BRADFORD CITY (Home)
Tuesday 10th April 2001
|As the season
approaches it's end, Bradford City are looking at the drop into Division
One. It has been a season of upheaval for them, despite their good
run in Europe in the InterToto Cup pre-season. Almost from day
one, or before that, when Paul Jewell decamped to take over at Sheffield
Wednesday and assistant manager Chris Hutchins was put in charge -
albeit, only for five months. Then there has been the Benito
Carbone saga - Will he go ? Will he be pushed ? Collymore came and went,
coinciding with Jim Jeffries arrival from Hearts.
All in all, that sort of turmoil is enough to upset the biggest of teams, but Bradford have stuck at it and had little luck on the run-in. Dean Windass, one of their grittiest battlers has been sold to 'Boro, while the only incoming signing has been that of Eoin Jess, the one-time Scottish boy wonder, who has failed to reproduce his top form consistently at his clubs since leaving Aberdeen as a youngster. Currently away on loan are winger Lee Sharpe, defender Peter Atherton and star goalkeeper Matt Clarke, who the manager would not lay as the goalie intends moving on at the end of the season. Also gone are veteran winger Peter Beagrie to Wigan Athletic, Barnsley have snapped up striker Isiah Rankin (once on Spurs' books as a junior), midfielder David Hopkin (who usually has a good game bossing the midfield against us) to Palace and wing back Dan Petrescu, who fled to the big club at the Dell.
A deadline day deal that saw them offload one of their most promising players, Andy O'Brien to Newcastle United, does not bode well. Speculation about moves away from the club have surrounded Dean Saunders and defender Wayne Jacobs, they are still there, although may only play if Jeffries hand is forced by injuries. Former Leeds defender David Wetherall has said he might not be at Valley Parade next season after talks with the new manager, so there could be a big clear-out there. While free transfer Billy McKinlay from Blackburn Rovers could feature in midfield, full back Gary Locke who Jeffries brought with him from Hearts has broken his hand and will miss this game.
The team will probably line up with Gary Walsh in goal. A fairly sound keeper, he is prone to the odd gaffe, like the one that let Sheringham in for an easy goal when the keeper fluffed his kick. At the back will be Ian Nolan (currently suing Justin Edinburgh and Tottenham for a broken leg he suffered when playing for Sheff. Wed.), ex-Chelsea Andy Myers, the former Leeds pairing of Robert Molenaar and Wetherall. The centre of the defence looks vulnerable on the ground and Molenaar is not the quickest of players, so hopefully, this area will be played through, on the grass rather than in the air. Carbone and McKinlay will play alongside Stuart McCall in midfield with Eoin Jess. McCall is the workhorse in the team and can be an important player for the Bantams, driving them forward. Colourfully coiffured Jamie Lawrence also available if he has overcome a hand injury or Gareth Whalley (once here on trial for a couple of games) could also be on the bench, after refusing a move back to his former club Crewe Alexandra just before the transfer deadline. There is little choice beyond this for Jeffries in this area of the team, so he may have to call on some of the younger players should he want to vary it any further.
Upfront apart from Saunders, he has Ashley Ward and Robbie Blake to call on. Blake has scored 50 goals in his career, but few have come recently as he has been out of favour and out of form, while Ward has been the butt of the Bradford crowd's ire as he has failed to strike the goals which the club need to survive. Chances have not been coming his way and when they have he has not been in the confident form which once made him a target for Spurs. The midfield must try to create more for the front men and many of Bradford's goals this season have been out of the blue rather than manufactured.
A lot will depend on Tottenham's result in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday. Win and they will be cock-a-hoop and could run riot. Lose and there is still the home-coming of Glenn Hoddle and John Gorman to celebrate. Whatever the result, I think Spurs will maintain their good home record and there will be little the Yorkshire club can do to stop them, as they have an away record similar to our own !! So, a first win over the Bantams in the Premiership is on the cards ...
