Perhaps if there was to be criticism of Yeovil's first half performance it was that they had rarely used the full width of the pitch to try and stretch Bradford's rigid two banks of four that had rarely moved out of their formation during the first 45 minutes. Unsurprisingly then, that appeared to be one of the half time messages and as Yeovil attacked the Westland Stand goal, they did so with a little more directness than they had done in the first 45, although they still to their credit managed to keep the ball firmly on the deck in doing so.
Early on again Leon Best had the best chance as he broke clear of his Bradford marker following an excellent multi-man move involving Chris Cohen and Lee Morris. The ball was slipped behind the Bradford back line for Best to run onto and as he bore down on keeper Donovan Ricketts perhaps a more experienced striker would have thread the ball across the face of the six yard box towards the incoming Morris and Arron Davies but instead he tried to beat Ricketts at his near post and the keeper again blocked the ball out for a corner.
Arron Davies went close when he had the ball teed up nicely on the edge of the box, letting it bounce once before volleying well, but he was unable to keep his shot down with it rising just over the bar. Chris Cohen's shot from a similar position did more or less the same after a move down the right put the Yeovil midfielder into space.
Martin Brittain had a fairly anonymous looking first half but was coming into the match far more during the second period, One of his crosses into the box ran past an incoming Leon Best on the near post and then missed the outstretched boot of Lee Morris by inches on the back post as he sought to convert at close range with Donovan Ricketts just getting in ahead of the Yeovil striker.
Matthew Clarke could count himself lucky not to land in the book when he shoved Leon Best away from the ball when the on-loan striker had beaten him for pace. Referee Paul Taylor - who overall had an excellent game throughout, unlike his two linesmen - decided for the more lenient approach, issuing just a finger-wagging. The free kick from Nathan Jones was only half cleared by Bradford but when Martin Brittain shot from the edge of the box, his attempt went wildly over the bar.
With 20 minutes remaining, a nice one-two between Martin Brittain and Chris Cohen allowed Brittain a chance to get in behind the Bradford backline again and when the ball went into the back post, Leon Best couldn't quite get his head on top of the ball and the resultant header looped over the bar.
Russell Slade made a double substitution with Wayne Gray and Ishmael Welsh introduced for Lee Morris and Arron Davies respectively. Morris had run himself into the ground, and whilst neither winger had particularly had a glowing game, perhaps Slade chose to replace Davies on the basis that Brittain was coming into the game more during the second period, exploiting more gaps behind the Bradford defence.
With nine minutes remaining, a Martin Brittain corner came so close to winning the game for Yeovil. Coming in quickly at the near post was Martin Cranie, and his excellent flicked header seemed goalbound to the top corner, but Donovan Ricketts proved himself to be the scourge of Yeovil yet again, brilliantly producing a single palm to push the ball over his own bar and back out for another corner.
Much like the match in January 2006 between these two sides, Ricketts proved to be the difference between Yeovil's pressure being turned into three points at Huish Park. However unlike last season's meeting, there was no late strike from Dean Windass to create an improbable Bradford victory. Glovers keeper Steve Mildenhall only had to make two fairly routine saves all afternoon and the rest of the match was spent watching to see if Yeovil could unlock the mean Bradford defence. If this is their tactic for the whole of the season, you have to pity the Bradford fans out there in their Santa Suits - Colin Todd's tactics made Russell Slade's tactics look more like a gung-ho Gary Johnson side such was Bradford's lack of ambition. But Todd will claim that he got what he wanted - the only shame was that Yeovil couldn't grab that single goal that would have undoubtedly have sealed the game.
MOTM Vote Result:
Overall match rating: 6.3 / 10
31 votes received.
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