FA Carling Premiership
Bradford City 1 - 2 Leeds United
(Half-time: 0 - 1)
|« AS Roma
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|Martyn, Kelly, Harte, Haaland, Radebe, Bridges (Huckerby 90), Bowyer, McPhail (Hopkin 72), Wilcox, Smith, Bakke
|Robinson, Duberry, Maybury
|Southall, McCall, Wetherall, Lawrence, Whalley (Blake 66), Beagrie, O'Brien, Windass, Halle (Cadete 66), Jacobs, Saunders
|Taylor, Sharpe, Dreyer
|Bridges 12, 62
|Harte 43, Haaland 55
|Wetherall 48, Jacobs 68, Windass 75, Lawrence 88
|Attempts on goal
|Attempts on target
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers
|Southall puts body on line but Leeds march on
|The Electronic Telegraph
|Bridges closes gap as tempers flare
|Bridges widens the gap for Leeds
|Leeds keep the pressure on United
|Bridges double keeps Leeds in chase for title
|Yorkshire Evening Post
|City find Leeds a Bridges too far
|Bridges wins it but drives O'Leary mad
|Bradford City 1 - 2 Leeds United
A veritable blood'n'thunder local derby. Surprisingly enough had a pretty good view from the back of the upper tier of the away end - although I bet the view from downstairs was a bit ropey.
The first thing to say is that I have no idea how both teams finished with 11 men on the field - Alfie should have walked, I hear Martyn kicked Cadette, Lucas was piggy-backing on Wetherall at times, and as for Bradford, suffice to say that as the ball went dead two minutes into the 2nd half we had men strewn about the pitch like it was the Somme - Lucas, Bridges, Bowyer, Alfie all flattened by horrible tackles from behind. I suppose the ref just thought that it was best to keep his head down and let em get on with it.
Our approach was quite similar to that that we adopted vs Coventry, sitting back, absorbing pressure - safe in the knowledge that they couldn't really do much harm - and scoring when we upped the tempo. I'm sure everyone's seen Smithy's miss after the work by Bridges and McPhail, it was a sitter and that would have killed the game off for sure. We're becoming world leaders in our ability to miss the easiest chances - each week we think up a new wrinkle to this, just when you thought there couldn't be a softer miss...
That aside though Smith was one of the better, more whole hearted players yesterday. I thought that he deserved a goal. The defence held its ground more or less, but it looked shaky at times. Bradford's main threat was from set pieces, we simply couldn't handle Wetherall in the air - so you do everything you can not to give stupid fouls/corners away, don't you? No, we were happy to hack them down anywhere within 40 yards of our box - Alfie and Harte particularly guilty of this, and so they kept getting the opportunity to show how dangerous they were from these situations.
The midfield again was in reality only two men - Bowyer seems to be permanently injured, he went down clutching his ankle after a heavy challenge in the first 10 minutes, and from then on limped as the result of any further tackles. They won't rest him for Thursday - but they should think about it come Wimbledon next Sunday, because its only going to get worse. Jones or Hopkin must be in with a decent shout for that game. As for Wilcox he was a waste of a shirt, a couple of decent crosses aside he made no contribution. Harte was left exposed time and again down the left. It was left to Bakke and McPhail to do as best they could - I thought Bakke got stuck in more, and so was the pick of our midfield, but McPhail wasn't bad either - some of his best distribution is off first time balls which he picks off well, but he gave away some sloppy possession as well.
1-0 Harte free kick out of the left, half way inside the half, swung over the back post, 6yard line where Bridges got in front of his marker and bounced the ball home into the far opposite corner with some part of his anatomy - I'm not sure which.
2-0 The ball swung around the penalty area so many times here, Smith had a go, Wilcox did, Bowyer slid in and missed, eventually the ball is played back across the 6 yard line to Bridges standing out the far post... he controls it... he stands there for a while... and for a little bit longer... and then having considered all the angles he thumps it into the roof of the net.
2-1 There's was a long hoof from Beagrie - who is an annoying little shit at the best of times - one day he'll break his neck doing that somersault thing... And why wasn't he booked/sentoff for that blatant assault on McPhail on halfway?
MARTYN -6- not much to do - not at fault for the goal - could probably have helped out more with the crosses.
KELLY -6- battling performance - some dodgy distribution.
HARTE -6- some of the most woeful freekicks ever seen.
HAALAND -6- got stuck in, should have been sent off.
RADEBE -7- decent game again - lucky not to concede a penalty.
BOWYER -6- little influence
WILCOX -5- little point in his being there
BAKKE -7- the best midfielder on view - has been an excellent piece of business
MCPHAIL -7- well I like him...
