Tom Griffin

The Tigresses were knocked out of the FA Women’s National League plate competition as they were beaten 5-1 by Middlesbrough FC Women.

With form being an issue in the league, the Tigresses saw this as an opportunity to potentially build momentum for upcoming games, however, it was Middlesbrough who grasped that opportunity.

An early Boro goal opened the scoring with the Tigresses responding shortly after. Middlesbrough then added two more, including one on the stroke of half time to make it 3-1.

The second half saw the Tigresses make a slight improvement but were unable to notch past some inspired goalkeeping. Middlesbrough’s clinical edge took its toll as they added two more to ensure a jawing victory.

The opening exchanges of the first half was end-to-end with Middlesbrough’s high line causing them trouble on the counter attack and the Tigresses unable to punish.

Rachael Ackroyd had the first effort for the visitors. She dragged her side-footed attempt agonisingly wide of the target after being slid through by Katie Thompson.

After City squandered their opening opportunity, Middlesbrough opened the scoring in the 11th minute through Jasmine M’Quade.

Defensive issues have plagued the Tigresses all season and they didn’t paint themselves in the brightest of lights on this occasion, M’Quade picked the pockets of Ellice Jackman before calmly lobbing over Sharla Cone.

Their lead didn’t last long, however. The Tigresses dealt a quick-fire response through Helen Lynskey.

Alice Hughes danced brilliantly through the Boro midfield, she freed Lynskey who calmly slotted beyond Laura Wareham.

Middlesbrough threatened to edge their way into the ascendancy, but could have found themselves behind after Ackroyd failed to put away one of her two opportunities.

In the first instance, it was her press on the Boro back line which saw her win possession and race through on goal, though the Boro keeper was a strong match to her powerful, low drive.

Then Ellice Jackman’s searching pass down the line found the run of Ackroyd, she jinked inside of the defender but her prodded effort was saved by the midriff of Wareham.

After the Tigresses failed to dispatch rare first half opportunities, Middlesbrough eased their way in front in the 28th minute.

Hannah Luke’s throw-in deep in City’s half picked out Eleanor Duke in the area, she swivelled and struck low at Cone’s near post.

The Tigresses were lethargic in possession for the remainder of the half and were continuously caught out on their left side.

In the 41st minute an attack down that exact side very nearly produced Boro’s third of the afternoon.

Ellie Dobson’s slide-rule pass found Tyler Dodds in acres of space down the right, her cut back picked out Eleanor Dale, she was unfortunate to see her out-stretched effort creep wide of the target.

An inability to reduce the arrears in the first half has provided the Tigresses with an uphill second half task on many occasions this season.

So it wasn’t a surprise to see Middlesbrough double their advantage on the stroke of half time.

Middlesbrough caught the Tigresses down the right again through winger Tyler Dodds.

She provided a teasing delivery that was met by the rising Emily Scarr, her powerful headed effort reduced Cone to a world class save, however the home side rebounded home for 3-1.

The visitors came out more galvanised in the second half and enjoyed possession in the opposing half without really threatening Wareham’s goal.

Unlike their counterparts though, the hosts were showing a ruthlessness in attack and grabbed their 4th in the 57th minutes.

The Tigresses were caught napping down the left again when Jo Symmington failed to deal with a long, diagonal ball. Dodds capitalised on this mistake and remained composed enough to dink beyond an on-rushing Sharla Cone.

The visitors looked to respond almost instantaneously with Ackroyd in the thick of the action once again, though her looping strike from range rattled the cross bar to the frustration of the Tigresses.

In truth, City enjoyed more of the second half opportunities and were unfortunate not to grab their second goal of the game in the 78th minute when an offside decision prevented a deserved consolation

A long free kick found rising Ellie tanser but her headed effort was saved up high by the Wareham, Jackman converted the rebound but was a deemed to be from an offside position.

After substitute Harley Skinner let another one-on-one opportunity go begging, the hosts capitalised on the Tigresses complacency in front of goal by completing the scoring in the final minutes.

Emily Scarr’s piercing through ball set away Eleanor Dale and she made no mistake in sliding beyond Cone for her second of the afternoon and Middlesbrough’s fifth.