Thursday, March 21, 2013
Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and Aston Villa were the teams beaten by Bradford City in their amazing run to the final of the Capital One League Cup and last weekend they travelled to St James Park with this giant killing reputation and hoping to build on their push for the League two playoff positions, writes Gareth Thomas.
If for one minute they were counting their proverbial chickens and thought that Exeter’s previous home form record would be to their advantage ,they were sorely mistaken as City saw the Bantams off with a fine 4-1 win home victory. With just seven games to go the Grecians now sit comfortably in fifth place, two off the automatic promotion berths and with a comfortable gap between those teams hoping to nudge their way into the play-offs.
Ahead of the game, with first team midfielders Matt Oakley, Tommy Doherty and Liam Sercombe all absent through injury, manager Paul Tisdale needed to take action and signed 20-year-old Reading youngster Lawson D’Ath on a youth loan deal to fill the gap, which he did with aplomb, scoring on his debut!
Bradford started the game well forcing a successions of corners in the first few minutes, but came off second best in the first 45 minutes after Craig Woodman’s corner kick after 11 minutes hit the post and went in off Bantams keeper Matt Duke. The energetic and resourceful newcomer Lawson D’Ath made it 2-0 with a header at the post from Arron Davies’s cross on the stroke of half time.
At the break Bradford boss Phil Parkinson rang the changes looking to change his teams approach to the game with more emphasis on play from the wings, which did up the pressure on the Grecians. Bradford pulled one back in the 78th minute with an almost identical goal to Exeter’s opener and then the building pressure was relieved when the two-goal lead was re-established five minutes later with a shot from defender Scot Bennett from outside the box. With two minutes of the 90 remaining and Bradford pushing for the equaliser John O’Flynn sneaked in the 4th goal from a breakaway led by Keohane and Molesley. Game over!
After the match the City manager summed up his thoughts of the result against a Bradford side he regards as one of the best in League Two. He said: “It was a very much-needed three points, it was a comprehensive score line in the end against a very good team and we had a host of extremely good individual performances. Most of all though, it was an excellent team performance. We were very competitive. Our back four has been quite settled and in very good form. Mark Molesley and Scot Bennett don’t play together very often in centre midfield and as a pair they were very competitive and tough. They were aided by the quick thinking of Lawson D’Ath, who made a fantastic debut.”
Tomorrow (Saturday) City are on the long road to Rotherham who currently sit seventh with 63 points, two fewer than City.
Every game is now absolutely mission critical to the aspirations of the manager, the team and the fans, so another away win to add to the 11 already recorded would do very nicely, but of course this is no time to be counting chickens! Come on you Reds.