Grimsby Town 0
Bradford City 2
Hanson 60, Yeates 86
Tuesday 23 July, 2013
Words and image by Mike Holdsworth
In a crowd of 1,330, the small City following of around 250 squeezed into a tight corner of Blundell Park. A functional ground, little changed from my last visit over 20 years ago. I once thought the large Findus Stand particularly impressive, not least for the fine view across the Humber when a game failed to spark.
Conflicting fortunes for the two clubs in the intervening period but there was a time, circa March last season, when the two clubs seemed destined to spend 2013/14 scrapping in League Two. The night’s proceedings clearly demonstrated the two division gap. It’s there and it’s real. We were a class apart without having to try too hard.
City enjoyed a strong first 20 minutes. James Hanson headed narrowly wide from close range. Mark Yeates soon worked a chance in the box and chipped wide and then Nathan Doyle volleyed over from the edge of the area. Grimsby were competing well, Jon McLaughlin saved point blank when Cook might have scored and then dived well to halt Joe Colbeck. The same ex-City man then wasted a 25-yard free kick to predictable derision from the City contingent.
The rest of the half had a ring of practice match and petered out, but throughout the 90 minutes both teams deserved credit for a focus on passing and building. With the hoofball evident at times last season rarely seen.
City were dominant in the second half. Substitutes Nahki Wells and Garry Thompson completely outshone the earlier efforts of Alan Connell and Kyel Reid. Wells’ pace and trickery predictably made life difficult for the Grimsby back line. Thompson ran the right side of the pitch with great determination throughout and will not give up his starting place without a fight.
Another strong first 20 minutes of the half this time turned the match City’s way. Yeates again showed his ability to fashion a chance from nowhere, a weaker shot this time, but he was to send over a cross on 55 minutes which was scraped clear at the far post and Doyle shot just wide following the corner. On the hour, after sustained pressure, Thompson worked one of many good crosses (remember Wembley) low to Hanson, who finished confidently. With no let up from City, a 20 yard Wells run was ended in the box and Rory McArdle miscued from 12 yards.
Grimsby rarely threatened in the second half. A misplaced pass from Doyle saw McLaughlin spring off his line to tidy up and rare City hesitancy saw a blocked shot and corner. Ross Hannah was to the fore here, but he had come on in a late flood of substitutions largely unnoticed by the City contingent.
It was City who continued to push forward with Wells, Thompson and Yeates linking well. On 85 minutes a strong run from Jason Kennedy earned a free kick 20 yards out. Yeates impressively curled his shot directly over the wall past a motionless keeper to wrap up a neat, efficient City win.
Yeates’ approach play was full of quality and creativity, always available, an eye for goal, good link up play and my man of the match. So much more to his game than a Blair Turgott or Zavon Hines and more variety than Reid. He will shine against tougher opposition and his style can bring even more out of Wells.
League One watch out.
Lennywatch – didn’t see him in the guise of either ‘old man in kit’ or ‘fluffy Bantam type thing’. But the fans seemed to take to a new touchline cult figure in the shape of our female photographer whose name escapes me. She seemed to revel in the attention and got her own song – a first for a photographer? Move over Lenny.
City: McLaughlin, Darby, Davies (Nelsin 70), McArdle, Meredith (Kennedy 70), Yeates, Jones, Doyle, Reid (Thompson 46), Connell (Wells 46), Hanson (Swain 80)
Categories: Match Reviews