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Town Fight Back but too Late
By: Stuart Rowson
STUART ROWSON of The Grimsby Telegraph gives his report of the defeat at Bradford City in which the Mariners fought back from 2 goals down to eventually lose 3-2 because of what manager Lennie Lawrence described as "a lack of concentration"
Bradford City 3 Grimsby Town 2
Grimsby Town boss Lennie Lawrence was forced to make three changes to the side that lost to Gillingham for the first time today. John McDermott, Menno Willems and Marlon Broomes were missing through injury as Lawrence was forced into switching to a 4-3-3 system.
Danny Butterfield dropped in for McDermott, leaving Lawrence with only three remaining midfielders.
Bradley Allen made his first start of the season after his goal as a substitute against the Gills, taking up a deep position behind Phil Jevons and Jonny Rowan as Town looked to get their faltering campaign back on track.
Young centre-back Simon Ford was on the bench along with pacy striker Michael Boulding.
A defeat in the impressive Valley Parade stadium could see Town slip out of the division's top 10 for the first time this season, but they were boosted by the news that maverick Italian Benito Carbone was missing with a bad hamstring.
Target man Ashley Ward was a surprising inclusion along with 17- year old Lewis Emanuel who won his league debut for the Bantams.
The last time the two sides met in the league Town lost 3-0 when Aidan Davison, named as a sub for Bradford today, was in goal for the Mariners.
Town lined up in a curious combination of black and white shirts with amber shorts as they at tacked the huge Carlsberg stand in the first half.
Jevons appeared to be through on goal after just two minutes only for referee Dowd to blow for offside after a neat ball from Allen.
Bradford won the first corner of the game when David Beharall headed Gunnar Halle's poor cross and Rowan cleared from under his own bar when the centre came in.
The home side settled quickly using a 4-3-3 formation with Jess and Blake supporting Ward.
Former Barnsley striker, Ward was twice caught offside as Gareth Whalley tried to steer the ball through but Town held their line well and the linesman dutifully responded.
But Ward slipped the trap and should have put the home side ahead after a ball from Halle, but he wasted the chance and fired into the side netting.
Two minutes later Bradford got the goal their early dominance had threaten when Robbie Blake controlled a Whalley cross and twisted and turned before slotting the ball past Coyne.
Left back Tony Gallimore picked up a booking as he took out his frustration with a bad tackle on Halle, and then nearly equalised for the Mariners with a sweet free-kick after Allen was brought down.
The home side stormed forward again when Gary Locke robbed Wayne Burnett in the centre circle and charged upfield before releasing Ward whose cross was too high for Blake.
The Mariners were struggling to get out of their own half and Bradford won another corner when Beharall blocked from Blake.
Just as Town thought they had cleared their lines, the ball came back to Bradford and Whalley forced a full length save from Coyne from just 10 yards.
As the game wore on it was Rowan who was dropping deep instead of Allen but Lawrence's side were struggling to come to terms with a narrow formation which was offering acres of space to right back Halle.
Town began to slowly force their way into the game after the early barrage but, when they did get forward through Rowan, there was no support for the midfielder and the Bradford defence cleared the danger.
But the revival was short-lived as Blake played in Jess who was given time and space to pick his spot and place the ball past the out-stretched arm of Coyne and into the net.
A sign of Town's frustration came two minutes later when Groves was booked for dissent for the second time in a week after a foul on Blake.
Town won their first corner through Jevons' persistence but the ball was easily cleared and Bradford came forward once more.
Town were doing their best to battle their way into the game and they won their second corner only for Wetherall to head clear under pressure from Beharall.
A neat glancing header from Jevons sent Rowan racing down the left but the youngster's cross was hacked away with Bradley Allen waiting in the box.
Determined work from Campbell and Pouton saw Allen find space in to area but his cross was clumsily cleared by Emanuel.
Picking the ball up in midfield, Pouton was left with little option but to try a shot on goal from 25 yards but could only send his effort wildly out for a throw.
Rowan was then only inches from connecting with a Campbell cross after a clear push from Wetherall but the youngster couldn't reach the ball as he found himself free in the box.
Town were finally taking the game to the home side as half- time approached and Allen's through ball was too heavy for Campbell after some neat play.
Rowan almost fluked an equaliser on the stroke of half-time as he hooked the ball goalwards from the by-line but the ball fell on the roof of the net after looping over the stranded Walsh.
In first half injury time Coyne kept his side in the game with a brilliant block from Jess after the former Coventry man had played a wonderful one-two with Blake.
Half-time: Bradford 2, Grimsby 0
A long clearance from Coyne put Molenaar under pressure immediately after the restart but the defender kept his cool to nod back to Walsh despite the close attention of Rowan.
Whalley could have made it 3-0 after Pouton was caught napping but the Bradford midfielder fired straight at Coyne from seven yards after Ward's cross found its way across the box.
Town were still pushing forward and Campbell curled a shot just past the post after a quick interchange between Allen and Rowan.
Jevons then lazily fired a shot over the bar after a neat flick from Rowan as Town looked for a goal, which would get them back in it.
From a Butterfield cross Rowan again was inches short of contact as the 19-year-old slipped his marker in the box.
Rowan was easily Town's biggest threat and his cross was touched onto the bar by keeper Walsh after clever play from Jevons.
And it was Rowan who handed his side a lifeline on 58 minutes when he ghosted in unmarked at the near post to head home a Campbell corner for his fourth goal of the season.
On the break Bradford nearly restored their two-goal advantage only for Coyne to pull off an acrobatic one-handed save from Blake.
On the hour a clearly tired Phil Jevons was replaced by the electric pace of Boulding in an attacking move by Town boss Lawrence who was urging his side forward.
It was Rowan again who created a chance for Allen but the Bradford defence recovered and the danger was cleared.
The home crowd were getting on the backs of their team as Town began to dominate the proceedings. with Boulding scoring
Wayne Burnett became the third Town player to be booked after a pull on Jess as the Bantams tried to break forward.
Gallimore then bravely blocked a Jess effort after Bradford's first corner of the second half and Coyne saved low to his right from a badly hit Ward shot.
In a strange decision by manager Lawrence, Michael Jeffrey was brought on for the outstanding Rowan, the manager obviously felt that the youngster's heroics had taken their toll.
Town were still pushing forward but on a rare Bradford counter attack McCall hit a free-kick well wide after Groves fouled Ward. Bradford then scored the wining goal
Full Time: Bradford City 3 Grimsby Town 2
This report reproduced by courtesy of The Grimsby Telegraph.
Manager Lennie Lawrence's Post Match Comments:
"We outplayed Bradford for 35 minutes in the second half, but then we gave the ball away needlessly on the halfway line, which sparked off a spell of pressure.
"Our defence's weakness in the air is well documented and Ashley Ward scored their winner with a header.
"The spirit of the players is fantastic and they worked hard to pull the score back to 2-2, but when it needed a bit of nous and concentration, they have thrown it away.
"The spirit is good, but our concentration levels are hopeless. We can play, but we have got to learn how to win again."
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