Tranmere Rovers v Bradford City – An opinionated match report.

Tranmere Rovers 0 Bradford City 1 – An opinionated match report.
Saturday 26th December 2020
@Prenton Park
English Football League Two

Short summary:
On Boxing Day 2020 Rovers wanted to add another positive result to add to the previous fixture’s 3-0 win away to Bolton Wanderers. However, the lack of consistency was again shown in a tricky encounter at home to Bradford City. The West Yorkshire outfit came with a clear game plan and this plan managed to be successful in Merseyside, to nullify the attacks from the hosts and create chances from the counter. The ‘Bantams’ defence remained relatively solid throughout although the Whites put six shots on target and the team created three chances of their own, beating the defence with pace to head a ball from inside of the box to score. The goal came in the 62nd minute, the experienced forward Lee Novak’s name placed on the scoresheet. Rovers dominated this fixture. However, more must be done to attack teams. The Whites’ forward’s should aim to run at defences more and Blackett-Taylor should have the ball in his feet more often. The young trickster is in my honest opinion, the best player at the club on the ball with his pace to aid that. Thus, players should look to pass to him when attacking.

My thoughts:

Manager – I don’t think Keith Hill got too much wrong in this game, although his side lost. The players selected in the initial line-up was one that gave a nod to the performance of the previous weekend. Defender Sid Nelson and Midfielder Jack Young started as they did against Bolton in an encounter that they excelled in. They showed their worth against the ‘Bantams’ too, I thought. The substitutions made during the game were the correct ones too, I thought, four were made: Morgan Ferrier, Kieron Morris, Kaiyne Woolery and Paul Lewis all came on. The intentions were clear, to attack and create chances just like they managed to do in the first half. Sometimes, players need to blame themselves for negative results as there is only so much a manager can do on the sidelines.

GK – Scott Davies was the man in the hosts’ net. He didn’t have much to do, Bradford would only place three shots on target and one resulted in a goal. I think it was a pretty standard performance from Davies and the goal was the fault of his defenders marking and lack of pace. He provided leadership to the men in front of him, his shouting was evident from where I was sitting. Little can be said and complained about from his Boxing day performance.

DF – Calum MacDonald, Sid Nelson, Peter Clarke and Liam Ridehalgh were the players chosen, in the back line, to combat the chances created from the visitors. I thought that it was a relatively solid performance from these four, Nelson again made his quality evident as he did in the weekend previous and as ever MacDonald and Clarke proved their worth to the team. However, the lack of pace from full-back Ridehalgh was also evident. This is a source of worry for the club moving forwards. A lapse of concentration from players in the box, at the time, was the reason for the visitors goal.

MDF – I thought the midfield played well in their individual play. However, it was evident that they didn’t click together in the given formation. I felt that Jay Spearing and Jack Young played well and in the first half Feeney provided a source of creation as well as he was often seen on the wing either crossing the ball into the box or passing it on to fellow forwards. One thing that was on display was the lack of feed to Corey Blackett-Taylor, he was seen in position with plenty of space around him in most periods of the game and if given the ball would have been able to add a lot more to his performance. He is, in my honest opinion as i’ve said before, our best forward with the ball at his feet. However, the youngster does need to work on his work rate off the ball.

FW – James Vaughan was the chosen striker, he was ‘pocketed’ throughout periods of the game by the ‘Bantams’ defence and that is why I complimented them above. He struggled to provide much to the game, despite his work rate being put on display. He did have a few shots in the first half but all failed to trouble the keeper.

Subs – Kaiyne Woolery, Morgan Ferrier, Paul Lewis and Kieron Morris all came on to the pitch to provide a source of creation for the Whites. I thought that Morris had a poor performance when put on to the pitch. The greatest substitute’s performance was, In my opinion, Morgan Ferrier. The 26-year-old managed to use his pace to get past the visitors and he would use this to get a shot off, brilliantly saved by the Sheffield-born Richard O’Donnell.

Match stats:
Possession – 64%/36%
Shots – 13/9
Shots on target – 6/3
Fouls – 10/9
Yellow cards – 0/2
Corners – 8/8

Thank you very much for reading,
All the very best for the new year,
Ethan Hoijord.

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