Langley on the rebound. Website reaction
The early morning decision was which way to go? M42 / M1 or M5 / M6 / M62.
We opted for he former to get there and the latter to get back. We even counted the miles to compare.
The way up took 248 miles from home. A 3.5 hour drive with little delay and little incident until we arrived in South Yorks. The drive along the M1 past Rotherham, Sheffield and Barnsley was made more interesting by the excessive amounts of police on the junctions designed to stop Cardiff coaches entering the apparant police state of South Yorkshire.
Once on the M62 there was no such problems and when off it and onto the Bradford ring rd (south) a family pub provided one whole pint of beer for the driver and burger and gammon for the kids.
Onto the game. We arrived at Valley Parade at 2.20pm. It's now called the Bradford and Bingley Stadium.
Two sides of the ground are as high as the Millennium Stadium. One stand is similiar to Northampton, Bournemouth and many other newish stadiums you can think of. Then there is the away end. A two story affair that can hold about 1500 people but it's only about 10 rows deep in the lower section and 15 rows deep in the upper section. It reminded me of the away end at QPR.
As we arrived early we had the luxury of selecting seats in the front row of the upper tier. One of the best views ever for an away fan. 20 feet from the goal and 20 feet above the action.
City fans offer great away support, at Bradford on Saturday the noise was superb. I have to bring to notice though the attitude and actions of some of our fans.
Bradford suffered a horriffic, fatal fire at Valley parade some 15 or so years ago. As such they are sensitive to smoking in the ground. They also have a rule of keeping the first two rows of seats free. The stewarts tried their best to enforce the rules at the ground only to be met with idiots blowing smoke in their faces and refusing to move though there was room enough to do so. Added to this the numbskulls though it funny to squirt water on passing officials and cameramen.
I'm game for a laugh at most times but now and again i get embarassed by some ignorant people. The last laugh was dealt by the Yorkshire weather. After standing their ground for close on half an hour the warriors below us retreated when it started raining and they were exposed to the elements.
City kicked off and I have to admit the whole team had balls. Not Mitre size 5's but BALLS. Right from the start City were prepared to get stuck in. Skipper Graham Kavanagh led the way. He was 100% in every challange.
In the first half City had 5 shots at goal to Bradford's 1. City could not match the passing of Bradford's midfield but with the Bantams having nothing up front City were the team having a go. Earnie had one shot go wide. Thorne two and the livewire Paul Parry also having two efforts miss the target.
At half time 0 - 0 and it was obvious a goal either way would most likely secure the win.
The second half saw Bradford step it up a gear, they were still the better passing side but City's defence was solid. No nonsence from Gabbidon and Vidmar while Gary Croft had a stormer against Danny Cadimateri.
The tough challenges kept flying in. Kav and Parry received lenghty treatment after solid knocks. Bradford were a different side to the one that won at Ninian Park earlier this season. They had a nasty side, I can only assume Bryan Robson and Colin Todd have installed a kick first ask later style.
The first major action of the second half saw Gary Croft go in on Cadimateri. Croft had kept the classy forward out of the game but was late in this challenge. At the time I thought he got the ball and seeing it on TV it looked like a booking but Croft was sent off. A first appearance for weeks and now a three match ban.
Lennie reacted by taking off Parry and bringing on Barker. City had to get more direct and 10 minutes later a ball into the box ran free and as Tony Vidmar looked for possession he was hacked down. I saw it live and tought PENALTY. I've seen the replay 3 times and each time thought PENALTY.
Earnie as his cocky self took the kick but it was saved by Combe's trailing foot. The hero of the day RICHARD LANGLEY was first to react and headed home to make it 1 - 0 to Cardiff. Combe in the Bantams goal was livid with his defenders for allowing Langley the space. He also gave a few hand signals to the City fans.
Langley again took some stick for his open play. Some justified as he got things wrong but much more unjustified, Langley's mum and dad again watched the game in the thick of the City fans, they must have been beaming when he scored and rammed some of the needless critisism down the throats of the moaners.
Earnie was taken off to be replaced by Alan lee (he's a good player) Lee set up Thorne who fired wide.
Bradford went direct and lost the passing style in midfield. They tried to go for a hoofball style and nearly got a leveller but the stats show 15 efforts on goal but i can only remember 3 or four real saves Margetson had to make. The last one, after a deflected shot was a match-winner.
Langley saw a lot of possession in the dying minutes and did the right thing by keeping possession in the corner.
The whistle went to see Cardiff in play off contention and Bradford in the relegation myrhe.
After an hour of queing in traffic we burst into the M62 and flew over the Pennines singing Richard Langley to the tune of Tom Hark. The journey home took the same amount of time but was 8 miles shorter. The slight descrepency was the stop at the services in Cheshire to buy a lottery ticket. It was well worth it, I'm now £10 better off.