Match Report 2001-2002

Saturday 16 March, 2002, Division One

Rotherham United Away

Late penalty denies City a win

Rotherham United 1
Lee 1-1 pen
Bradford City 1
Jacobs 0-1

Even though this game does not leave either club safe, and even though the results under City and Rotherham were troublesome, one gets the feeling that both these clubs will be playing first division football next season.

City should have won from being a goal up going into the final minute but Rotherham deserved a draw and City would probably have been happy with that at kick off.

In the previous two encounters between these two clubs this season at Millmoor in the Worthington Cup and at Valley Parade in the league City's edge of class has shown over Rotherham's simplistic approach of physical play and high balls. In the Miller's back yard the story was always going to be different.

Credit the home side they charged at City and put the usually weak Bantam back line under pressure from the first whistle, surprisingly though the back line proved strong. After performing well last week Mark Bower impressed against a Rotherham's burly Alan Lee better though was Gunnar Halle.

If only Halle was half his age. What a player he would be. He controlled the back line brilliantly adding stability where previously there was none. On Wednesday night at Burnley he will be back at right back with David Wetherall back in the centre but this point, which goes a distance to safety for City, was made by Halle.

City's back line restricted Rotherham to a single good chance first half, a header from a corner that was stopped on the line by Lee Sharpe, the midfielder's sole contribution to the game. Sharpe probably has as much time left at City as Stuart McCall and Gunnar Halle. The two senior men seem set to leave City fans with much better memories. Sharpe could learn from Gunnar.

Halle impressed where as Ashley Ward, returning from injury, simply was. For all the criticism of Ward he does a good job leading the line at this level, although one may argue that £18,000 a week should have him perform just as well at a much higher place. Ward was partnered up front by Eoin Jess leaving Danny Cadamarteri wide right. City missed the younger man's pace and Jess did little to suggest that his late bid to be the new Kenny Dalglish will bring fruit.

City should have taken a lead after Danny Cadamarteri had got behind his full back and crossed for Stuart McCall but the midfielder headed wide from a few yards. Cadamarteri had a good chance nicked off him with twenty minutes left by Wayne Jacobs who lashed a low shot past his former club's keeper. Special praise from skipper McCall for the defender who was jeered in midweek.

Almost then the classic smash and grab away win until stupidly in the last minute of normal time a deep cross was handled by Andy Tod at the back post. One wonders what Tod though would happen should the Rotherham striker under the ball get to it. The penalty that resulted from Tod's stupidity was stroked home by Alan Lee much easier than a difficult far post header would have been put past Alan Combe.

Frankly Tod's performance was fairly wretched and the rest of the City squad can feel let down by his actions which smacked of not caring about the outcome. A win would have not been justice perhaps, but since when have we had to give away stupid penalties in the name of justice? Geoffrey Richmond spoke of the average player who ends his career as a millionaire, picking up a pay packet and not giving a damn. You cannot be sure that he is talking about Andy Tod, but you would not be surprised if he was.

So one all and wins for Grimsby and Sheffield Wednesday cast the results in a bad light. City are six points above the drop but, more importantly, four places and with Stockport already down, there are at least six worse teams than the Bantams in this division. Perhaps the measure of this match was that this is Rotherham's time in the sun, there great achievement, while a place above is City's slump.

Man of the Match

Gunnar Halle

Set up the platform to win the game with his first half display and, Andy Tod aside, would have celebrated a clean sheet with his partnership with Mark Bower, who was also good.

City Team:

Grayson Halle Bower Jacobs
Cadamarteri McCall Lawrence Sharpe
Ward Jess

Subs: Jorgensen for Jess, Tod for Cadamarteri