Bradford City 2 Dyer 8, Paynter 89
Nottingham Forest 2 Tyson 10, Lester 18
Bradford have had a difficult week; having lost both Nathan Doyle and Jermaine Johnson in addition to the departure of Windass the week before it was all change today. For yours truly, a first chance to see 4 new players: Omar Daley, our new right winger signed from Charleston Battery ; Bruce Dyer loan from Doncaster; Billy Paynter on loan from Southend; and Kelly Youga – quite possibly the first footballer from the Central African Republic to ever play for Bradford, and likely the first ever player called Kelly – on loan from Charlton. Doyle would be replaced at right back by Richard Edghill. Not something to put the locals at their ease…
From the off, the game was open. Both sides committed to attack, and City took the lead after 8 minutes. Not for the first time, Daley raced clear on the right and put in a fantastic cross for Paynter. His header was saved by visiting keeper Smith, but the rebound was headed goalwards by Dyer, and despite the efforts of a defender that caused him to hit post and bar, the goal was given.
The advantage was given up straight away. Almost from the kick off, Bentham gave the ball away (for neither the first nor last time), Forest swept forwards and Tyson outpaced the labouring centrebacks to beat Ricketts and score off the post. The game swung Forest’s way, City unable to retain the ball. And yet 8 minutes later when Lester received the ball with back to goal, there seemed no danger. Except Wetherall and Edghill just stopped and allowed him to turn and beat Ricketts without a challenge. And then back to the usual routine; inability to do any of the important things at all. They were fortunate to go in only 1 behind at half time.
The second half was attritional and scrappy, and Bridge-Wilkinson seemed to give up with 25 minutes to go. Unacceptable. Right then, it looked like there was going to be a long 4 months to the end of the season. Yet City graduallly edged far enough forwards to start to threaten. They were presented with a golden chance to equalise 10 minutes from time when keeper Smith’s awful clearance was squared by Paynter to Daley, who blazed wide with the whole of the goal to aim at.
The game opened up; City went to 3 up front, and Dobie thought he’d scored when he broke away from Bower and chipped over the advancing Ricketts, only for Edghill to clear off the line (the only positive thing he did in an otherwise nightmarish afternoon). Then, from a similar breakaway Ricketts denied Grant Holt with a brilliant block when you’d put your house on him scoring. There was a long remonstration between the Forest keeper and his centrebacks over them defending too deep in a goalmouth scramble. And then with a minute to go, in an almost identical situation, Edghill’s high ball to the far post was headed down by Dyer for Paynter to score from 6 yards.
Forest should be sick. Here was an easy three points in the bag, but they seemed to be more content to sit back and time waste than grab the game and finish it. For City, well done for those that kept going – particularly the front two who had almost no service all afternoon. But a midfield clearout is badly needed; none of the current personnel seem to be up to it.
MOTM: Youga. Bizarrely replaced with 20 minutes to go, because the manager thought “he was struggling”. Struggling???!
Bradford (4-4-2): Ricketts – Edghill, Wetherall, Bower, Youga (Parker) – Daley, Bentham (E. Johnson), Schumacher, Bridge-Wilkinson – Paynter, Dyer. Subs not used: Hibbert, Muirhead, Howarth.
Forest (4-3-1-2): Smith – Curtis, Morgan, Breckin, Bennett – Perch, Clingan, Prutton – Lester – Holt (Chambers), Tyson (Dobie). Subs not used: Holt, McGugan, Agogo