Match Report 2002-2003

Saturday 15 February, 2003, Division One

Brighton And Hove Albion At Valley Parade

Fifty fifty

Bradford City 0
Brighton And Hove Albion 1
Zamora 0-1

If ever a game was lost before the kick off it was this one. Robert Molenaar was going to be starting for City but in the pre-match kick in he had to be helped from the field and Simon Francis stepped up from the bench. What should have been a strong midfield with Peter Atherton became a weak one with Michael Standing and that was almost that.

The lesson learned today is that you cannot win a game if you do not have the ball. City's midfield was too lightweight as it would be with Standing, who was to be right wing today but Molenaar's injury shifted him in, in the middle of it. City were out of sorts all day and frankly never looked like scoring. To be honest neither side did look like getting a goal and neither did.

So who did Brighton win? The answer comes in one of a series of crazed decisions by Referee Graham Salisbury who watched Aidan Davison palm away Bobby Zamora's header from a Paul Hart cross before glancing at his flagging linesman and giving a goal. It didn't look in from any angle and I'm going on a limb here to say that that is because it was not in. Nevertheless it was the "goal" that settled the game.

I'll get the Ref bashing done now. Why did he not send Zamora off for the player's body lunge on Gus Uhlenbeek? Why did he book both Jorgensen and Hart when Hart rugby tackled the Dane, who failed by a foot to get his seventh in seven with one of the Bantam's better chances? How did he allow Ben Roberts, a one time City keeper, to wander outside the box with the ball. He was bloody awful and perverted the course of the game which is probably the worst thing a man who is supposed to be impartial should do.

Nevertheless City should have won this game. Salisbury was a rubbish ref but City had more than enough to beat such a poor side. Brighton, with the exception of the impressive Kerry Mayo and Zamora, looked poor and had Law kept Atherton and Jorgensen in the midfield then we would have had the ball to create the chances to win the game.

But Law did not and City ended up playing, or failing to play, catch up. Brighton packed the back line and got away with it. If City end up in relegation trouble again Referee Graham Salisbury's name will come up again but in truth this game was lost with a tactical mistake by City.

Man of the Match
Mark Bower

Did well.

Bradford City Team
Forrest for Cadamarteri