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Season 2006-2007 : Yeovil Town vs Bradford City : Saturday 23rd December 2006
Coca Cola League One : Yeovil Town vs Bradford City

Vote for your YTFC Man of the Match by clicking here

Venue: Huish Park
Saturday 23rd December 2006, 3.00pm kick-off.

Conditions: Cold, slight mist.
Pitch: Good but greasy

Scorers: None.

Attendance: 6,208 (including 187 Bradford supporters)

Referee: Paul Taylor (Hertfordshire)
Assistants: M D Rowley, Andrew Turner (Devon)
Fourth official: Ron Ganfield (Somerset)

Bookings:
Yeovil: Martin Cranie (foul, 90 mins), Jean-Paul Kalala (kicking ball away, 90 mins)
Gillingham: Marc Bridge-Wilkinson (encroachment, 31 mins)

Team Line-Ups

Yeovil Town : (4-4-2)
1. Steve Mildenhall
28. Martin Cranie 4. Terry Skiverton 6. Terrell Forbes 3. Nathan Jones
12. Martin Brittain 11. Chris Cohen 14. Jean-Paul Kalala 9. Arron Davies
25. Lee Morris 30. Leon Best

Subs: 2. Anthony Tonkin 5. Scott Guyett 8. Anthony Barry 10. Wayne Gray (76 mins for Lee Morris) 27. Ishmael Welsh (76 mins for Arron Davies)

Bradford City :
1. Donovan Ricketts
4. Nathan Doyle 5. David Wetherall 6. Mark Bower 20. Matthew Clarke
12. Jermaine Johnson 8. Marc Bridge-Wilkinson 7. Steven Schumacher 3. Ben Parker
10. Dean Windass 16. David Graham

Subs: 13. Russell Howarth (GK) 2. Richard Edghill 25. Craig Bentham (78 mins for Ben Parker) 27. Joe Brown (83 mins David Graham) 18. Tom Penford

Match Report

Two weeks off and a good win in their last match against Gillingham allowed manager Russell Slade some pretty simple team selection for the pre-Christmas match against Bradford City. The same sixteen landed on the teamsheet for a match against a Bradford side who have been making a slight recovery from a November slump that had seen them slide out of the playoffs and into a midtable position.

The Glovers started off brightly, ensuring that Bradford had to keep their wits around them, although it was pretty apparent right from the start as to what the visitors' tactics were. Keeping 9, sometimes 10 men firmly behind the ball it was obvious right from the off that this was going to be an afternoon of seeing if Yeovil could break down their opponents, whilst they relied on the experience of Dean Windass to try and set them chances up at the other end.

The best of the early chances came when Lee Morris intercepted some dithering by Bradford midfielder Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, allowing the Yeovil striker a chance to bear down on goal. His low ball into the box was angled across the penalty area and was just begging to get a boot on it into the net, but the first touch fell to City central defender David Wetherall who hacked the ball away. Wetherall was to be a thorn in Yeovil's side all afternoon and this was the first of several vital blocks and headers to keep the ball away from the Yeovil front line stopping them from finishing off promising attacking moves.

The best chance of the half came 25 minutes in and was almost entirely of Leon Best's making. Jean-Paul Kalala broke up a Bradford move in midfield and slipped the ball to Leon Best just over the halfway line and on the right flank. Best moved forward then cut inside to a more central position, evading Bradford moves to put him off his stride to the extent that by the time he reached the edge of the box, he had drifted right across the face of the box to a left-sided position. From the edge of that box he left fly with a well struck shot, but Donovan Ricketts saw the strike coming and brilliantly palmed the ball around his right hand post and for a corner.

Chris Cohen curled a free kick narrowly over the crossbar a few minutes later, as Bradford saw most of the play in their half, and in fact it took them beyond the half hour mark before they even got remotely near a serious shot on Yeovil's goal. A Dean Windass free kick was blasted into a Yeovil defensive wall from 25 yards out and the loose ball was struck by Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, but all he managed was to stir the Westland Stand supporters into a chorus of "oh Johnny Wilkinson" as he ballooned the effort well over the bar. David Graham finally forced Steve Mildenhall into his first save of the afternoon as half time approached but the Yeovil keeper had enough time to slightly parry the attempt before firmly getting his hands on the ball at the second attempt.

Right on half time though, Leon Best could have given Yeovil the lead when he and Lee Morris stretched the Bradford back line, with Morris moving out wide on the left and Best coming in on the opposite back post, but when the ball came in, Ricketts was equal to it yet again and the scores were level at half time.

Half-time: Yeovil Town 0 - 0 Bradford City

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:

Pos Player
1 Nathan Jones
2 Leon Best
3 Terrell Forbes

Overall match rating: 6.3 / 10
Performance: 6.5
Entertainment: 6.1

31 votes received.

Any comments/questions please email ytfc.motm@tiscali.co.uk

Full-time: Yeovil Town 0 - 0 Bradford City
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