SMITH -7- never gave the defenders a minutes piece
BRIDGES -8- 2 Goals to win the game - that'll do for me... getting closer to match fitness.
"We bought all your tickets, we bought all your tickets... "
Nick - thinking that Harry should be good and rested for Thursday...
Before the game, something of a first, going into the Peacock opposite ER before the game and it being nearly empty. A few strange looks and comments of "don't you know you're away today lads" when our minibus arrived but it was probably as close as we could get to Valley Parade and get a hassle free drink. We got to the point where we were meant to pick up the police escort dead on time, but no police to be seen, so we ended up making our own way to the ground thru Low Moor, past Odsal and a deserted city centre. Eventually a police bike picked us up and tried to lead us into the ground but only managed to get us and a couple of other coaches stuck in among the Bradford fans close to the ground. After not moving for 10 minutes we got off to walk the rest of the way, to find the road was blocked by a dozen police vans, who were therefore creating more problems than they were solving.
Once we'd waded through the river of piss outside the toilets and got to our seats in the front row, we found Leeds Utd squad rotation was in full swing, Smith in for the suspended Kewell. The first 15 minutes we played pretty well and were generally in control, and got the goal we probably deserved when Harte's free-kick bounced in off Bridges. The goal meant we could see just how many Leeds fans were celebrating in other parts of the ground. To our right as well as a group of about 30 Leeds who had been pretty vocal from kick-off, there were plenty more dotted around all over the place, maybe a third of the stand in total. This gave us the chance to sing "We've gone and brought all your tickets" as well as the Scum borrowed "1-0 in your cup final".
Smith soon contrived to miss an open goal and Bradford gradually got back into the game with Windass having a free header from 6 yards that went straight into Martyn's arms. Wetherall was also causing plenty of problems from corners and winning nearly everything in the air. The game was also getting steadily more physical and shortly after Harte had been booked, Windass appeared to hit Harte who then played dead for a bit. But we made it to half-time still 1 up.
Thankfully after half-time most of the sporadic racist chanting from the first half was stopped in it's tracks by the appearance of Neville Southall in front of us. He'd looked pretty big 100 yards away at the other end, but close up in front of us, we realised quite how unfit and overweight he was. I'm sure if he turned up on a Sunday morning for my team, we'd turn him away for being too fat. A pretty constant barrage of abuse followed his every touch, and when he picked the ball up from just in front of us you could see "What am I doing here, I'm too old for all this" written all across his face.
Despite only having a waddling walrus to beat in goal, we seemed a bit shot shy in the second half, often delaying the cross for too long and allowing defenders to recover. The game got ever more scrappy and Haaland and Wetherall both got booked for persistent tackling from behind. Again the game was pretty even but we managed to get the next goal. Southall went down by his near post, sending a minor earth tremor through the front few rows and while waiting for a crane to lift him back up again, Smith had time to sidefoot the ball across the face of goal for Bridges to lift over the defenders into the empty net. During the goal celebrations a few lads spilled onto the pitch and an advertising barrier got kicked down, despite the stewards screaming at the police to come and help them get the perpetrator out, the Police were very reluctant to get involved, so the stewards gave up.
That should really have been that for the game, but we never really kept control of the game and after Alfie was given his final warning, Beagrie hit one of those 30 yarders that was going in from the moment it left his boot. The fact that a lad next to me had just said this would be our biggest ever win at VP might have also had something to do with it, he was told to keep his mouth shut for the rest of the game. Most of the pressure came from them for the rest of the game, although a shot from Bakke was saved by Big Fat Nev. We were reduced to time-wasting in the corner, though I would have preferred us to go for a third goal, and a Bradford free-kick right at the end gave us memories of last minute equalisers at Everton.
Not a great performance, but important points and a nice little gap has opened up below us again now. View wasn't really good enough to give fair scores but Lucas and Bakke were probably our best players.
Leeds United's championship aspirations survived a barnstorming performance by Bradford City here yesterday. Compared with their recent trial by stiletto in Rome this was an ordeal by broadsword for David O'Leary's players, and the fact that they came through it with equal credit said much for the way the team are continuing to develop.
Bradford's first home defeat in the Premiership since the start of October keeps them in the bottom three but again the quality and spirit of their performance said much for their chances of survival. Southampton, Derby County and Wimbledon, fellow strugglers all, still have to visit Valley Parade.
After one of Peter Beagrie's spectacular shots had brought Bradford back into the game at 2-1, Leeds were forced to defend for much of the last quarter-hour but the two goals Michael Bridges had scored earlier proved sufficient to bring them the victory which has kept them within four points of the leaders, Manchester United.
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