Bove sinks the Bantams
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 03 September 2014
Athletic 1, Bradford 0
TEN months on from his infamous debut for Athletic, Jordan Bove hit the headlines for the right reasons by slamming in a late winning goal.
The 18-year-old’s first game for Athletic, also in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last season, saw him sent off for a rash lunge on Notts County’s Kieron Freeman.
If he was a villain last time, it was only really of the pantomime kind, as Athletic won that contest easily.
This time the substitute's goal settled a tie that had ebbed and flowed without really springing decisively to life.
Liam Kelly seemed to have few options when he picked out a run from the ever-willing Carl Winchester.
The renaissance man from Belfast waltzed in his languid but deceptively speedy style towards goal on the left and fizzed in a cross-shot that Jordan Pickford in the City goal palmed into Bove’s path.
You don’t score 25 goals for youth and reserves in a season by standing in the wrong place for such eventualities. An emphatic finish into the roof of the net from eight yards was the result.
The game had looked like it was going straight to penalties. The closest either side had gone to finding the net before Bove was when Bradford’s Mark Yeates struck a low shot against Paul Rachubka’s left upright.
But overall, Phil Parkinson’s visitors won’t have headed back along the M62 with any burning sense of injustice. Athletic generally passed the ball better, and at the back, with George Elokobi a leading presence, there were precious few real scares.
Athletic boss Lee Johnson chose to keep his back four intact after the clean sheet at Doncaster and they responded well.
Only two changes were made to the starting line-up that had seen off Paul Dickov’s side. Amari Morgan-Smith made his full debut while James Dayton came in on the left wing in place of four-goal top scorer Jonathan Forte.
Organised and efficient at the back, Athletic lacked a focal point without departed striker Jonson Clarke-Harris. The willing Morgan-Smith glanced one header wide from a Winchester centre three minutes before the interval.
Poleon was introduced at half-time – but only by public-address announcement, since the new signing from Leeds wasn’t signed in time to feature on the pitch.
After the break the Bantams were strong, but Athletic regrouped around the hour mark and Winchester hit a volley that didn’t carry quite enough power to worry Pickford.
The game appeared to be heading for a shoot-out contest, with a misdirected header from James Hanson as good as the late goalmouth action got.
Then up stepped Bove who made his record two games, 12 minutes played, one red card, one goal: more action-per-second than a Hollywood blockbuster.
And that wasn’t even the best news of the night This is: Athletic’s nemeses Chesterfield are out of the competition after being beaten 2-0 at Scunthorpe.
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