Back to form Bradford City lay down a marker at the home of a promotion rival

Salford City 0
Bradford City 1
Cook 13

By the Manchester Bantams

Every game is an away game for us. For some, a trip to Valley Parade is an hour plus drive down the M62. For others, it’s the Northern train from Liverpool Lime Street or Manchester Victoria to the Interchange. Thankfully this game is closer to home than our weekly jaunts to BD8.

Not that these trips have been fun in recent years. Three defeats and no goals scored was the record in previous visits to the Peninsula Stadium. Added to this was the lingering disappointment of the no show against Stockport. There was a sense of dread walking into the ground.

However, these feelings quickly disappeared after a positive and pressing start from the Bantams. Harry Chapman and Tyreik Wright both looked a threat, whilst Andy Cook slashed his first effort of the game wide. He made no mistake however from his second opportunity, and calmly slotted home to give City the lead.

Romoney Crichlow glided through the Salford midfield and his through ball was met by Cook who nutmegged his way to his 13th goal of the season. Cue an outpouring of relief on the away terrace and the end to over 280 goalless minutes in this soulless metal shell.

The celebrations were nearly brought to an immediate halt when Callum Hendry riffled an attempt against the cross bar from close range. Ibou Touray was able to swing in a ball into the area and Hendry’s effort smashed the cross bar and bounced out to the relief of those behind the goal. The chance was the only real blip against the defence who performed very well here.

Crichlow’s presence brought a calmness back to the defence that was severely missing last weekend. Matty Platt looked something back to his assured self, whilst Matty Foulds continues to grow in his role as the club’s first choice left back. In wet and greasy conditions, Foulds was strong in defence and offered support to the ever-impressive Wright. One of the last players to leave the pitch at full time, Foulds received deserved adulation from his fellow Bradfordians.

The same can’t be said for Elliot Watt. The Scotsman felt the full wrath from the City supporters here. He will have his reasons for leaving Valley Parade this summer. The project at Salford is glamourous and a quick look in the stands was a who’s who of Manchester United legends. However, he had the chance to be managed by one at Bradford, and instead decided to play for an U23s coach, whilst citing player development as a key attraction.

Watt did what he does well. He dictated proceedings from the base of midfield, wasting no pass and ticked Salford over. But for all the possession and dominance with the ball, Watt and Salford rarely threatened in the final third. City were comfortable soaking up the pressure and had the better of the chances in the second half.

Firstly, a weaving Harry Chapman run into the box saw him tamely shoot straight at Tom King. Soon later, he attempted to lob King when put through on goal by the skipper, Smallwood. Instead, he passed it straight into the onrushing keeper’s hands. A little bit of composure was needed in either moment to cap off a good individual performance.

The misses were not costly and the full-time celebrations summed up how big this win was. As the exhausted City side clapped the travelling support, Andy Cook’s fist pump was met with huge cheers and renditions of promotion songs were sung with conviction for the first time since 2017.

To beat a fellow promotion contender in their own backyard – and a backyard we have never won at – should not be overlooked. Thankfully this was our backyard and we were home in no time to celebrate and brighten up the streets of Manchester in claret and amber.

Categories: Match Reviews

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7 replies

  1. Long may this away form continue. Tough matches coming up. I look forward to some strong home performances. Supporters deserve a good complete home victory. We lost badly at home to Stockport and yet they lost at home this weekend. What pleased me yesterday was a great performance by the entire team including the substitutes. Special mention to the away supporters. They cheered the team right to the end. Come on City keep it going. I’m so proud to be a city supporter. CTID.

  2. Thanks Mancs Bantams. Great report!

  3. Really solid performance from pretty much everyone. Sevens and eights out of ten from the majority. Chapman’s best game for us that I have seen despite the lack of that killer pass/finish. As you say Fould’s was outstanding again and there is a real partnership forming with Wright. East and Smallwood more than matched Salford’s much vaunted midfield trio. City kept Salford at arms length save a handful of occasions they got in behind.
    You still feel we have a gear or two to move up. Here’s hoping!. The view from the Salford South Stand of the City” limbs” made the trip worthwhile

  4. It is extremely interesting to compare the number of comments following a good away win to last week’s defeat.
    Maybe it’s a sign we are going in the right direction.
    I once remember Lenny Lawrence turning up to a fans forum at the Fountain Inn Heaton after a heavy defeat and the place was packed to the gunnells.
    Funny old game isn’t it?

    • Spot on Mark,

      The ‘problem’ with a win (if there is such a thing) is that the result covers a multitude of sins. There were many times on our recent unbeaten run where we ceded the initiative to the opposition and were perhaps lucky not to concede at times. However, pointing this out after a win seems cheerless, after all ‘a win is a win’.

      If we do get caught out on occasion and the opposition takes their chances there’s no end of comments pointing out our lack of game management, inappropriate formation / substitutions etc etc etc.

      Football’s a game of fine margins, the fact that its a low scoring game is precisely what makes it attractive. Had the Salford chance gone in off the cross bar I wonder what the narrative of the game would have been.

      Thankfully my impression of Mark Hughes is that he very much buys into, and trusts, his methods and processes to the extent that he can see past the result and at the underlaying performance. I get the feeling he’s never too high after a win, but doesn’t overreact to a defeat either. Whilst us fans maybe should take a similar approach its our prerogative to be able to get carried away and enjoy the moment.

    • We just thought the readers didn’t like the match report…

      • Not at all.

        If I can’t get to the game I’m like a tramp on chips for the WOAP match report…

        I always admire the folks who write the reports. I have no idea how you can remember who did what and when on a run up to a goal.

        It will be interesting to test Mark’s theory after the mauling in Burton this evening!

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