BRADFORD City Women slipped out of the North East Regional Women’s Football League League Cup at the quarter-final stage on Sunday after an absorbing game against Barnsley.

The tie took place in South Yorkshire and while the visitors had their chances to pinch victory, a single goal from Barnsley substitute Kirstie Nicholls put her side into the semis instead.

The home side dominated the early stages, with Sharone Buckle and Matilda Fernie having to be at their best in the Bantams’ defence.

But Aaliyah Nolan and Mia Jacobs both almost got in on goal as City wrestled their way back into the game, only for visiting keeper Laura Wilson to be forced into a fine save to keep out Barnsley from a corner.

Charlie Ramsden almost set up Bantams teammate Nolan to score just before half-time, but Barnsley keeper Ashleigh Ridsdel-Harrison got to the ball first and the sides went into the break level at 0-0.

City stormed out of the blocks after the break, with Jacobs’ shot skimming just wide and Nolan’s lobbed effort striking the crossbar.

Like Jacobs, a Barnsley player flashed an effort narrowly off target, before Ridsdel-Harrison produced a fine save to stop Hannah Markey’s bending corner flying directly into her goal.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Hannah Markey (left) is a huge threat for City from set-pieces, and that almost brought the visitors their equaliser on Sunday.Hannah Markey (left) is a huge threat for City from set-pieces, and that almost brought the visitors their equaliser on Sunday. (Image: Alex Daniel.)

And that save proved vital when Nicholls edged her side in front with 13 minutes to go, keeping her cool to lob the ball beyond the stranded Wilson and into the net.

City came close to snatching a late equaliser twice late on, but Dani Trickett just failed to get in the end of Kanisha Underdown’s teasing free-kick, before Ramsden’s last-gasp volley from outside the box skimmed the crossbar on its way over.

The defeat is the Bantams' first of 2024, with the focus for them now returning to their slim chances of an immediate promotion back to the FA Women's National League Division One North.

The next game they have pencilled comes on Sunday, April 28, when they travel to rock-bottom Redcar Town Ladies seeking a vital three points.