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Match report: York City 0, Bradford City 2
York City striker Jason Walker rounds Bradford ’keeper Jon McLaughlin but sees his shot cleared off the line
YORK City fans taunted their Bradford counterparts with chants of “we won at Wembley” but their team’s ability to secure victories at Bootham Crescent has been nothing to shout about in 2012/13 and, ultimately, cost manager Gary Mills his job.
Mills’ side might have gloriously succeeded twice last season where Capital One Cup finalists Bradford had failed the previous weekend, but that memorable May double of FA Trophy and Blue Square Bet Premier play-off final victories counted for little on Saturday.
Bragging rights over national stadium fortunes seemed hollow as the Minstermen made it three home wins from 18 matches following a 2-0 defeat against the Bantams, who have recovered well from their 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Premier League Swansea on the world-famous hallowed turf.
City have now managed just one goal from open play in their last nine matches and not until 85th-minute substitute Michael Rankine speculatively swung his right boot 25 yards from goal in stoppage time was visiting ’keeper Jon McLaughlin seriously tested by the hosts during this latest encounter.
With Scott Kerr and John McGrath seemingly permanently stationed on top of the Minstermen’s back four, while wide men Ashley Chambers and Alex Rodman flitted in and out of the game, it was left to Matty Blair to manfully provide support for lone central striker Jason Walker from his attacking midfield role but to little avail.
City’s lack of potency also continues to place immense pressure on the defence to keep a clean sheet and momentary lapses from centre-backs Chris Smith and Jack O’Connell proved crucial as Bradford marksmen James Hanson and Garry Thompson took full advantage during the game’s closing stages.
Earlier, neither side had threatened to seize the initiative during a first half short on goalmouth action. Kyel Reid shinned a six-yard chance wide on ten minutes after Stephen Darby’s long throw for the visitors and he also tried his luck from distance with Lanre Oyebanjo taking the sting out of his ambitious attempt.
At the other end, edge-of-the-box efforts from Oyebanjo and Chambers did not stretch McLaughlin while, equally, Michael Ingham was never going to be troubled by Gary Jones’ powder-puff 40-yard free-kick.
Walker squandered the best opportunity of the opening period when, after collecting Chambers’ pass, he rounded a sliding McLaughlin but, with his shooting angle diminishing, only managed a weak shot that was kicked off the line comfortably by Carl McHugh.
On the stroke of half-time, McLaughlin was then called into his most agile save of the afternoon, clawing away Andrew Davies’ mis- directed header from John McGrath’s corner to prevent an own goal.
The second period started with Reid driving over from 20 yards and City ’keeper Ingham saving Hanson’s tame downward header from a Darby cross.
At the other end, Blair’s cross was back-heeled by Chambers into the path of Walker, who had earlier started the move, but City’s nine-goal top scorer sidefooted over from 12 yards.
Shortly afterwards, Blair’s 20-yard half-volley was pushed around his near post by McLaughlin but Bradford began to impose themselves on proceedings when Ingham saved low to his right to keep out a fierce long-range Reid drive.
Davies then headed Jones’ subsequent corner into the hands of the City ’keeper before the visitors forged ahead on 77 minutes.
Another Darby cross from the right saw Hanson steal in front of City skipper Chris Smith in the six-yard box and his header squirmed between Ingham’s legs and over the line.
Phil Parkinson’s men went on to make the points safe on 86 minutes after Rodman had fired over for City following a diagonal run from the left flank.
Bantams centre-back Michael Nelson booted the ball upfield after Rankine had surrendered possession close to the corner flag and, when O’Connell miscontrolled as it dropped out of the air, Thompson pounced for a clear run on goal and beat an advancing Ingham from ten yards.
Moments later, former Premier League referee Andy D’Urso signalled an end to proceedings and Mills’ two-and-a-half year tenure.
York City 0, Bradford City 2 (Hanson 77; Thompson 86)
Michael Ingham 6
Might have done better with first goal but, in truth, left exposed for both.
Lanre Oyebanjo 7
STAR MAN – very conservative in his forages forward, but snuffed out all attacks down Bradford’s left flank.
Chris Smith 6
Kept a keen eye on Hanson until the Bradford striker escaped his attentions for the opening goal.
Jack O’Connell 6
His mistake for Thompson’s goal marred what had been another assured performance up to that point.
Dan Parslow 6
For the first time since being switched to left-back looked a little uncomfortable using his less-favoured foot.
Scott Kerr 6
Constantly made demands from his team-mates, but found it hard to dictate play.
John McGrath 5
Game passed him by a little and his only real contributions came from set-pieces.
Matty Blair 7
Covered nearly every blade of grass as he tried to reverse the team’s fortunes through sheer endeavour.
Alex Rodman 5
Threatened on occasions, but end product was missing when most needed.
Jason Walker 5
Failed to take two decent chances and has lost his old confidence and impudence.
Ashley Chambers 6
Drifted in off flank to set up Walker opportunities, but peripheral at other times before his withdrawal.
Subs: David McDaid 5 – quiet (for Chambers, 67), Michael Rankine (for Rodman, 85), Lee Bullock (for McGrath, 85). Not used: Doig, Musselwhite, Potts, McLaughlin.
Jon McLaughlin, Stephen Darby, Michael Nelson, Andrew Davies, Carl McHugh, Kyel Reid, Gary Jones, Ricky Ravenhill, Will Atkinson (Zavon Hines, 67), James Hanson, Nakhi Wells (Garry Thompson, 55). Subs not used: Andy Gray, Matt Duke, Alan Connell, Rory McArdle, Nathan Doyle.
Star man: Stephen Darby – good attacking support from full-back.
Referee: Andy D’Urso (Billericay). Rating: 8/10 – well-positioned at all times and sensible with his cards.
Booked: Kerr 39, Smith 90.
Sent off: None.
Attendance: 5,678 (2,078 from Bradford).
Shots on target: City 6, Bradford 8.
Shots off target: City 3, Bradford 4.
Corners: City 6, Bradford 6.
Fouls conceded: City 15, Bradford 14.
Offsides: City 3, Bradford 2.