Back to winning ways after City edge Dons thriller

23 Nov

Mark D (1)

MK Dons 2

Bamford 35, Williams 72 (pen)

Bradford City 3

Wells 21, Reid 43, Kennedy 84

Saturday 23 November, 2013

Words and images by Mark Danylczuk

Ah, that winning feeling. It has been missing for some time, but it’s back and it feels very good indeed.

Bradford City’s first win in seven was long overdue. But it was a gutsy collective team performance that managed to edge it over MK Dons, in an entertaining game where the Bantams were twice pegged back after taking the lead.

City made one change from the team that drew 3-3 against Coventry last Sunday, with a surprise start for Jason Kennedy coming in for Nathan Doyle. The nerves seemed apparent for Kennedy, as within the first minute he carelessly lost possession in City’s half, almost allowing MK Dons in for an early goal.

It was the home side who settled the quickest and created the opening chance of the game with Stephen Gleeson hitting the bar from a free kick. The midfielder had another chance moments later, with a left footed shot from outside the box that was well saved by Jon McLaughlin. The front pairing of McLeod and Bamford were proving lively and finding space, with inventive runs keeping the back pair of Matthew Bates and Rory McArdle busy.

However, against the run of play, City took the lead in the 21st minute. A lively run down the right from Garry Thompson drew a foul. Gary Jones squared the resultant free kick to Thompson outwide and the winger’s cross was neatly tucked away by Nakhi Wells for his fourth goal in six days. It gave the Bantams impetus and belief, as they began to get a grip of the game. Jones was becoming more of a presence in midfield, and Kyel Reid caused problems by making his usual trademark runs on the left.

But in a game of twists and turns it was MK Dons who capitalised on a couple of City errors to get the equaliser in the 34th minute. Firstly Thompson carelessly gave the ball away in his own half and the impressive right winger, Darren Potter, slotted a through ball – wrongly left by Rory McArdle – for Bamford to run onto and strike past the on-rushing McLaughlin.

It was the on-loan Chelsea youngster’s 12th goal in 17 games, and his intelligent running and gifted technique will surely propel him to success in the higher leagues. Potter continued to give James Meredith a torrid time on the MK Dons’ right, and the link up play between winger Dele Alli (given man of the match), Potter, McLeod and Bamford meant the City defence had a busy afternoon.

The pendulum then shifted again back into the visitor’s favour as Reid delivered another wonder goal – this time a wonderful solo effort, on a par with the stunner against Walsall in October. After picking the ball up on the left hand side just past the half way line, Reid embarked on a mazy run that took him past a number of defenders and to the edge of the box, from where he launched an audacious chip into the top left corner, beating the opposing keeper, who was virtually stationed on his own line. It was unclear whether it was a cross or meant as a shot, but either way it sent the City fans into raptures and ensured their team took a narrow, if slightly underserved, lead into the break.

City began the second half strongly, with Jones becoming an ever-growing presence in midfield, contrasting to the quiet Kennedy who was struggling to impose himself. Reid continued his mazy runs and – based on yet another influential performance – we should be worried if he was to get an injury, as the other widemen aren’t providing that same level of threat.

A third goal Bantams goal almost came in the 51st minute, as a Gary Jones corner was met with a James Hanson diving header which went inches wide to the left hand post. MK Dons prodded and probed in response and, throughout, played a decent game on the floor, always passing out from the back. One of the better sides City have faced for sure and worthy play off challengers, who deserve to play in a fuller stadium.

City had another great chance in the 64th minute as Hanson drew a free-kick outside the area after being fouled. It was a sense of deja-vu as Wells hit another free kick against the frame of the goal, as per the Coventry game. In and end-to-end contest, MK Dons had the next opportunity with a Powell shot from inside the box smartly saved by McLaughlin.

A few minutes later the Bantams were pegged back again as Wells was adjudged to have brought down Alli in the area. It was difficult to see the decision, as it occurred at the opposite end from us; but it looked more like a coming together of the two players and seemed harsh. It was more hurtful as the referee did not give it originally, but after a pause he pointed to the spot upon the instruction of the linesman. Defender Shaun Williams calmly converted from the spot, and it was all square again.

As both teams searched for a winner, Phil Parkinson made changes in bringing on Nathan Doyle for Thompson (Doyle slotting into the middle with Kennedy moving out right) and Mark Yeates later came on for Reid, which seemed surprising due to the latter’s inspired form. Yet the substitutions were to pay dividends, as in the 83rd minute Jones won a hearty challenge in midfield, Yeates slotted the ball through to Meredith, who cut it across goal for the on-rushing Kennedy to tap in at the back post. City held on well until the end, edging a contest from which a point would have probably been a fairer result.

A number of positives can be taken forward – Jones was dominant and influential in the middle, Reid a constant threat down the left and – once again – the character of the team in grinding out the victory. On the negative side, more work needs to be done defensively as the Bantams shipped their ninth goal in their last five games. City invited pressure with too many easy losses of possession, notably from the opening Dons goal; and this is part of the basics which Parkinson needs to iron out.

