Sunday, 11 December 2016

Bradford City 0 v Charlton Athletic 0

A second successive nil-nil for latest manager Karl Robinson but this one was a much more entertaining affair against a better side than last Saturday's Cup snore-fest.

It was my first (and only?) away match of the season and I made the trip to spend the day with Mexico City Addict who is back for Christmas. We went up on the 9.03am and I was pleased to see 'Dave the Train' and his lad Matt join us. Three of the of the old gang back in harness and Mexico Addict had another surprise when we changed trains as 'Leeds Paul' joined us. Paul used to sit next to me in the East until his job with the Post Office finished and he no longer had any reason to be in London on Saturdays. The pair of them hadn't met in 15 years, so we all had plenty to catch-up on. That was done over a pints in Weatherspoons in Leeds and the station pub outside Bradford Interchange. 

Up to the ground then and I was pleasantly surprised by a much improved Valley Parade from my last visit at the end of the 1996-97 season, the night Tony Blair's new Labour government was swept into office. The ground now boasts two impressive new stands which dominate half the ground and are clearly a legacy from City's brief spell in the Premiership. The 550 visiting fans were packed into the compact upper tier of the small two story effort behind one of the goals. It was also good to be in a reasonably full stadium again.

It was a good enough view to watch an impressive first-half from the Addicts. Dillon Phillips was confident in goal and with a solid back four we limited Bradford until the second-half. Jason Pearce limped off after five minutes to be replaced by Tex who immediately settled in alongside the combative Bauer. Cons was assured at left back and Chicksen was probably my man-of-the-match for a powerful display on the right against the quick and tumbling City winger, Marshall.

The midfield problem was still apparent although with only three deployed in Ulvestad, Crofts and Botaka, it meant we played the ball forward more for Novak, Ajose and Magennis. The front three lead the break-out very well in the first-half and we had City back-pedalling for prolonged spells. Magennis gave a Kermorgant-like performance harassing the back-line and cross shot from an Ajose through-ball rebounded off the inside of the City post having beaten keeper Doyle. He struck the timber again with a fine header before the break as we pushed for the lead but we needed Phillips to rush out of goal and be big to stop Hiwula before the whistle.

After the break City did more pressing and they played some good football from the back and with pace out to their wingers who pegged us back and supplied a stream of crosses which Texeira and Bauer dealt with. Chicken and Konsa were also very busy stemming the flow and we restricted City to another Hiwula effort which Phillips diverted off-target at full stretch. Bauer can feel hard-done-by to be sent off for a second yellow five minutes before the end. He was booked for an obstruction which looked to me as much as his opponent was looking for it. He does have to learn to curb his points tallying without losing any of his assertiveness.

At the end of the match, Karl Robinson was quickly over to celebrate with his players in front of us and he persuaded a reluctant Hanlon (I think) to take his shirt off so Robinson could hurl it up to the applauding Addicks in the top tier. "He thinks he's Jurgen Klopp" was the comment alongside me.

All-in-all a good point and a fair one as a City fan agreed with me in the Midland Hotel after the game. It was also a good day out and a reminder of old times. When will they return I wonder?


Ray said...

Good to see you yesterday Dave. I had not seen Paul for years. Missed you when you left before the end as wanted to have a drink with you all. Never mind, good performance and great day out

Anonymous said...

A fair assessment of the game. Neither team doing quite enough to win it but both trying to do so. It needed a bit of 'magic' from somebody. City didn't play as well as they can do but I put some of that down to Charlton who posed a real threat going forward. An enjoyable game none the less.

Dave said...

Ray - yes, good to see you too. We were heading back to Interchange - I think you were going from Forster Square?