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Match Report


Posted Tue 22 Dec 09 at 16:05 PM

Daggers overcome Bradford City

In a game as tight as this match was for most of its 90 minutes, it needed something special to break the deadlock. And we got in the form of just about the most spectacular effort seen at Victoria Road this season - Sam Saunders' third goal in consecutive matches. It proved the tie-breaker that paved the way for an emphatic Daggers victory.

There had been little to divide the Daggers and the Bantams, both outsiders for a play-off space in a highly competitive encounter, in which both sides needed to win to keep their slim hopes alive. The fiercely contested opening 45 minutes produced little in the way of clear-cut chances for either side.

The veteran striker Peter Thorne, now 39 years of age, lifted an early Bradford chance over the bar when Chris Brandon pulled the ball back to him and Saunders drove over Daggers' first shooting chance when Danny Foster played him in from the right. New Daggers on-loan keeper David Button settled after an early piece of confusion between himself and Magnus Okounghae, but caught a Brandon effort impressively and from then on eluded confidence.

Brandon had a headed chance for the visitors creating by Steve Jones' strong run down the left, but headed into the ground and his effort bounced high over the bar. Daggers' closest call of the half fell to Peter Gain in a crowded area. He crashed his effort goalward, the ball deflecting off defender Paul Arnison's upper arm, but calls for a penalty were muted, reflecting that the Bradford man could hardly have got out of the way.

A tight half ended with a headed effort aside, as Thorne headed a Paul McLaren corner over when well placed, while Ben Strevens got in a good flicked effort from Saunders' free-kick, but straight at Bradford keeper Rhys Evans.

There was a degree of controversy early in the second-half as the Yorkshire visitors were the first to find the net. From a high ball into the area, Button struggled to claim and when the cross went over him Thorne headed over him into the far corner, but referee Miller ruled that Thorne's co-striker Paul Mullin had blocked the Daggers' loanee keeper from reaching it and immediately ruled the effort out - much to Bradford's consternation!

The Yorkshire side's despair was added to within five minutes when Daggers opened the scoring themselves with a truly unstoppable strike from Saunders, who cut in from the left, skipped past Arnison's attempted tackle and fairly exploded a spectacular drive over Evans to find the top corner.

It sent the majority inside Victoria Road into raptures and in the very next move Daggers almost made it two, forcing a corner and from Saunders' flag-kick, Scott Griffiths got up amid a pack of players to head over Evans only to see it hit the bar and bounce clear

The force was now really with Daggers and a fine move involving Solomon Taiwo, who hit a glorious 35 yard ball, Matt Ritchie and finally a Paul Benson flick for Strevens, saw his co-striker volley wildly over.

But when Okounghae played a fine pass down the middle to find Benson in space, he wasted no time in taking the tension out of the game by placing it past Evans to effectively secure the points.

Bradfordhad succumbed to become a rather ragged outfit by then, compared to the very competitive team that had taken the field and a mix-up between Evans and substitute Mark Bower saw Strevens slip between them to toe-end in a third just four minutes later.

Daggers had secured a vital win that keeps up their hopes alive and finally extinguishes those of a Bradford side that is now without a win in nine games.

While John Still and his staff contemplate Tuesday night's task in beating leaders Brentford, his counterpart Stuart McCall, the former Scotland international, spent his after-match, contemplating his future at the biggest club in the division.

Att: 1,883 (434 Bradford)

D&R: 6. David Button, 2. Magnus Okuonghae, 3. Matt Ritchie (8. Glen Southam 78 mins), 7. Sam Saunders (30. Jamie Guy 87 mins), 12. Scott Griffiths, 14. Paul Benson (22. Graeme Montgomery 90+1 mins), 18. Ben Strevens, 19. Danny Foster, 25. Solomon Taiwo, 33. Peter Gain, 34. Mark Arber - capt. Subs unused: 27. David Hogan (GK), 15. Anwar Uddin.

Bradford: 1. Rhys Evans, 2. Paul Arnison, 4. Paul McLaren, 5. Graeme Lee - capt (6. Mark Bower 61 mins), 8. Lee Bullock, 10. Peter Thorne, 11. Chris Brandon (24. Nicky Law 61 mins), 12. Matthew Clarke, 19. Luke O'Brien, 25. Steve Jones (14. Michael Boulding 72 mins), 35. Paul Mullen. Subs unused: 15. Joe Colbeck, 33. Zesh Rehman.

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