Fortress Vale Park was breached for the second time in three games so far this season, and none of us can have any complaints about the result. I don’t think we played badly, although we were certainly lacking in the final third. No, Bradford were simply a better team than us, well organised at the back, diligent in midfield, and in Omar Daley and ex-stokie Peter Thorne they had pace and craft going forward. Bradford are definitely promotion material, and at the moment we are not.
Daley was outstanding on the left. He gave Vale Skipper Sam Stockley a torrid afternoon, skinning him with complete ease time after time. Lee Sinnott mercifully ended Stockley’s misery halfway through the second half when he rightly hauled him off. Sinnott now faces a dilemma over Stockley. After just five league games its clear to everyone who’s been watching Vale that the man Sinnott has made Captain simply isn’t good enough to be in the starting line-up – although in his defence nobody would have coped with Daley yesterday.
Bradfords goals came from direct attacking football, the first coming after sixteen minutes – Daley doing Stockley down the left before pulling the ball back to an unmarked player waiting on the ‘D’, and the second from Peter Thorne with about ten minutes left on the clock – turning and twisting Chris Slater before executing his finish.
Inbetween the two goals Vale did play some ‘nice’ football – nice being the opperative word – we moved the ball around nicely, we sometimes linked nicely between midfield and attack, but did we ever manage to put Bradford under the cosh? The answer is no.
Because despite some good possession we looked lame in the final third. Crosses were floated into the Bradford box more in hope than expectation and were easily gobbled up by the Bradford back line. Luke Rodgers had a poor game, and along with his perpetual ‘offsides’ we can now add dreadful passing. Marc Richards was starved of any quality service and endured a frustrating afternoon.
Louis Dodds and Simon Richman worked hard out on the flanks, but with litle success. Bradford were able to keep us contained, and I don’t actually recall their Keeper having to make a save, which is an obvious worry.
It was the introduction of Rob Taylor late in the game that actually gave us some penetration. Taylor drove at the Bradford defence and created a few problems for them. On one run he seemed to beat about six players before rounding the keeper and firing into the side netting from an impossible angle – extraordinary stuff from a player who I really didn’t believe capable of rampaging through defenders like they didn’t exist. He has to start the next game.
Joe Anyon 6
Had a decent game, and made a few good saves. Kicking was poor at times,though.
Sam Stockley 3
He had a nightmare! Never got anywhere near Bradford Winger Omar Daley! Anthony Griffith wants for playing at right back.
Lee Collins 7
A very good player, and consistent too. Linked really well with Rob Taylor in the second half and gave us an attacking threat as well.
Chris Slater 5
Played ok, but will struggle against quality strikers.
John McCombe 7
I think he’s a quality defender. Solid again yesterday.
Louis Dodds 6
Usual performance – lots of nice touches but not in the game enough.
Anthony Griffith 6
Kept under the thumb by the Bradford midfield, but later on in the game showed us why he should be starting at right-back next week after a ‘tactical’ switch by Sinnott.
David Howland 6
Battled hard all game, but in truth created very little.
Simon Richman 6
He’s neat and tidy on the ball, but never really imposed himself on the Bradford defence.
Luke Rodgers 5
I think his confidence is shot at the moment, continues to frustrate getting caught off-side too often, and his passing was awful.
Marc Richards 6
Wasn’t able to make an impact on the game, but played his part in some good link up play.
Sam Taiwo 6
I think he should be starting, he makes things happen in midfield.
Kyle Perry 4
One very decent chance fell his way and naturally he fluffed it, scuffing his shot weakly with the Bradford defence all over the shop.
He wasn’t on the pitch for long but made a massive impact on the game with his surging runs creating the only genuine pressure on the Bradford back four.
Sinnott got it wrong with his line-up yesterday. Why would you play Sam Stockley (possibly the slowest member of the squad) up against someone with the pace of Omar Daley? Surely Sinnott would have done his homework on Bradford City? Griffith should have started at right-back, with Tom Taiwo in centre mid.
Sinnott was the subject of a Q&A session in Tom Cheadle’s after the game, but I couldn’t be bothered to go and so I don’t know what happened.