Bradford City 1 Wycombe Wanderers 0
Vital would like to thank guest writer Adam Clift for the following report.
Another drab display left the Blues making the long trip back to Bucks pointless as an early Garry Thompson strike separated the teams.
There was one change to the Wanderers side that drew at home to Rotherham a week ago, as goalscorer from that evening Gary Doherty came in for the injured Bruno Andrade. This led to Charles Dunne reverting to left back as Sam Wood was pushed up into the midfield. Matt Ingram was named on the subs` bench after his recall from his loan at Oxford City. The young shot stopper is set to make his professional debut at Burton this weekend with Jordan Archer called up on international duty for Scotland u21s.
During their run to the Capital One Cup final earlier this season, Bradford’s aerial threat was clear to see. And it was further evident in the early exchanges of this one. After Archer had flapped at a Kyel Reid corner, James Hanson headed at goal but a Stuart Lewis goal line clearance prevented the hosts from taking an early lead.
But with just seven minutes gone, the same combination worked again and after Hanson had knocked Reid’s free-kick back across goal, Garry Thompson was on hand to convert and give the cup finalists a deserved lead.
In fairness the goal probably woke Wycombe up. Morgan crossed for McClure who was denied by some excellent defending by Andrew Davies, before tamely shooting from distance into the hands of Jon McLaughlin.
Bradford were enjoying a lot of success down their left hand side with Joel Grant offering Michael Harriman very little protection. And a neat one-two between James Meredith and Reid led to a cross that Thompson only just flicked over the bar.
Morgan was involved again shortly afterwards, as he crossed for Sam Wood, whose header was straight at McLaughlin.
The rest of the half passed by with very little action. Wycombe continually elected to hoof the ball forward, a tactic that clearly wasn’t going to prove effective with McClure and Morgan providing little aerial competition to the mammoth Bradford centre-backs. Meanwhile at the other end, Winfield and Doherty were restricting the threat of Hanson and Thompson.
The second-half began with the Blues trying to get the ball down and play but it was Thompson who came close again as he shot just over the bar on the break.
Wycombe’s best chance of the night came four minutes after the interval, and it fell to top scorer McClure. More neat work from Morgan led to him crossing for his strike partner, who could only head over the bar when he should’ve done a whole lot better.
Chances were few and far between in the second period, with the referee continually ruining the flow of the game by blowing up for needless free-kicks. Morgan and Hanson both tried their luck, but both failed to hit the target.
Wanderers player/manager Gareth Ainsworth then brought himself into the fray for the ineffective Grant in a bid to salvage a point, and Junior Morias was later called upon as he replaced Morgan. Gary Doherty was thrown up front in a last bid for an equaliser and captain Dave Winfield headed over from Josh Scowen`s late corner, before referee Ilderton ended proceedings and sent Wanderers home empty handed.
It was another disappointing and lacklustre display from the Blues. Meanwhile, wins for Torquay, Barnet, Accrington and Plymouth emphasised that safety isn’t yet assured, and that 50 point mark, which Wycombe are still a point away from, may not be enough for survival this season.
With a tough away trip to Burton to come at the weekend, the ‘Talk of the town’ match on Good Friday could suddenly be seen as a relegation six pointer.
Archer 6, Harriman 5, Winfield 6, Doherty 6, Dunne 6, Grant 3 (Ainsworth 4), Scowen 5, Lewis 6, Wood 5, McClure 5, Morgan 6* (Morias 4)