Bradford City 0 v 2 Walsall (Skybet League One)
The evening started well at the Coral Windows Stadium, when joint Chairman Mark Lawn was presented with a £10,000 cheque from Mervyn Leggett of the Football Association, for winning the Fair Play Award last season. The club were given the award because of the outstanding discipline record last season, when the club had the least amount of bookings and sending-off’s in League Two.
In a first half devoid of any real clear-cut chances, Bradford at least held their own against Walsall as both sides played out an largely uneventful first-half. Walsall’s Febian Brandy had the first shoot of the game on six minutes from outside the area, but his shot hit the outstretched leg as of Rory McArdle and was easily saved by Jon McLaughlin.
The next real effort on goal came on twenty-three minutes, when Aaron Mclean shot on the turn from around 30 yards, but his effort sailed over Richard O’Donnell’s crossbar without causing the goalkeeper any trouble.
Bradford’s best chance of the game came on twenty-nine minutes and it fell to Andrew Davies, he jumped the highest to connect with Gary Jones’ free-kick into the box. Davies downward header had the power to beat O’Donnell’s dive but his effort went narrowly wide of the Walsall far post.
Craig Westcarr’s first shot of the game for Walsall came on thirty-five minutes from the edge of the Bradford area, however it was blocked by Rory McArdle. The Walsall attacker reacted the quickest to the rebound, but his second effort rolled into the arms of Bradford goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin.
The second half was much the same as the first, then on sixty-eight minutes Craig Westcarr poked home a low cross from Andy Taylor to give Walsall a 1-0 lead. The next effort on goal came ten minutes later when Craig Westcarr doubled Walsall’s lead with his second of the match.
The Walsall striker found just enough shooting space on the edge of City’s penalty area and made it count by firing in a fierce drive that whistles into the top corner of the Bradford goal to give Walsall a 2-0 lead and the match.
Speaking after the game manager Phil Parkinson said, “It was a poor performance tonight, we never looked like we were going to create anything throughout the entire game. We didn’t get enough crosses in the box and we didn’t threaten the opposition goal.
Whilst I have been manager, I cannot remember a performance where we have offered so little in the final third. I am particularly disappointed by our play after we conceded the first goal, there was a lack of a response from us.
Whether we have won, drawn or lost in the past, our supporters have usually seen us play with a fighting spirit, but they didn’t tonight, the fans were right to boo us off the pitch at full-time.
Bradford City – McLaughlin, Darby, Drury, McArdle, Davies, Reach, Jones, Bates, Bennett, Gray, McLean (Subs) Bentley, Thompson, Dolan, Yeates, McHugh, Atkinson, Hanson
Walsall – O’Donnell, Taylor, Butler, A.Chambers, Mantom, Lalkovic, Westcarr, Downing, J.Chambers, Sawyers, Brandy (Subs) Roberts Purkiss, Featherstone, Baxendale, Hewitt, McQuilkin, Ngoo
Goals – (Walsall) Westcarr (68,78)
Attendance – 12,165