Match Report 2002-2003

Monday 26 August, 2002, Division One

Ipswich Town away

Second set to the travelling Bantams

Ipswich Town 1
Bent 1-0
Bradford City 2
Evans 1-1, Proctor 1-2

Ipswich were the test of where it all went wrong in the Premiership.

They came to Benito Carbone's Valley Parade and got two goals out of the only one shot on target. We went to Portman Road with them flying high, took a lead and were slapped down so badly. Herman Heiridersson scored that day and marched into the Ipswich fans with arms outstretched and you thought "Shouldn't that be us"?

Quick here from there: We got relegated, almost went bust, end up with a team that one gamble said was at 5/1 to go down the most sure thing in the bookies this season.

Ipswich are favourites to go up and you can see why. They are going to have to sell a lot of talent, this could have been Matt Holland's final game for them, but they have talent to come in to replace it. Eye catching tonight was one Darren Ambrose the sprightly young thing who dug out a chip to the far post after ten minutes for Darren Bent to walk the ball in from the goal line. Marking? Closing down? Not really no.

This was a shame cause City had started will, zipping passes off a wet but otherwise Centre Court-esque pitch. Michael Proctor should have given City a lead early on after he controlled a dodgy Andy Myers cross but the on loan man hit the ball wide. Where will the goals come from?

As it turned out the goal that had constipated City was a gift. One of the home defenders tell for Ashley Ward's hold up play and gave away a free kick around 25 yards out, up steps Paul Evans and does with a free kick what he has been threatening to do with a free kick for the last few week.

Evans was without his mate Tom Kearney in the middle of the midfield for City. Michael Standing joined him and frankly the pair looked a good proposition. Perhaps it was being away at the favourites and having the room to get behind a pressing home side but Standing's creativity was a big plus for the Bantams. If 451 or 433 worked and he was fit I would see a Evans/Standing/Kearney midfield. Not bad, three for under 5,000 a week.

City have that problem at the moment. All the best players get paid a tenth of some of the worst. Mark Bower slotted in for injured Robert Molenaar and looked a better proposition. David Wetherall might be worth 1000% of Bowers take home but Molenaar is not, nor is Peter Atherton who once again hobbled off injured tonight. You could feel sorry for Atherton and his injury record if it was not for the fact that he never once suggested that he would be willing to put back any of the massive amounts he got off City for doing naff all last season.

Bower, who looked impressive enough to retain his place after losing it for the start of the season, was the man who frustrated Ipswich's attack twice after errors from Aidan Davison. Finidi George, who gets paid Benito Carbone money, picked up a Davison punch but had his effort blocked by the young Bradfordian.

At one each you expected City to take a battering in the second half and so it was. Marcus Stewart was quiet, Darren Bent was lively and Matt Holland pushed things forward. The Ipswich names trip off the tongue as the Bantams squad used to. You have to wonder who in East Anglia had heard of Paul Evans and Michael Proctor before tonight. They have heard of them now.

For this was the gem. The start of the second set of games that you wanted to be at. City took everything that Ipswich could throw at us and came back with another slack free kick played in short to Michael Proctor who controlled and hit an angled drive from the edge of the box into the corner. I'm told that on Radio Five it sounded like Portman Road was silent but the travelling Bantams were loud enough.

Ipswich had come back with two late goals after we thought Ole Bjorn Sundgot had seen them off years ago but not this time. Stewart hit the bar, Juanjo came on to, erm, stiffen things up Darren Ambrose looked like he would level thing sup but Ipswich old buy Gus Uhlenbeek stepped in and that was that.

So back North with the first win of the season. We have no money, half the tiny squad is injured and the likes of David Wetherall and Ashley Ward need to be moved on in the future to save money but this is the team that does not know how to lose. The unbeatable who can only beat themselves, or some such hyperbole.

Man of the Match
Paul Evans

The free kick and hitting the bar from 40 yards.

Bradford City Team
Wayne Jacobs for Peter Atherton, Claus Jorgensen for Michael Standing, Juanjo for Danny Cadamarteri.