Match Report 2002-2003

Saturday 09 November, 2002, Division One

Wimbledon At Valley Parade

Facrical defending leaves Bantams hovering over the drop zone

Bradford City 3
Facey 1-0, Standing 2-1, 3-2
Wimbledon 5
Connelly 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 3-4
Darlington 3-5

How does one describe the utter waste of this Bradford City performance?

It was the club shooting itself in the foot in a huge way. We had every opportunity to win three points to get us away from the drop zone but spurned it.

The problems with Bradford City in this game breakdown in two portions: Defending and misappropriation of blame.

Delroy Facey, making a very impressive debut in a forward line along side Andy Gray who did the Ashley Ward job better than Ashley Ward, scored within minutes of his first game kicking off, Michael Standing blasted one top corner from 25 years, then the same player rattled in a rebound from a Facey shot. Three times City took the lead and three time we wasted it.

Bad defending was why. The problem was not just Robert Molenaar having a poor game, he did, or Mark Bower being paired against the hulking Neil Shipperly and Molenaar against the nippy David Connelly. IT was more than that. We failed to defend as a team. The midfield was stacked to attack. Paul Evans, Michael Standing and the other debut boy Harpal Singh are attacking players, which left just Stephen Warnock as the man to guard the backline. I do not believe that you can just have one midfielder helping the defensive line. All four need to get goal side of the ball when defending and far too often they did not.

While on the subject of Stephen Warnock . Could somebody tell me just why we are still playing this plainly average player? He lack any sense of Premiership class, he does not perform his jobs in the team epically well and at the moment is coasting through every game. Warnock's attitude is wrong, why should it be right? He will be back at Anfield in a month or so, why would he worry about what goes on at Valley Parade?

For the record this is the catalogue of bad defending.

  1. A Neil Shipperly shot is palmed away by replacement keeper Aidan Davison. Molenaar cannot stop David Connelly from putting in the rebound.
  2. David Connelly latches onto a Michael Standing back pass and slips it past Davison.
  3. Davison drops a cross and seems to fall into a City defender. David Connelly pops it in. Three goals, all gifted.
  4. David Connelly performs a precise stooping header after a nice move.
  5. Jermaine Darlington runs at he City backline and bends it in from the edge of the box.

The other problem is the way that City fan's put blame at Valley Parade. The majority's voice is scapgoating: "Robert Molenaar was rubbish, it's all his fault, the defenders are rubbish" and so on.

Then when the scapegoats are found, the saviours are then found. "Harpal Singh was crying out for it on the wing". A pet hate of mine since the days of Tim Steele, the winger who hugs the far touchline shouting for the ball when he should be getting inside and hunting for the ball. Singh, who had a good game on the whole, stood on the left flank screaming for a ball that the likes of David Beckham and Juan Veron would consider one of their better passes. It is selfish play and I do not like it.

The defending problem though does nt come back to school boy errors, although they do not help, but rather in the fact that Nicky Law is picking unbalanced teams that are stacked to attack. If you are looking for a scapegoat for this game, look at the bench.

Man of the Match
Andy Gray

Played the target man role as well as Ashley Ward did and seemed to spark up a relationship with the also excellent Delroy Facey.

Bradford City Team
Aidan Davision for the injured Steve Banks, Danny Cadamarteri for Emanuel