Nevertheless it is a very welcome three points – and with City playing Notts County, the bottom side, at home on Tuesday, there is a perfect opportunity to get six points in three days and cement the play off position that today’s victory restored. City will need to be cautious though, after the experience of losing to then-bottom club Tranmere at home in October, which begun the slide that has now finally been ended. But with the commitment levels and character of this side, we have every reason to be optimistic.

City: McLaughlin, Darby, McArdle, Bates, Meredith, Thompson(Doyle 77), Jones, Kennedy, Reid (Yeates 82), Hanson, Wells

Not used: Ripley, Taylor, Connell, De Vita, McBurnie

Mark D (2)

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11 Responses to “Back to winning ways after City edge Dons thriller”

  1. Simon scott November 23, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    Great report. First goal wasn’t Jones free kick. He played it short to Tommo who put in a great cross to Wells. Tommo got a lot of stick today, but we should remember Arsenal, Villa away and his performance in the play off final

  2. Mike H November 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    I think you do Kennedy a disservice and Parkinson deserves credit for picking him. In the first half I thought City were as poor as I have seen them this season and yes Kennedy made a bad start. But Parkinson must have ripped into the team at half time because I thought we were very impressive in the second. Kennedy played an important part in pushing MK back and not letting them settle on the ball and play as they had done – the whole of the front six put in a great effort in the second half which I thought we edged. He also scored a goal and looked full of running – it was a tap in because he got himself in a great position which neither Jones or Doyle would have got to because it’s not their style. Unfortunately the foul mouthed boo boys who think everyone wants to hear their bile now seem to have a new target in Thompson, as Hanson and Reid are playing too well for them to slate. We’re all entitled to an opinion and I am surprised he has featured ahead of Yeats so often. But please get behind the team on the pitch, think about the women and more civilised humans around you and get behind all of the players. And yes that man Thompson won the foul and crossed for the first goal

  3. Bambi November 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    factual mistakes regarding both opening goals, Thompson crossing for ours Darby not involved in theirs, makes the entire article questionable which is a shame for largely reliable blog

    • Jason November 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

      thank you for your comment and fixed the mistakes. Bearing in mind Mark only saw the goals once before filing his report, and arguably not from the best position (in the away end), I’d ask you to cut him a bit of slack and the rest of his report is excellent.

    • christophernewell November 24, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

      Bit harsh I would say Bambi, it’s really not that big a deal if there are 2 slight errors in the report; the man is still entitled to write his opinions.

      • Mark D November 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

        Thanks Jason and Chris for your support. As Jason said I wrote the report before seeing highlights and I try to use official text commentary from various sites to clarify any incidents I am unsure of. Apologies if you disagree but It’s just my opinion. As well as focusing on positives I think a report should be balanced and address negatives. I am 100 percent behind the team but I like to write fairly. I spend a lot of time and effort in my reports and whilst I appreciate constructive comments I find other criticism quite harsh and hurtful.

  4. Jason November 24, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    As I just said on the phone to Mark, the hardest part of my role as editor of the site is seeing a writer who I know has worked really hard on something be made to feel upset when it is criticised. I don’t think there is ever a problem with someone having an opposing view to what someone has written, but it should always be aired in a respectful manner. Sadly, from time-to-time this doesn’t happen.

    I’m always grateful for anyone who takes the time to write for Width of a Post – no one is ever paid for it. We do have quality controls in place which means articles have been rejected in the past, as I’m keen to maintain high standards. Unfortunately, mistakes or inaccuracies happen from time to time. I know that I certainly get things wrong in reports. Last January I had a number of Villa fans criticising my first leg match report for getting their left back wrong. And this was after I had doubled checked the team formations on Sky’s coverage of the game!

    I’m keen that the reader comments be a place where we can all interact and have intelligent debates – as happens on a regular basis. But there also needs to be respect shown between everyone. This ain’t a message board!

    I don’t want to have to go down to the route of putting rules in place on the site for reader comments, so let’s all play nicely ;-)

  5. David L November 24, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Mark. Thanks for the report. As someone who’s contributed to the site regularly I know how difficult it can be to get the tone and content of the report correct. I don’t think anyone writes without being conscientious and being their own worst critic. The blogs for me are about points of view and reflections on the experience of a match. This is an advantage over mainstream reporting. It’s also why, whilst I may disagree with some reports, I value them as ‘another interpretation’. I know how difficult it can be to take criticism but I like to think that harsh comments are the result of misunderstanding the desired effect of the language in the article or in the response.

  6. john wade November 24, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    Thanks, Jason. Please let us all retain the courtesy for which this web-site is renowned.

  7. chopperxxx November 24, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    To be honest, I didn’t even notice the mistakes. The report was the usual balanced, well-written and entertaining report that WOAP is renowned for and mistakes in minor details are fairly irrelevant (other than when looking back in a historical capacity).

    I would actually much rather have a 99% accurate report the same day rather than a 100% accurate report the day or so after.

    Keep up the good work chaps.

  8. Paul Jackson November 25, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Great article well done Mark. Im never sure why somebody would feel the need to take time to write a negative comment about what is clearly a nice article to keep the fans informed. I was at the game and in the main I agree with your sentiments. Its funny how opinions can differ though, I love Reidy but I thought both he and Tommo were some way short of their best on Saturday. A vital win and roll on Tuesday.

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