Monday, 14 January 2013

MATCH REPORT: Bradford City 1-2 Oxford United

Leven is Spot On

I'm not sure how to approach this report. It has been 15 games since I saw us win stretching back to December 2010. A winning report is an unusual experience.

The victory was much deserved, Oxford took a stranglehold of the game right from the first whistle. Sean Rigg tested home keeper Matt Duke and new signing Lewis Montrose headed over from a corner. Despite the early dominance, United fell behind to a Nakhi Wells goal; a long ball from the Bradford defence bounced in between Michael Duberry and Wayne Brown. Duberry was alert to the situation and nodded the ball back to where he thought Brown was. In fact, the goalkeeper wasn't there and Wells chased down the loose ball to squeeze home from a tight angle.

This setback could have unsettled United but instead of going into their shell they came out in the search of an equaliser and it took just four minutes to come along. Damian Batt and Alfie Potter combined well to set up Peter Leven who laid the ball back for Rigg to lash an unstoppable shot past Duke and into the back of the net. Game on!

Leven and Potter were both thwarted by Duke before Montrose picked up a booking for a robust challenge on a Bradford player. The first half performance was very positive from the U's with debutant Montrose impressing and a new look back five of Batt, Raynes, Duberry, Wright and Davis looking very comfortable. Lone frontman Justin Richards was full of running and endeavour whilst Potter and Rigg were once again proving a handful for the Bradford defence.

At 1-1, the thought in the United camp may have been that it would be a very good point to pick up. But Chris Wilder had clearly told his team to go for it in the second half. Duke again saved from Rigg before Alfie Potter had a header cleared off the line. Liam Davis soon joined the list of players that Duke had stopped and Duberry saw a header hit the crossbar. The missed chances were a worry, being an Oxford fan, it was easy to predict a Bradford counter attack and goal but in truth Wayne Brown had little to do in the entire game apart from pick the ball out of his net in the first five minutes.

With the clock approaching ninety minutes, Potter picked up the ball on the edge of the Bradford box and set off on a mazy run, it was crudely ended by a sliding Stephen Darby and referee Jeremy Simpson pointed to the spot. Up stepped Leven and dispatched the ball into the roof of Duke's net to seal the victory and send the U's back to Oxfordshire with a first win in Yorkshire for five years.

The win followed up consecutive victories against Exeter, Wimbledon and Cheltenham and see United just two points off the play-offs with a game in hand. Games against two teams also in the play-off hunt follow with Rotherham United visiting the Kassam next week before our first ever fixture against Fleetwood Town in Lancashire.

Just as a number of fans were beginning to lose faith in the team, Chris Wilder and anyone else they could think of, the tide has turned and United sit top of the form table. Positive results in the next two games would surely place the Yellows in the playoff positions and then who knows what could happen.

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