BAN­TAMS STUNG

Frus­tra­tion for McCall while Rovers and Millers share the league spoils

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FRONT PAGE - AT VAL­LEY PA­RADE Email: robert.gled­hill@ypn.co.uk Twit­ter: @RGled­hillYPS­port Robert Gled­hill

BRAD­FORD CITY 0 PLY­MOUTH ARGYLE 1 LEAGUE ONE

VAL­LEY PA­RADE was a fortress for Brad­ford City last sea­son yet it was not enough to se­cure an au­to­matic pro­mo­tion place.

Man­ager Stu­art McCall, there­fore, is not overly con­cerned that the Ban­tams have al­ready lost four games on home soil this sea­son.

He would point to the fact that City boast the best away record in the di­vi­sion – one that is go­ing to be put to the test at se­cond-placed Wi­gan Ath­letic on Satur­day.

City won 11, drew 12 and lost none of their home games last sea­son but McCall would rather sac­ri­fice a few de­feats if it means more three-point­ers.

How­ever, the 12 points al­ready dropped are ir­re­triev­able so im­prov­ing on the five wins and two draws from eight trips will be a pri­or­ity for the City chief fol­low­ing de­feat to a Ply­mouth side who moved off the bot­tom af­ter a sixth suc­ces­sive game un­beaten.

McCall, who suc­cinctly replied ‘ the re­sult’ when asked if he would change any­thing for the re­turn en­counter in the se­cond round of the FA Cup, saw his side drop a place to fourth.

Sum­ming up a frus­trat­ing af­ter­noon against a side who em­ployed an ef­fec­tive 4-1-4-1 for­ma­tion, McCall said: “If we had got the first goal it would have been to­tally dif­fer­ent. It was all about tak­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties but it is a bit­ter pill to swal­low.

“The first goal was al­ways go­ing to be cru­cial. Give credit to them, though. They have con­ceded only three goals in six games.

“We could not have asked for more in the se­cond half but the least you have to do is keep a clean sheet at home. We have lost three 1-0s at home now.

“Last sea­son there were too many draws so if we lose one and win two we’ll take that rather than three draws.”

Look­ing ahead to Satur­day’s trip to a Wi­gan side who have won six and drawn two of their eight home league games, McCall con­tin­ued: “Doom and gloom mer­chants won’t give us a chance at Wi­gan and that’s prob­a­bly some­times bet­ter when your backs are against the wall.

“We’ll see what we can do there. We have got to go and be­lieve we can get some­thing at Wi­gan be­cause this group of play­ers, when they are on top of their game, know they can win any­where.

“Wi­gan are a strong side, there is no doubt about that, but we will have a plan and, hope­fully, we will go and ex­e­cute it, be clin­i­cal and de­fend well.”

City were far from their best against Ply­mouth, though McCall re­futed claims from coun­ter­part Derek Adams that they had run out of ideas.

They had been boosted by the re­turn from Repub­lic of Ire­land duty goal­keeper Colin Doyle, re­leased from Martin O’Neill’s squad for their World Cup qual­i­fy­ing play-off in Den­mark but who has re­joined the squad for this week’s cru­cial re­turn en­counter.

How­ever, it was Doyle’s op- posite num­ber, Remi Matthews, who had the star­ring role. Signed on a weekly emer­gency con­tract due to three se­nior goal­keep­ers be­ing in­jured, the Nor­wich loa­nee did well to keep Ply­mouth ahead at the break with two great tip-over saves from Paul Tay­lor be­fore sav­ing his best un­til the 78th minute af­ter be­ing beaten by a swerv­ing shot from the re­turn­ing Jake Reeves which struck the bar.

City cap­tain Ro­main Vincelot had got a far-post header on tar­get but was awarded a con­tentious penalty for a push from Aaron Tay­lor-Sin­clair. Right­back Tony McMa­hon, back from a one-game ban, stepped up and hit a right-footer but Matthews pushed aside the spot-kick to deny the equaliser.

Char­lie Wyke’s close-range header which smacked Sonny Bradley in the face rather than nestling in the net had been City’s best first-half op­por­tu­nity but they livened up af­ter the break fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of Tyrell Robin­son, a 20-year-old left winger City are con­vert­ing into an at­tack­ing full-back.

The Arse­nal academy prod­uct’s part­ner­ship with Tay­lor came the clos­est to break­ing down the Pil­grims’ staunch rear­guard af­ter first-half tac­tics of get­ting be­hind them failed to ma­te­ri­alise through poor dis­tri­bu­tion by the mid­field men of the pos­ses­sion they mo­nop­o­lised.

Poacher Alex Jones never got a sniff and one ex­pects he would have loved to have been on the end of the move that brought Ply­mouth’s 35th-minute win­ner.

David Fox took pos­ses­sion in mid­field, threaded the ball down the right chan­nel, en­abling Lionel Ainsworth to race onto it and im­me­di­ately drive a cross from which Jake Jervis con­verted from in­side the six-yard area.

Robin­son, who signed a oneyear deal in May, ad­mit­ted: “It was frus­trat­ing. A lot of us were an­noyed be­cause they only had one chance and it paid off for them. If we had equalised the whole game would have changed. This is a learn­ing curve for ev­ery­one. Ev­ery­one is start­ing to get an­noyed.”

Of his op­por­tu­nity to shine, he added: “I was very thank­ful that the gaf­fer put me on at half-time be­cause it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence to come on in front of 20,000. It was a dream come true to be fair.”

PIC­TURES: BRUCE ROLLINSON

LOOK­ING TO STRIKE BACK: Brad­ford City winger Paul Tay­lor forced two qual­ity saves from Remi Matthews af­ter Ply­mouth took a 35th-minute lead through Jake Jervis, in­set, and held on to claim vic­tory in the League One en­counter at Val­ley Pa­rade.

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