Match Report 2002-2003

Thursday 26 December, 2002, Division One

Stoke City At Valley Parade

The pivot

Bradford City 4
Gray p 1-1
Peter Handyside og 2-2
Claus Jorgensen 3-2
Andy Gray 4-2
Stoke City 2
Marteinsson 0-1
Henry 1-2

Results went badly for City today. Grimsby Town won, Sheffield Wednesday won but the Bantams managed to avoid a defeat that at times looked inevitable with this 4-2 Boxing day win over Stoke City that was as well earned second half as it looked wasted first.

The team that does not know how to lose is now the team that never learns. City seem capable of making exactly the same mistakes week in week out without ever addressing the issues. Perhaps such issues cannot be addressed. How does one stop Robert Molenaar from being flat footed when low balls are whipped into the box? One assumes that Nicky Law has asked him to work on it and that Molenaar has but if this is a weakness in his game then it would seem churlish to castigate him for it just was it would to have a good at Michael Standing for not being able to tackle or Peter Atherton for not being a dynamite finisher.

City's backline, today with Gus Uhlenbeek bringing chaos where previously there had been a clam Simon Francis, looked flat footed early on. An innocuous throw in from the right flank was flicked on by Chris Iwelumo beating Mark Bower and put in by Stoke's Petur Marteinsson after only eight minutes. City seemed to have no reply until Sergey Shtanuk pushed over a conga line of City players in the box to allow Andy Gray to beat Steve Banks with a penalty. City surrendered the lead not long after when Karl Henry got what that are calling a superb overhead kick from close range but we think was a lucky attempt to trap it that went wrong. Stoke battered City for the next fifteen minutes and frankly the Bantams were all at sea and could have shipped more goals.

The turning point for the game came on 67 minutes after a corner had been cleared. It's strange how single second actions can change futures. Wayne Jacobs soft touch header back to Lewis Emanuel lead to a cross that Andy Gray went for an Stoke's former Grimsby man Peter Handyside pushed in to his own net. If this game turns out to be the turning point in City's season then that header was the turning point in this game.

Two two and it looked like the Bantams game. Andy Tod chased a lost cause and won a throw in that was cross to an unmarked Claus Jorgensen who headed home with ease. Stoke pressed forward after that and were caught on the counter by Andy Gray courtesy of a deflection that left Steve Banks standing. It was a hard fought win, but a deserved one.

So the Bantams have back to back home wins to build on. Stoke look like a poor side destined for division two and it is unthinkable that City would finish below them. The likes of Sheffield and Grimsby are raising their game but on the last few showings so are the Bantams and we have the points ahead to give us the drop on these rivals in a relegation battle that we must win.

Odd then that games, that wins, pivot on the smaller moments.

Man of the Match
Claus Jorgensen

Not Nicky Law's type of player? In five days time Jorgi can sign a pre-contract for someone else. I'm hoping that Law changes his mind.

Bradford City Team
Michael Standing for Mark Bower