AFTER an enforced two week break due to coronavirus concerns, a rejuvenated Bradford City Women fought back to earn a creditable 2-2 draw at home to Norton & Stockton Ancients in the FA Women's National League Division One North.

Hannah Richards was a late introduction to the line-up, called up from the bench to make her debut in goal, as Aimee Routledge was injured during the warm up.

The Bantams were a goal down after 21 minutes, when the visitors’ Bianca Owens scored from the spot after being tripped in the box by City defender Tori Thomas.

Then, on the half hour mark, Shannon Reed’s cross-shot looped over Richards to double Norton’s lead.

But within three minutes of that goal, a trademark Zoe Roberts inswinging free-kick was headed into the path of Keegan Lambert, who slotted home inside the far post past the onrushing Norton keeper.

City’s equaliser was almost a carbon copy of their first. But this time it was captain Katy Woodcock who thumped home from close range following a Roberts free-kick.

The second half was fairly uneventful. Both sides fought hard for that key breakthrough, but ultimately they cancelled each other out and had to settle for a point each.

City boss Chris Hames was full of praise for his side, saying: “My first thought is how proud I am of the group.

“We have had a rocky few weeks - only being able to train one of the last three - so we knew we would be rusty, whereas Norton are very much now in their flow, and I think you could tell that in the early stages.

“We had to dig deep and put bodies on the line at points but really we restricted them to very little, everyone was giving their all.

“We were disappointed to go two down, ultimately the phases that led to those goals aren’t good enough, not even just the moments themselves, but with more game time in the coming weeks those mistakes don’t happen, so we take them as what they are and move on.

“After that moment we played some of our best football, maybe the best since I’ve been here, and we have to be happy with that.

“The desire to keep plugging away, to get the goals back, is a huge bonus for us and one of the positives we need to take away. That character is something we’ve talked about throughout pre-season, and is now becoming our identity.”

City’s Reserves finally started their FAWNL Reserve Northern Division campaign, but unfortunately they went down to a 5-0 defeat on the road to a strong Stockport County side.

City are back in action this Sunday, as they kick off their 2020-21 Vitality FA Cup campaign with a home tie against Sunderland West End. The reserves host Middlesbrough at Rawdon Meadows in the league.