BRADFORD City Women went down to their first league defeat of the season, with a narrow 1-0 loss away at Chester le Street Town in Division One North of the FA Women's National League.

They had edged out Durham Cestria 3-2 in their opener, but had less success against these north-east opponents.

The game started slowly but after half an hour, City striker Falone Sumaili picked up a through ball and prodded her shot from the edge of the box just wide.

Chester le Street went closest just before the break, as a looping header went over City keeper Aimee Routledge, only to bounce back off the bar, giving Sophie Parrish an easy clearance.

Two minutes into the second half, midfielder Liuli Dyson hobbled off to be replaced by Jemma White.

City's captain Zoe Roberts tried to take the initiative with three trademark long-range shots that forced the Chester le Street keeper into saves but, on 76 minutes, came the decisive moment in the match.

The Bantams failed to clear their lines down the right, and a low cross found Jessica Ellison unmarked at the far post. The striker tucked the ball home past the helpless Routledge.

City then spent most of the last 10 minutes camped in the Chester le Street half, but found themselves repeatedly frustrated by a stubborn home side.

Bantams manager Steve Winterburn was disappointed with the score, but used it as another opportunity to learn about his side.

He said: “After 45 minutes, I just knew one goal was going to decide the match and with 90 per cent of the decisions going against us, I knew the outcome was going to hurt us more.

“We are now three matches in, and so far I’ve started three different line-ups due to injuries.

"It hasn’t helped us settle, but at the same time it has given me the opportunity to see which players have earned the right to start the next game.

“Hopefully I can get the team settled and back to winning ways. Leeds United are up next and it won’t be easy, but the team I put out will be ready for the challenge.”

Next up for City is that first West Yorkshire derby of the season, as Leeds travel to Eccleshill this Wednesday.

Roberts knows the importance of a big performance in a big game, and said: “There’s always a lot of hype before a midweek derby but we want to play our game and focus on playing to the standard we know we can.

“We need to take what we’ve learnt from previous games and in training into the game and be focused and ready for what will be a tough game.

"We need to play to our strengths and work together as a team and the results will come.”