Bradford City 4
Yeates 20, Wells 24, Hanson 29, Jones 67
Carlisle United 0
Saturday 10 August, 2013
Written by Mark Scully (images by Claire Epton, see note below)
League One football returned to Valley Parade with a stylish performance as Bradford City destroyed Carlisle United. Greg Abbott’s side have suffered a torrid start to the league campaign having been walloped 5-1 at home to Leyton Orient last Saturday. They did manage a shock result over Blackburn Rovers in the cup mid-week; but if yesterday was anything to go by, Abbott will be out of a job very soon – at least for their sake Coventry have the -10pts, otherwise pathetically they’d be rock bottom right now.
Phil Parkinson rung the changes from the defeat at Huddersfield recalling the big guns and starting with the same team that performed superbly at Ashton Gate on the opening day of the season. One change on the bench was Ricky Ravenhill for Jason Kennedy who was left out of the match day squad altogether.
The Bantams started brightly enough keeping possession and playing some brilliant football. Having witnessed the 2-2 at Bristol City and then again yesterday, to me it is clear that we are evolving into a side that no longer hit it and hope to Hanson – we actually get the ball on the deck and play football.
Man of the match Mark Gillespie, in the visitors’ goal, had already denied Nahki Wells when the Bermudan had raced clear on goal, along with a couple of other decent chances in the opening 20 minutes. However Gillespie could do nothing about the opener – an absolute stunner from Mark Yeates, his first for the club that sailed into the top corner after he had cut in from the left side. Funnyily enough, on the way to the ground we were chatting about Yeates and the type of goals he scores. A simple look on Youtube suggests that this is his type of goal – very rarely does he appear to get a simple tap in.
1-0 quickly became 2-0 as Carlisle offered absolutely no resistant to the rampant Bantams. A tame header back from the Carlisle defender was capitalised on by the hottest property in League One: Nahki Wells. He rounded the keeper and then, from a ridiculous angle near enough on the byline, bent the ball into the far corner. Game, set and match after just 25 minutes.
3-0 was soon to be shown on the score board as four minutes later thanks to James Hanson, who tormented the visitors all afternoon. Personally I think that was his best ever performance in a City shirt. For the goal he bullied Danny Livesey into hitting the deck, allowing the big man clean on goal and slotting home with his right foot to again send the Valley Parade faithful into dreamland. That is apart from the top tier of the T L Dallas stand, where I’m sure some of the Carlisle away support will have been rustling around in their pockets to find the car keys and make a quick beeline for the exits.
The Bantams could and probably should have been 4-0 up at half time, as Garry Thompson was put clear through but Gillespie denied him with a great save to his right hand side. As half time arrived three sides of the ground rose as one and roundly cheered Parky’s men off in recognition of a sensational first half performance.
Into the second half it was more of the same as Bradford laid siege again to the Carlisle United goal. By this time, the chap in charge of the score board must have felt it would read better if Carlisle was changed to Gillespie because it was basically a game of attack vs keeper. What was in-between Gillespie and Bradford was a poor excuse for a side. The keeper made a string of brilliant saves in the second half.
I’ll probably miss some, as we had that many chances it’s difficult to remember them all, but Wells was denied at least three times. Thompson missed two glorious chances. On another day both Wells and Thompson would be fighting over the match ball. Gillespie also denied Yeates from doubling his tally, after a fantastic solo run in the visitors’ penalty area, where he must have gone past three maybe four Carlisle defenders before poking it towards goal where it was easily dealt with.
The performance at times from Yeates was the closest thing to Peter Beagrie we’ve had since the City legend departed the club 12 years ago. The passage of play I’ve just mentioned brought back memories of when Beagrie did the same thing on a near identical part of the pitch against Coventry, only that time the ball nestled in the back of the net.
The fourth goal arrived midway through the second half. Wells closed down a clearance and, from the half way line, was clean through on the right. He reached the penalty area before pulling it back for magic man Gary Jones, who ran 60 yards or so to get with play and calmly slotted it into the bottom corner. Cue a booming rendition of “He’s magic, ya know” – I love that man!
That was the end of the scoring, but not the chances. Rafael De Vita had by now entered the fray and twice he went close with headers. Hanson and Jones both also had opportunities. Had the game finished 10/15-0 that would have been a fair scoreline…ridiculous!
A special mention to the visiting fans, who despite been 4-0 down and being torn to pieces applauded Wells off the pitch when the striker was subbed late in the day. That shows class. Personally, had it have been the other way round I’m not sure I’d of been applauding him off, especially given he only made a handful of appearances for the Cumbrian side.
I personally can’t see how Wells will still be at a Valley Parade before the transfer window shuts. A host of clubs must be looking at him and they can’t fail to be impressed. Somewhere in the region of £2 million plus, at a guess, would be enough to land him. If he goes we are danger of blowing a great opportunity of having a real go at challenging for back-to-back promotions.
A note also for the back five, who let’s be honest probably won’t have an easier game all season, but still carried out their jobs professionally. I’d love to know how many yards James Meredith covers on the left hand side during a game. He’s up and down that wing like a yo-yo – one of the best, if not the best, left back in this division in my opinion.
As the full time whistle went I was quite disappointed. Disappointed that I didn’t have another 30 minutes or hour more of watching Bradford torment and batter the visitors. Very rarely do these type of performances come along where it is so easy and so one sided – and you have to enjoy them. Because it could be another month, six months or a year before we win at such a canter again.
It might only be two games old but so far so good. It’s feels great to be back in League One.
City: McLaughlin, Darby, McArdle, Davies, Meredith, Thompson (De Vita 66), Jones, Doyle, Yeates (Reid 70), Hanson, Wells (Connell 84)
Not used: Ripley, Taylor, McHugh, Ravenhill
A special, special thanks to Claire Epton for providing the wonderful images included in this report. Take a read of her blog, because it’s ace and full of similarly brilliant photos.