United's barren run continued this afternoon as two second half corners proved their undoing against Bradford City. Both set-pieces were converted into goals to give the high-flying Bantams all three points and cement their place in the early promotion contenders.
With Adam Chapman and Jon-Paul Pittman joining the injured list United were forced into changes, pushing Tony Capaldi into midfield with Luke O’Brien making his debut against his former club. The left back can be pleased with his debut. Up front there were two more changes with James Constable and Alfie Potter recalled to a three man front line with Tommy Craddock.
Bradford, in a garish pink kit, were disciplined, well organised opposition and the opening quarter of an hour was pretty cagey stuff. A long range effort from Bradford’s Kyel Reid after 15 minutes was the only real effort at either end, the ball thankfully smacking into an advertising board near the post rather than flying into the top corner like every other effort at Ryan Clarke’s goal recently.
Clarke then needed to make a good save from Wells on 18 after the striker had initially got the better of the wandering keeper near the touchline, before a 25th minute effort from Capaldi went wide at the other end.
With efforts at goal thin on the ground a set piece looked the best way for either side to get their noses in front and on 51 it was Bradford who took the lead from a corner. Clarke had saved well from Reid to concede the set piece, but that was little reprieve as the ball was delivered from the left by Gary Jones and Davies rose, seemingly unmarked, to power home a well-directed header to make it 1-0.
Changes were needed and for the last half hour Sean Rigg and Peter Leven were thrown on to try and find a way through the well drilled Bantams back line. Constable drilled a 63rd minute shot over the bar when well-placed and with the crowd roaring them on United started to get forward more but on 68 they were 2-0 down as another corner killed their momentum stone dead.
Again from the left, again from Jones, Rory McArdle flicked on and Nahki Wells added a deft flick to make sure the ball reached the back of the net to make it 2-0.
The ever-inventive Leven tested visiting keeper John McLaughlin with a trademark free-kick from 20 yards which the keeper did well to push round the post, and the Scottish midfielder started doing for his side what Jones had been doing for the visitors: dominating play, looking for openings and pushing the side forward.
Sadly the chances failed to materialise and the U's' search for a win continues.
Clarke, Batt, Raynes, Wright, Capaldi, O’Brien (Leven62), Heslop (Rigg 62) ,Cox, Potter , Constable , Craddock
Brown, Worley, Marsh, Boateng, Smalley
Report by Chris Williams. Pictures by Steve Daniels. Stats by PA Sports
Fifty/50 winning number 242129 Wins £1089.50