|Salford City 0|
|Bradford City 1|
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