Scunthorpe United 0
Bradford City 2
McMahon 28 (pen), Leigh 52
Saturday 21 November, 2015
By Nikhil Vekaria
Bradford City made it nine games unbeaten with a comfortable 2-0 away victory at Scunthorpe. Goals from Tony McMahon, from the spot, and Greg Leigh secured the win, which puts City level on points with sixth-placed Bury and only out of the play offs on goal difference.
However, it could have been a very different game for City, who were backed by a magnificent away following. In their first attack of the game, The Iron almost opened the scoring but Ben Williams made a superb double save. City’s goalkeeper parried the initial shot but only as far as Scunthorpe midfielder Neal Bishop, who looked destined to score.
But Williams, who kept a club record sixth consecutive clean sheet, reacted magnificently to deny him and keep City’s amazing defensive run in tact.
The game was even from then on, with Scunthorpe making chances and enjoying possession in front of City’s back four. However, they were limited to long range efforts, and Gary McSheffrey and Paddy Madden failed to challenge Williams.
City came back into the game, with Kyel Reid slicing wide from a good position inside the box. Then, in the 28th minute, they took the lead. Reid ran onto a recycled ball into the box and attracted a foul from behind by Gary McSheffrey. The referee immediately pointed to the spot and Tony McMahon stepped up and scored straight down the middle, for his second goal in as many games, both from 12 yards.
City then looked comfortable for the rest of the half, with Billy Clarke even having a chance to double the lead, but he sliced it wide from close range.
The second half started well for City, as they pressed forward, with Jordan Bowery, on his debut after signing on loan from Rotherham United yesterday to cover for the injured James Hanson, running hard to pressurise Scunthorpe’s centre backs.
Then, in the 52nd minute, City doubled their lead. Greg Leigh made a wonderful run on the left hand side and took the ball under his control inside the box, before slipping the ball into the bottom corner. This sent City’s travelling support into delirium and was Leigh’s second goal in as many games, since coming in to replace James Meredith, who now has a slight knock.
The game then petered out fairly comfortably for City, as Scunthorpe pressed but failed to truly challenge Ben Williams. They had a number of long range shots, before somehow putting a scrappy effort wide from a corner, despite only being six yards out.
City then introduced Mark Marshall and Luke James who both ran hard for the cause, but couldn’t ultimately test Luke Daniels.Lee Evans then had a good effort from long range tipped over, as the game ran towards its conclusion.
The match finished 2-0, stretching City’s unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions. It represents an incredible turn around for a City side who were being massively criticised before this run, and who were facing serious questions about their ability to win games and to be consistent.
However, this run of form, especially considering the absences of players who are normally considered key for the team such as Reece Burke, James Meredith and for a part Lee Evans, shows the strength in depth, and underlines the winning habit that City have developed.
The performances of players such as Rory McArdle, Kyel Reid and – before his injury James Hanson – as well as the return of Billy Clarke are also extremely promising signs, as City look to cement a place in the top six of the division.
As long as The Bantams upturn in form continues, they look a force to be reckoned with in the division. That said, the next seven league games are all against other promotion chasing sides, which will be sure to give City a very stern test. It begins with a visit from League One’s new front-runners, Coventry City, on Tuesday.
By the time City have returned from Gillingham on 2 January, 2016, we will have a very strong idea over whether this side are the real deal, and if they can mount a serious push for the Championship.
City: Williams, Darby, McArdle, N Clarke, Leigh, McMahon, Liddle, Evans, Reid (Marshall 86), B Clarke, Bowery (James 79)
Not used: Cracknell, Routis, Morris, Knott, Cole
Categories: Match Reviews