Aldershot Town 0
Bradford City 0
Sunday 8 November, 2015
By Tim Penfold
High in the north in a land called Svithjod there is a mountain.
It is a hundred miles long and a hundred miles high, and once every thousand years a little bird comes to this mountain to sharpen its beak.
When the mountain has thus been worn away a single day of eternity will have passed.
(Hendrik Willem van Loon, History of Mankind, 1922)
And in that time Bradford City would still have not scored against Aldershot…
Some football games have an inevitability about them. Today was one of these. Bradford City huffed and puffed against a hard-working but limited Aldershot Town side, but such was the lack of creativity on display that they could still be playing now and not have scored.
The team seemed unbalanced from the very beginning, particularly in midfield. Lee Evans missed out through suspension, and Gary Liddle, while solid defensively, does not provide the same level of technical skill or forward movement. On the left, Kyel Reid had his poorest game since his return, providing no attacking threat and not much interest in proceedings, while on the right Tony McMahon was entirely redundant as a defensive wide man.
McMahon has been excellent in this role in recent weeks. He has made City much harder to beat and his set piece delivery, while below par today, is normally excellent. However, he offers very little going forward in open play, and in games like today his extra defensive solidity is unnecessary, and highlighted the need for the extra creator. Since shifting to this system, City have only scored three goals from open play, and none in the league since Rochdale. This isn’t enough for a side with ambitions above mid-table.
The game never got going as a contest, providing very few moments of interest, and the second half made the aforementioned day of eternity seem short. Aldershot didn’t lack for effort, and had a couple of decent moments in the first half, with Ben Williams making one fine save.
In the second half, however, City controlled the game, with Reece Burke snuffing out any attempts at attacks by Aldershot, but never showed any sort of urgency or movement, seemingly content to take three touches then pass it sideways forever. It was the performance of a team that didn’t seem to want to win.
Billy Clarke was an honourable exception to this, looking sharp and having City’s best chance of the game tipped wide. It was frustrating that he had to be substituted for fitness reasons, with replacement Devante Cole not providing the same level of threat, although one snap-shot on the turn was the closest that City came to troubling the keeper in the final half hour.
All of this leaves City with a replay that they don’t particularly want, and some serious concerns going forward. And for the fans who travelled down, a journey back that, while comparable to the bird wearing down the mountain, still seemed shorter than the second half.
City: Williams, Darby, McArdle, Burke, Meredith, McMahon, Liddle, Knott, Reid (Marshall 81), B Clarke (Cole 70), Hanson
Not used: Cracknell, N Clarke, Leigh, Mottley-Henry, James
Categories: Match Reviews