PREDICTION : - Tottenham 2 Bradford City 0
For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.
|Tottenham 2 Bradford City 1 -
Tuesday 10th April 2001
Weather : - Mild, dry.
Sullivan, Carr, Perry, Doherty, Young, Leonhardsen (Korsten 83),
Clemence, Davies, Sherwood, Rebrov, Iversen (Thelwell 74).
There was a turnaround in styles for the two teams as Bradford City's attacking style was unusual for a team at the bottom of the league, while Spurs struggled to find any real rhythm. Spurs were obviously trying to fit into Glenn Hoddle's passing style, but the players were not up to it on every occasion and left a lot to be done in training to get them to be comfortable with this new innovation.
It all started so well, with Robert Molenaar's weak header falling into the path of Sergei Rebrov on the edge of the box, but the little striker's early shot was pushed away by Walsh, when taking the ball on a stride and a low drive could have had him in more trouble. Iversen couldn't get the ball down to get in a decent shot, but Carr troubled the Bantams keeper with a shot and it was a move down the right hand side that involved the Irishman that lead to the goal in 26 minutes. Working the bal down that line, Rebrov produced a cross which deflected off a defender and reached Steffen Iversen at the far post. As he was closed down by the giant Dutchman, he chested the ball down and hit a volley between Walsh's legs and in for the lead. It was a goal that Stef should be scoring on a regular basis and the fact that it was only his second league goal of the season sums up the injuries he has had this last year.
A couple of times, Simon Davies burst into the box and got on the end of things. Once, the ball ran away from him, but the second time his expertly timed run onto Luke Young's clever through ball saw him hit an early shot (similar to the one he also got at the Park Lane end against Stockport), but Walsh got down well to make a sharp stop. Another opportunity arose, when a through ball found Clem on the edge of the "D", but he lost his bearings and by the time he had the ball at his feet, the keeper was on top of him and the chance had gone. Carbone flashed a fierce free-kick inches wide of Sullivan's goal and a succession of corners came to nothing, but a long clearance just before half-time was Tottenham's undoing. Ward chested the ball down as Perry missed his jump and it fell kindly for Eoin Jess to hit a first time shot into the left side of the goal past a despairing Spurs keeper. It was a downer right on the break, but at least the Spurs side didn't get booed off at half-time.
The second half started as the first with Spurs on the attack, but to start with they could not get many efforts on goal. Bradford sensed that perhaps attack was their best form of defence and went forward, causing a few problems for the Spurs defence. Blake was allowed to run a long way and his pass to Ward on the edge of the box was carefully curled around a defender and Sullivan, but the striker saw his effort rebound back off a post. Blake bundled the ball in, but he was offside as the ball came back off the woodwork. Shortly after, Ashley Ward had a headed chance, which he got up in the air rather than goalwards and Myers glanced a cross just wide. Sullivan had to be quick off his line to deny Blake and Carr cleared away a loose ball just in front of the goal. Myers' head was to have another impact on the game ... or on Iversen's head more precisely. A clash in the middle of the pitch left Steffen unconscious and the stretcher had to be called to take him off the field.
The play had become to get a bit scrappy and a ball down the line given away by Perry started the move that lead to the Spurs winner. It was presented back to Tottenham and Myers' missed header let Rebrov in down the right wing. He drove into the penalty box and let go a cross-cum-shot which bounced away off a defender's leg, luckily to the on-running Simon Davies who hit it first time low into the net. His joy was plain to see and after the horror of being substituted after coming on for Freund in the Birmingham game, this was probably more what he expected to be happening to him when he first joined Spurs. His intelligent running was a feature of Tottenham's play which was most evidently missing on Sunday and it was nice to see a midfielder breaking into the box now that Sherwood cannot do it, especially from the deep position he was playing tonight. Leo also geo into the penalty area more often than he has been doing recently, often being the furthest Spurs player forward, but his touch let him down as he tried to control the ball inside the area a couple of times and the possible goal-scoring chances slipped away. Doherty was pushed up front after Iversen departed and hit Walsh in the chest with a rasping shot after a run down the right hand side of the penalty area and a free kick from Sherwood eluded everyone, especially the floundering keeper and Oyvind Leonhardsen at the far post.
