Bradford City 0 v 1 Tranmere Rovers (Skybet League One)
Bradford went into the game against bottom of the league Tranmere Rovers with major defensive issues. Andrew Davies has been ruled out for up to 4 months with injury, Rory McArdle was away on international duty and Matt Taylor was out on loan at Colchester United.
Phil Parkinson had further issues with Ricky Ravenhill unavailable and top scorer Nahki Wells out with an ankle injury. However new signing Matthew Bates was available and included on the bench.
Tranmere Rovers arrived at Valley Parade this weekend and proved to be yet another typical tough tackle well organised Ronnie Moore side. Rover’s formation allowed them to pressure Bradford in all areas of the field, whilst still creating their own chances throughout the game.
Bradford had the first chance of the game, when James Hanson flicked-on a free-kick that fell to Mark Yeates inside the penalty area. Yeates looked to take on the opportunity first time but his attempted volley went over the Tranmere bar.
On eleven minutes, Ryan Lowe received a pass inside the area from Jake Kirby, but he could only shoot wide of McLaughlin’s goal under pressure from both Nathan Doyle and James Meredith.
The major talking point of the game happened on twenty-six minutes, when Kyel Reid appeared to be elbowed by Ian Goodison just in front of the team dug outs.
This started a mass brawl on the touchline as both sides looked to protect their players, after seeking advice from the fourth official, the referee made the decision to show Goodison a yellow card instead of a red.
The next talking point came on thirty-five minutes when Mark Yeates cut inside the Tranmere area following an excellent run. As Yeates was about to shoot he was pushed to the ground by Ash Taylor, however instead of pointing to the spot referee Darren Drysdale waved play on.
Tranmere Rovers then went close on forty-one minutes, when Jon McLaughlin produced a smart save low to his left to push away a header from Chris Atkinson, after the midfielder had stole in to connect with Liam Ridehalgh’s cross.
Just before half time Jon McLaughlin pushed away a free-kick from Jim McNulty that was heading for the top left hand corner of his goal. As a result, both teams headed to the dressing room without a goal.
On fifty-seven minute’s Ian Goodison made a crucial sliding tackle by the near post to cut out a Kyel Reid low cross, which prevented Gary Thompson having a strike on goal from inside the six yard box.
Kyel Reid then went close following a quick throw by Gary Thompson, Reid collected the ball and ran the full length of the Tranmere half before reaching the edge of the penalty area and firing a low drive that Owain Fon Williams saved low to his right.
Bradford then had two further efforts on goal, on sixty-eight and sixty-nine minutes from Mark Yeates and Kyel Reid but both efforts went over Fon Williams goal.
City then fell behind when Tranmere’s Ryan Lowe latched onto a long ball down the right flank, before cutting into the area and beating Jon McLaughlin with a low angled drive into the far bottom corner.
City had to chances to draw level, the first came on eighty-eight minutes when a Caleb Folan header from the edge of the penalty area tested Fon William low to his right.
The second effort came from a corner which was headed back across goal by Caleb Folan to Gary Jones who had his header blocked by Fon Williams from four yards.
Speaking after the match, Phil Parkinson said “Regarding the incident in front of the dug-out (the Goodison elbow), I felt at the time that it was a straight red card. Having had the benefit of being able to watch it back again on the match DVD, I can say it is a definite straight red.
The fourth official who I spoke with said that Ian Goodison didn’t hit Kyel with his elbow, he just hit him with his forearm. If a forearm smash isn’t a sending off then the fourth official has been watching a completely different game to the one I have watched over the last ten years. It was a big call, and they got it wrong.”
Bradford City – McLaughlin, Darby, Meredith, Doyle, Oliver, Jones, Kennedy, Reid, Hanson, Yeates, Thompson (Subs) Ripley, McHugh, Gray, Connell, Folan, De Vita, Bates
Tranmere Rovers – Williams, Holmes, McNulty, Hateley, Taylor, Goodison, Kirby, Power, Lowe, Atkinson, Ridehalgh (Subs) Horwood, Bell-Baggie, Rowe, Stockton, Sodje, Morris, Watkins
Goals – (Tranmere Rovers) – Lowe (69)
Attendance – 14,674