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West Yorkshire Woe. Episode 2.
By: Ian Townsend
MIKE Newell’s three match unbeaten record as manager of Grimsby Town looked set to be severely tested as high-flying Bradford City made the short journey down the M62 for the Friday evening kick off between the two sides.
Newell opted to stick with the side that came so close against Luton to ending the long winless run.
Clarke, Bennett, Heywood, Newey,
Till, Hunt, Trotter, Heggarty
Subs: Montgomery, Llewellyn, Stockdale, North, Taylor.
There was to be no repeat of the first minute goal scoring heroics which had been a feature of the previous two home matches as Bradford settled quicker into their stride. Indeed Town could have conceded early but for Newey making an excellent block when the ball fell to an unmarked Bradford attacker on the edge of the box.
Town seemed unable to cope with the speed of the Bradford attacks and it was entirely with the run of play when with only 7 minutes on the clock Bradford opened the scoring. Omar Daley picked up the ball just outside the right hand side of Town’s penalty area, walked through a poor challenge from Jamie Clark and, as the rest of the Town defence stood by, ran 10 yards before firing an unstoppable shot beyond Barnes into the top left corner.
Town attempted to exert a bit of pressure and on 11 minutes were given a gilt-edged opportunity to get back into the game as Bradford were reduced to 10 men. A good run and pass from Till found Jarman in the box and as he shaped to shoot the young forward was unceremoniously pulled back by defender Clarke who was shown a straight red card for the professional foul.
Town forced their way back into the game, aided and abetted by some careless defending from Bradford, which saw a series of free kicks in dangerous places come Town’s way. Unfortunately as so often with Town this season these were largely wasted with Newey being the chief culprit. When Clarke was given the opportunity he got the ball over the wall but narrowly wide with the 'keeper in some difficulty.
Town were pushing forward but in truth their play offered little in the way of incisive movement and their task was made doubly difficult when after 32 minutes Bradford broke down the left, Newey missed his tackle and the ball fell to, of all people, Michael Boulding who coolly slotted home into Phil Barnes’s bottom right hand corner from about 12 yards. Boulding, to his credit, refused to celebrate perhaps mindful of the good times he’d had as a player at Blundell Park. How Town could do with a striker of his undoubted ability now.
Town however came straight back at Bradford and more good work by Till saw a good cross come in which was met firmly by the head of Hunt who found the keeper equal to the effort, which deserved more than the ensuing corner.
Half time came to the sound of sporadic booing from the home fans struggling to come to terms with Town’s lack of ability to cash in on their opponents lack of numbers.
HALF TIME: Grimsby Town 0 Bradford City 2.
Mike Newell’s team talk at the interval succeeded in galvanising his players into action as Town tore into their opponents from the starting whistle. First Bore chose perhaps unwisely to place his shot in a one on one, seeing his effort curl wide and then from one of a succession of corners Hegarty saw a bullet header saved by Evans in the Bradford goal. From the rebound Trotter somehow contrived to miss his kick from all of two yards. It was beginning to take on an all too familiar look. Plenty of pressure but a lack of expertise in front of goal.
How Town were to rue those misses as, from a rare foray up the park Bradford scored a third. As so often this season it was the defending at set pieces which let Town down. A corner came in and Bradford’s central defender Lee got in front of an almost comical Heywood for a free header giving Barnes no chance.
Newell’s immediate reaction was to bring on Danny North for Jarman who had as usual worked his socks off. As in recent weeks though his play had lacked the guile necessary to cause problems for Bradford in the right areas.
The change worked to Town’s benefit almost immediately as, from a bit of sustained pressure another corner found the head of Trotter and into the goal via the left hand post. Could Town still get something from the game?
Newell made his second substitution as Taylor made his entrance. Newell no doubt hoping that his speed could put a bit of pressure on a tiring Bradford defence. However despite a decent effort from North the game petered out. Disappointingly Taylor didn’t receive any service of note to test the manager’s theory about his pace and the Bradford players closed out the game.
FINAL SCORE Grimsby Town 1 Bradford City 3.
Disappointing from the perspective of the home fans. That first win looks as far away as ever. If he had any doubts about the size of the task he has let himself in for Mike Newell will have surely have seen those disappear. Town look short of skill all over the pitch. The effort is there but effort even at this level is not enough to win games.
Man of the Match: Difficult to choose on a poor night all round. However for me Trotter shaded it. Not just for his goal but for his willingness to get stuck in and trying to play football.
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