Oldham Athletic 3
Bahamboula 10, Piergianni 26, Keillor-Dunn 74
Bradford City 1
P O’Connor 85
By Tim Penfold
I should’ve written this report in advance of the game, and saved myself the time. As the game kicked off today, I made the following prediction in the Width of a Post WhatsApp chat:
This isn’t exactly a bold prediction, as it’s how City games go these days, and it proved to be the case again. City, lining up in a 3-5-2 with Lee Novak returning for Austin Samuels, played some nice stuff early. Callum Cooke was showing up well in midfield and Bryce Hosannah had some promising moments down the right flank.
Before the inevitable happened.
A City attack broke down on the edge of the Oldham box, and with the midfield overcommitted forwards the hosts countered through Dylan Bahamboula. He ran forward unchallenged, with Ben Richards-Everton deciding to have a nice afternoon jog alongside him rather than try to stop him, and it was 1-0 to Oldham.
What happened next was also entirely predictable. I described this side as one that gives up a couple of months ago, and they keep proving me right. At the first sign of adversity, half of this team hides, and the promising attacking play from the first ten minutes vanished. Oldham looked the more likely team to score, threatening several times from set pieces before Carl Piergianni headed the second from a corner.
Stuart McCall’s response at this stage was to substitute the hapless Richards-Everton, with Tyler French coming into the back three and Anthony O’Connor switching to the left of the three, and City did look a little better, although it’s much easier to do that when the opposition is 2-0 up and not playing with the same intensity. They should’ve got back into the game when Connor Wood headed a Hosannah cross to Clayton Donaldson, but with the goal gaping and the keeper helpless the veteran striker somehow contrived to miss the ball completely.
The second half began with another City change, with Levi Sutton replacing the injured Bryce Hosannah, and City started much like they finished the first – with the upper hand, but not dominant. They had one big chance when Paudie O’Connor had a header cleared off the line, while Lee Novak’s fine touch and finish from a long ball out of defence was ruled out for offside, but then City faded again, and Oldham retook control. Their decisive third came when substitute Keilor-Dunn wriggled into space on the edge of the box and found the bottom corner.
The last few minutes were enlivened when Paudie O’Connor headed in from a corner, which suddenly sparked City into life – albeit far too late. There was a sudden flurry of chances – Donaldson had a shot deflected behind, Connor Wood volleyed over at the far post, Anthony O’Connor had an effort cleared from inside the six yard box – but no extra goal to worry the hosts, and Oldham wasted a couple of good chances on the counter.
The intensity of the last few minutes begged the question of why this hadn’t happened earlier, but the answer is obvious. City were passive until getting a goal out of nothing – they needed the good moment to happen to them, rather than anyone taking the initiative to make it happen. There’s no Gary Jones against Crewe or Sheffield United here, forcing a team to get points even when things were going against them.
Our last two defeats away at Oldham have led to the departure of the manager, and it would not be a major surprise if this record continues. This is now Bradford City’s sixth successive defeat in all competitions, and managers generally don’t survive that sort of run.
Stevenage’s heavier defeat means that we remain out of the drop zone on goal difference, but surviving on goal difference was not exactly the aim of this season. It’s fundamentally not good enough, and when results aren’t good enough in football it’s the manager who normally pays the price.
Categories: Match Reviews