Salford City 2
Hunter 10, 47
Bradford City 0
Written by Gareth Walker (images by John Dewhirst)
If you or I only turned up to work for 11 minutes every day then we wouldn’t have a job for very long. That’s what the Bradford City players did today – and they shouldn’t remain at our club for very long either.
There is little to say about the game other than what an incredibly poor display we witnessed. This was up there with the Mansfield and Oldham games under Gary Bowyer.
There were three changes to the team from the impressive home win against Plymouth last week with Callum Cooke, Dylan Mottley-Henry and Jamie Devitt coming in for Hope Akpan, Shay McCartan and Clayton Donaldson.
For the 85 minutes before I left, City created absolutely nothing against a side without a home win since Boxing Day and it looked like a match between two clubs currently heading in opposite directions in the football pyramid.
For the first ten minutes City were on the front foot and the ball was in and around the Salford box. It was the same for the very first minute of the second period. Unfortunately that was as good as it got.
That is because Salford scored with their first attack in each half – Ashley Hunter striking twice from long range having been afforded the freedom of greater Manchester by the City defence.
Each goal seemed to completely suck the life out of the Bantams; but they were both easily avoidable and so incredibly poor from a defensive point of view.
For the first, Hunter received a pass from Darron Gibson midway into the Bantams half, turned, took a couple of touches and lashed the ball into the top corner of Richard O’Donnell’s goal. It was a great strike, but where was the challenge from the visiting midfield and where was the closing down from the Bradford defence?
The second was almost a carbon copy in terms of the goal scorer and the distance of the strike but it was even worse from City.
This time, Hunter picked up the ball just short of the half way line and strolled towards the City goal. He advanced totally unchallenged and without having to break sweat to the edge of the penalty area and calmly passed it into the bottom corner.
It was embarrassing from City. Kelvin Mellor and Anthony O’Connor completely backed off all the way as Hunter came forward, so much so that they almost ended up in the terracing behind the goal. Jake Reeves meanwhile casually jogged alongside the on loan Fleetwood man as though he was out on an evening run with his mate.
However, to single out just those three players would be wrong because the whole squad today put in a pathetic and spineless display.
From the moment that the first goal went in their heads dropped and every single one of them lost their individual battle. We were second best all over the pitch.
Salford were unlucky to only be one goal up at half time. And the fear was that, once they got the second, the floodgates would open and we would face a massacre. In truth it was only the fact that they took their foot off the gas that prevented it from turning out that way.
There was a complete lack of quality on show from every City player. I lost count of the number of times that we gave the ball away and in particular the number of times that a simple five yard pass was put out of play.
Jamie Devitt being outsprinted by 35 year old Nathan Pond and at different times both Mottley-Henry and Dylan Connolly laying down on the floor after being knocked off the ball rather than getting up and trying to win it back summed up the ineptitude.
Stuart McCall and Kenny Black cut dejected figures on the sidelines. What a poor squad they have now compared to the one which reached the play off final in the division above just three years ago.
It is increasingly looking like a complete overhaul is needed yet again this summer. With not only the substandard players signed by Edin in need of moving on but also the substandard players brought in by Bowyer too.
Julian Rhodes has set an ambitious target of selling 20,000 season tickets. Home form isn’t bad and that, along with the feelgood factor of having McCall back, will probably help us to sell a respectable number. It’s a good job, because based on our performances away from home we’d be lucky to sell 20.
To those 14 players who played for the club today, without vast improvement please don’t bother turning up next season. Your services are no longer required.