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Roses battle ends all square

Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 02 December 2013

Athletic 1, Bradford 1

BY the standard of the usual Sunday afternoon Roses duels, this one was a lot more thunderous than a tussle over the last caramel keg in the chocolates tin.

Boundary Park rocked as Bradford’s fans flocked and Athletic’s faithful responded to form a crowd of 7,180. Those present enjoyed an intriguing contest

In the first half, it was hell-for-leather. Athletic fell behind: Nahki Wells neatly lifted a Garry Thompson cross over Mark Oxley and into the roof of the goal.

Just two minutes after the visitors had opened the scoring, Jonson Clarke-Harris took a pass from James Wesolowski down the left side of the penalty area and hammered a left-footed shot that nearly took the netting with it as it seared beyond McLaughlin.

This was a game heavy on incident, keeping referee David Webb busy. Most of his decisions earned reproach from at least one section of Boundary Park – but most of his decisions were correct.

So it was that James Hanson saw yellow rather than red for leading with an arm in the 26th minute. Had the tall striker truly connected with an elbow, as was claimed, then Matteo Lanzoni would surely not have sprung straight back to his feet.

Kyel Reid felt he had earned a penalty for falling over James Tarkowski after 42 minutes; Webb felt not. And Reid, with his card marked, also looked for a spot-kick just before the hour but got a yellow for a perceived dive instead.

The one outcome Webb probably got wrong was to keep Ellis Plummer on the pitch. The young Manchester City defender tripped Thompson while already booked and was grateful for leniency. Johnson brought him off soon afterwards.

It took Athletic a while to get to grips with Phil Parkinson’s set-up, but after drawing level they took territorial command for most of the remaining minutes. And with Tarkowski and Grounds ultra-solid, the Hanson-Wells axis had little joy.

The second half was a mainly tepid and defensive affair, as both managers mastered the art of cancelling out the other.

Goalmouth action was at a premium. Tarkowski headed powerfully but far off target from a Dayton corner, Clarke-Harris stimulated an optimistic handball appeal as his cross connected with Matthew Bates’ arm from close range, and Schmeltz screwed an effort wide from 25 yards out.

Mike Petrasso had James Meredith looking to the heavens for assistance with some sparkling bursts infield after his introduction.

But Athletic still failed to make opportunities against a Bradford side happy to take a point.

Home supporters couldn't have departed the ground displeased. After a run of seven wins and three draws in the last dozen outings, this was further evidence that prayers for more consistent achievement from Athletic are being answered.

Comments

Tepid and defensive? Can't agree there. It was a quality game in both halves well above League One level.

What a game we produced at Boundary Park yesterday the whole team was brilliant that's the sort of game that will bring the old fans flooding back to Boundary Park.The game had everything, great football and at last the team can string more than two passes together, we kept the ball and had plenty of shots and they worked ever so hard. Playing like this we will win more than we lose. Keep the cup run going and bring the fans flooding back, we will soon pay for the new stand, come on the Latics

fter watching the team against Shrewsbury where a stuttering start eventually delivered victory the 'blood and thunder' Bradford fixture continued Latics unbeaten run. Not wishing to pour cold water on the latest outcome however the omission of Mellor so as to give loanee Plummer a first taste of league action was in my opinion a venture too far. Lee Johnson is a breath of fresh air as a manager but he nearly came unstuck, a less lenient referee would have red carded. Mellor proved my point...

caboroig; I agree to point about Plummer but he did ok until he became reckless late on and was lucky not to walk. I thought the same about Petrasso at Shrewsbury where he looked totally out of his depth until he was dragged off after 34min. At the same time Mellor was off the pace. But what a revelation Petrasso was when he came on against Bradford. LJ likes to tinker and rotate and we are heading in the right direction with improved consistency plus we are not going short on entertainment.

Well caboroig we can't please everyone, Latics have moved on leaps and bounds, everyone who played was brilliant even the subs and the referee had a cracking game he was lenient but he realised they where young players out there and will make mistakes and gave them a chance, nothing wrong with that mate have you never made a mistake, that's how you learn. Lee Johnson well done being brave enough to give young lads a chance

Please Lee Johnson more of the same for Saturday and to those extra fans that turned out on Sunday to watch a great game between two good sides please turn up again on Saturday and get behind the Latics they deserve it. Win or lose we are improving can't wait for Saturday, shoot on site you never know your luck I can see more goals to come from the boys in BLUE but keep up the good work Latics

 

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