A useful three points in a season where our home form has been crucial in avoiding another relegation battle. Bradford can count themselves unlucky as they played a whole lot better than Coventry a couple of weeks previously and on this showing might have something to offer in a survival charge, but they have left it too late. For Spurs there is little to look forward to until next season. Another transitional season ?? Oh, you bet !!
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - SIMON DAVIES
|As a new era dawned on White Hart
Lane, the dusk saw a less than packed ground politely clap their new
saviour in his first home game in charge. The track-suited figure
took the applause and retreated to his new home, where he spent most of
the match perched on the dug-out wall waving his encouragement to his
players, while Gorman shouted instructions.
It was a muted reception following Sunday's defeat and the handful of Bradford fans who had travelled down for the match left large gaps in the away section. A win was fully expected to start Glenn off on the right note, but Bradford gave a good account of themselves, going at Tottenham who were without Campbell and Ferdinand from Sunday's semi-final. Chances came at both ends and Walsh was acrobatic in preventing Spurs winning more convincingly, although Sullivan had enough to do in return after his man of the match display against Arsenal.
Sherwood had taken on the captain's armband and he still managed to give more hospital balls than the Guy's football team, although he surprised everyone by not castigating the intended receiver (who never had a chance of getting the ball) but showed his apology by holding his hands up to his error !! Is he turning over a new leaf ?? He started off in a deeper role, perhaps intending to spray the ball about rather than be box-to-box, which left that task to Leo, who made some good forward runs, but his touch let him down in the box. Luke Young showed good vision to set up Davies with an astute pass inside the defence as Simon bent his run to meet it. Only Walsh's low save prevented a well-worked goal. Unfortunately for Young, when he got near the goal a couple of times, it all seems to go to his head and he fires wildly wide. Is he the new Steffen Freund ?? Alongside him Simon Davies showed energy and good awareness in making runs and passing pretty well. His goal wrapped up a god performance by him and as Hoddle said afterwards, he is a player who could save Spurs an awful lot of money.
Rebrov was up against two ex-Leeds men in the centre of their defence. It would take him an hour to run all the way around Molenaar and Halle got stuck in too. Sergei showed some good touches and played just off the front line, so much so that Leo was often the furthest forward. He linked quite well with Iversen, who took his goal well, but needs to get involved more in the general play. He was unfortunately carried off after Myers had headed him as well as the ball.
Sullivan did everything he had to efficiently and had no chance with their goal, which was well struck by Jess from the edge of the box. Taking it early left Sullivan with no chance to adjust his position. Carr looked back to normal, but got very annoyed with his team-mates when they didn't put him through after he had manoeuvred some space on the wing. On the other flank, Clemence got forward with one good chance before he lost sight of where the ball was. He seemed a little out on his passing, but did enough to show that he would be able to put a decent ball in (as long as it wasn't from a corner, where he failed to clear the first defender on a number of occasions). Perry did OK and got Sherwood out of jail on one incident where Tim had sold someone short with a dodgy pass. Doherty started at the back and when he came forward with the ball, even showed a trick or two. When he was pushed forward in Iversen's absence, he didn't look quite as good and might be utilised in that position only in an emergency. In fact, when Iversen went off, Thelwell came on and Doherty went up front. It was just like GG had never left !!
That tactical move did raise the question of what role Korsten will have at the club. When a forward was injured and had to go off, a defender was brought on and another was pushed forward. Korsten did get five minutes at the end when Leonhardsen went off, but once again the Dutchman failed (albeit in a very short time) to show anything that might suggest he has a future at the club.
So, a new manager, another home win and an away trip to Sunderland to look forward to. The coming games will be more of a test for Hoddle and his injured team. The youngsters will surely play a part and with little chance of getting a European place, the run-in should be interesting without having anything to really play for.
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