Still heading in the right direction as injuries cost City

Bradford City 2

Ravenhill 60, Seip 89

Morecambe 2

Davies o.g. 86, Ellison 90+1

Saturday 14 January, 2012

By Omar Eliwi

Kevin Ellison played the role of pantomime villain at Bradford City once more, as City were pegged back by Morecambe in a dramatic finish at Valley Parade.

For the most part, City were comfortably the better side. The referee in this match was terrible (what else is new in the 4th Division?); never letting James Hanson play without giving a foul against him, but ultimately he didn’t get any major decisions wrong.

In stark contrast to the reverse fixture earlier this season at the Globe Arena, City were the team who looked like they would be challenging for honours at the end of the season. Morecambe offered very, very little offensively, and the first half’s best moments all belonged to City.

Ritchie Jones hit a long range superb long range deflected effort which forced an excellent save from long-standing Shrimpers keeper Barry Roche. Hanson had a great chance but headed wide from a raig Fagan cross, and with the half drawing to a close Nahki Wells found himself clean through after Ricky Ravenhill was clattered, but the Bermudian striker was unable to keep his composure to truly test Roche.

There appeared to be only one team that would go on to win this match.

And when Ravenhill, fresh from the ink drying on his new permanent two-and-a-half-year deal with the club, hit a superb effort from 20 yards after a deflected Andrew Davies cross fell into his path, the afternoon appeared to be heading to its expected outcome.

Ravenhill’s goal and performance was even more impressive given the fact that he was hurt in the warm up but decided to play through the pain barrier.

Two City injuries later in the second half unexpectedly changed the course of this game. Luke Oliver, colossal this season so far and my vote for player of the season, limped off and Marcel Seip stepped in alongside Davies at centre back to his more familiar position.

At right back, Rob Kozluk, who had an excellent debut, was also forced off, hopefully only suffering with cramp. Ravenhill was forced to play at right back, and Morecambe manager Jim Bentley quickly took advantage of Ravenhill playing out of position, by using the left hand wing as their constant attacking outlet.

And half fit Ravenhill struggled. In retrospect, Parkinson might have been better to shift Seip to right back and sacrifice a striker to close the game out.

However, he did not, and after a powerful Lawrence Wilson run and cross, Davies, at full pelt and fully committed, could not prevent his effort in stopping the run from turning into an own goal.

Just as it looked like we were going to have to settle for a point, the excellent Seip popped up in the last minute to squeeze home a strike out of a packed penalty area that left Valley Parade rocking. Parkinson’s gamble keeping his offensive lineup on the field throughout the 90 minutes had paid off…or so we thought.

City fans gasped at the four minutes of injury time that was announced. Morecambe once again exploited the City left hand side, when ex Bantam loanee Jason Price flicked on to Phil Jevons, who crossed for Ellison to release a stunning strike on the half volley in front of the Kop to the dismay of the majority of the 10,086 crowd.

It was amazingly Ellison’s 12th goal of the season, and this type of contribution was something that he only provided once last season when playing in City colours. He loves playing against Bradford City, and my goodness do we hate him playing against us.

So it was a draw that felt like a defeat, but no matter what debates that followed the match, there is no doubt whatsoever that the football performances under Phil Parkinson are markedly improved in contrast to the reigns of Peter Taylor and Peter Jackson.

Parkinson has assembled a higher quality team, who are massively more enjoyable to watch, and it seems he is the man to take us forward to where we want to be going. Personally, I think he made a tactical error at the end of this match which I believe having reacted to the injury situation differently would have resulted in us getting maximum points.

But that is taking nothing away from the work that he is doing and the improvements that he has made to this team. Ultimately, City are still a ‘work in progress’ and that’s why results like this mean that the best we can hope for this season is a finish at the top end, of the bottom part of the League Two table.

City: McLaughlin, Kozluk (Dean 77), Oliver (Taylor 58), Davies, Seip, Fagan, Jones, Ravenhill, Haworth (Stewart 69), Hanson, Wells

Subs not used: Duke, Hannah

Categories: Match Reviews

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2 replies

  1. Good report. I thought Nahki Wells looked very bright for all 90 minutes. He got out to the wings to help our play flow, tracked back willingly and linked the play well in central positions. He also played a couple of good crosses and I can’t help but think he could offer something as a winger.

    Tactically, playing 1 target man against a back 3 was going nowhere and we could have done better by trying to get in behind their back line more.

  2. Nice report chief, like I said on Sat, I dont think Fagan is utilised best down the flanks, his touch and control were far below the level expected from an ex-premiership player, then throw in the lack of pace and poor crossing (apart from the one decent ball to Hanson). I would like to see him played up front, not just to fit him somewhere in the team to accomadate him as it appeared to be on Saturday. Impact player coming off the bench would work for me, give someone with a bit more fight and energy a go. (Whats Joe Colbeck doing these days? 😉 )

    As per Mal’s comments, I agree, I would like to see Wells down the wing and then Fagan/Hannah/Stewart playing with Hanson up front.

    Lets also hope that Oliver & Kozluk are not too badly injured, and that Parkinson keeps going with Jones in the middle because I though he played very well with Ravenhill when they were the centre mid partnership.

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