Bradford 2 Swansea City 2
13th Jan 2007
Missing eleven players (including seven midfielders), the Swans travelled to Yorkshire for the third consecutive weekend hoping to build on a run of two cosecutive wins. With all the teams around us playing each-other, a win would guarentee a gain on at least three teams. Jackett opted to keep the same 4-1-4-1 formation that worked so well at Sheffield United the previous week, but with a two enforced changes. With Amankwaah injured, Richard Duffy came straight into the side at right-back. Most people were expecting a 4-4-2 today, but Jackett decided to keep as many players in the same roles as possible, so brought Marcos Painter in to replace Tate in an unfamiliar holding role. The bench had a very youthful look to it with no Andy Oakes, instead youngsters Chris Jones, Joe Allen and Kyle Graves joined Izzy and Watt on the bench.
The Swans started well and much of the opening fifteen minutes were played in the Bantams' half, although we only had long-range efforts that went wide from O'Leary and Fallon to show for it. At the back Denis Lawrence was looking shaky, and Gueret had to skillfully evade a striker after one poor back-pass. Bradford started to get back into the game, with veteran striker Dean Windass involved in everything - winning headers and laying the ball off expertly to his midfield - hopefully Rory Fallon was watching him as that's what he's supposed to do.
It was Windass who opened the scoring with 25 minutes gone, he was involved in the move which saw the ball come to Schumacher in the box. Windass called for it to be chested down to him on the edge of the area, and he made no mistake from 18-yards, beating Willy with a powerful bouncing volley that may have taken a slight touch off Painter too.
Windass at this point decided to engage in some banter with the travelling fans, who were calling him a fat wanker. He responded by showing us his flab, the fat bastard! He obviously loves the banter though, so fair play to him for that.
They really should have made it 2-0 four minutes later when Steven Schumacher was left unmarked from a corner when Willy fumbled, but his header sailed wide of the post when it looked easier to score. At the other end O'Leary saw a long-range effort well saved by Donovan Ricketts, and from the resulting corner he timed his run well and powered the ball into the net with a header. Shortly after that Fallon's cross from the left narrowly evaded the advancing Britton, who would almost certainly have scored had he got there in time. Not a lot happened for the rest of the half, and we went in level, hopeful but not overly confident of a better second half and all three points.
No changes by either side at half time, but whatever Jackett said to our players seemed to have worked for a change, as we came flying out of the blocks. Fallon was being pushed up front alongside Bayo a lot more, with Painter playing as more of a central midfielder, and it seemed to work. Butler ran from deep and saw a long range shot fly just over the bar, then, with 52 minutes gone Tom Williams advanced down the left. Ricketts made a mess of his cross and presented Bayo Akinfenwa with the simplest of tap-ins from the penalty spot, although Fallon did try to get the goal disallowed for offside by standing on the goal line and trying to help it in (thankfully, he missed).
The goal gave us confidence and we kept coming forward, Bayo's weight causing them problems, and creating chances for himself, but sadly his shooting was, as usual, very weak for a guy his size. Fallon was next to try his luck, this time after a good run from 25 yards out, his shot beat Ricketts but went narrowly wide. Tom Williams hit the post with a free kick and it was all one-way traffic at this stage.
Swans were closing Bradford down very quickly and not giving them time to settle on the ball - O'Leary in particular was very effective at doing this, as well as Tom Williams. This was forcing their midfield into mistakes, and Britton and Butler were looking to capitalise on them. From one such break Leon Britton found space in the area, but on his weaker foot he could only send the ball straight at Ricketts. With 15 minutes to go a neat move involving Britton, Butler and Bayo saw the ball come to Williams on the left, his cross found Fallon who made no mistake from 12 yards, however the linesman's flag was up and it wouldn't count. Television replays show that he was clearly onside when the ball was played.
With five minutes to go it looked as though we'd done enough, but Bradford hadn't given up quite yet. Willy tried to keep a beack-header from going out but succeded only in giving them a free kick for handling the ball outside his area. From the resulting free kick Bayo and Britton sent Butler away but he was brought back by the offside flag. While all this was happening Dean Windass had gone down in the area, although we had no idea what had happened. The linesman did though, and after consulting with him the referee sent off O'Leary for violent conduct, and to the disbelief of the players, awarded a penalty. Windass stepped up himself and put the penalty into the roof of the net to make it 2-2.
There was still time for the Swans to push for a winner, despite being down to ten men. Tom Williams tried his luck from long range, and then Painter came charging down the middle, shrugged off two tackles and sent a screamer past Ricketts. It was typical of our luck today that the ball came back off the underside of the bar and just evaded Bayo on it's way out. That turned out to be the last chance of the game, and we left Yorkshire yet again without three points in the league, when our peformance certainly deserved it. Two key decisions went against us today, and to be honest I think the linesmen got both wrong. Fallon's goal looked marginal at the time, but clearly onside having seen the replays. Both O'Leary and Jackett have claimed that Windass was play-acting, and we will be appealing against the red card, which is not something Jackett does very often.
Gueret - 6 - Had a solid game, but his mistake near the end lead to the penalty.
Duffy - 7 - Nice to see him back, did well overall but seemed a bit reluctant to come forward.
Austin - 7 - Windass was a handful but Austin dealt with him well.
Lawrence - 5 - Couldn't deal with Windass early on so had to pass him over to Lawrence. Not his best game.
Williams - 7 - Poor first half but excellent after the break, two assists should have been three.
Painter - 6 - Did ok in a role he hasn't played in before.
Butler - 6 - Not as good as last week but was confident and looked threatning at times.
O'Leary - 8 - His goal had nothing to do with it, he was already fast becoming the best players on the pitch before then, breaking up their player very very well. His passing was much better today too. Very unlucky to be sent off by the sound of things.
Britton - 7 - His usual self on the right.
Fallon - 5 - Played half way between midfield and attack, his workrate and defensive play was good, his attacking not so much.
Akinfewa - 7 - I didn't think playing a lone striker was something he could do, but he's fast proving differently with another decent game, his sheer size causing the experienced partnership of Bower and Wetherall plenty of problems, he scored, and his link up play with Britton & Butler was very good.
Match report written by www.centre-circle.com forum member 'Geddon'