had done so well last season, enjoying the majority of the ball in the early stages.

City were defending as a team though and City striker Sumaili had a couple of half-chances before making the most of a through-ball, lobbing the keeper for the opening goal after 22 minutes.

The great start got even better four minutes later when Sumaili doubled her tally with a similar effort.

The second half was played mainly in the middle third, captain Zoe Roberts marshalling the City defence well and keeper Aimee Routledge mopping up behind.

The pace of Sumaili proved telling again in the 76th minute as substitute Amelia White pressured the Durham defence into a sloppy back pass and she was onto it like a flash to tap home into an empty net for her hat-trick.

Durham never gave up though and on 85 minutes they scored from a well-taken free-kick from 25 yards out and then a second with a powerful strike after City failed to clear a corner.

But the hosts held on for a valuable three points.

Winterburn said: "I'm absolutely delighted to get the season started with three points against a very organised and talented young Durham squad.

"We knew it would be a tricky game and Durham certainly made us work hard to secure the win.

"In tricky conditions and a swirling wind, we found ourselves 3-0 to the good. But I think it would be fair to say that at that stage the scoreline definitely didn't fairly reflect the standard of the opposition.

"And sure enough we struggled to stay focused and a 3-0 lead became a precarious 3-2.

"However the girls had the grit to see the game out.

"A huge 'well done' to every one of the squad, who dug deep and have taken the first step towards what we hope will be a new beginning for this club.

"I'd also like to give a special mention to our centre forward Falone - a player who hasn't always received her deserved plaudits in the past and has shown again her ability and talent."

On Sunday City travel to Liverpool Feds in the FAWNL Cup.