Writer: Sheffield Bantam
Date:Saturday October 30 2010
A scintillating second half saw City take a much needed victory against 9 man Oxford at Valley Parade. Three dismissals, all from the same incident, sandwiched between 5 goals ensured the Bantams got back on track.
Omar Daley bagged a ten minute brace at the start of the second half to put City on top after a dull first 45 minutes. James Hanson weaved his way past ex-Bantam Jake Wright to win a penalty after he was felled at the second attempt. Lee Hendrie stepped up to take the resulting spot kick and put it away, albeit at the second time of asking. Five minutes later it all kicked off as Oxford were sent down to ten men after a reckless challenge from Mark Creighton. In the resulting melee, James Hanson and Jake Wright were sent off. City didn`t let this stop their momentum, however, as Luke O`Brien crossed for Dave Syers, who had only just been introduced to the action, to smash home a volley from 10 yards. Louis Moult then completed the rout in the 93rd minute with his first goal for the club.
The victory sees City climb to 16th in the league table, on the same points as Burton in 13th. It means City are again just 4 points off the final play off place but more importantly, the result meant a poor goal difference was improved immensely. Peter Taylor made five changes to the team that lined up last week at Burton. Recent signing Lenny Pidgeley took up the gloves in place of Jon McLaughlin and Zesh Rehman and Luke Oliver returned to the defence in place of Reece Brown and Oliver Gill respectively. Influential midfielder Lee Hendrie returned to midfield in the place of Jason Price, as Omar Daley returned to his free role up front. The final change was also in midfield as youngster Tom Adeyemi returned in the centre of the pitch as Dave Syers dropped to the bench.
Lee Hendrie was again instrumental for City as his craft and guile helped unlock the second meanest defence in the division. He was helped immensely with the range of passing from Tommy Doherty and the midfield seems to finally be coming together as a creative force as each player improves game on game.
Oxford started the game the brighter of the two sides, and within the first ten minutes had seen a couple of efforts go close as they flew by Pidgeleys far post. City were trying to make something happen but any attacking impetus was negated by Oxford keeper Clarke as the crosses were simple for him to collect.
Oxford were actually the first team to put the ball in the back of the net. James Constable had been put through and slid the ball past Pidgeley but the linesman flagged him off side.
City should have taken the lead, however, half an hour into the game. The ball found its way to Omar Daley 8 yards out and he managed to spin his defender. Unfortunately for the Bantams, Daley`s foot went beneath him as he shot and he skewed the effort wide from a position where it was harder to miss than score.
The rest of the half played out relatively incident free as the two teams tended to cancel each other out. Half time arrived, much to the relief of the 11,376 crowd.
The teams returned to the field for the second half and within ten minutes Omar Daley had changed the game. 3 minutes after the restart Daley put the Bantams ahead with a right footed finish into the far corner from a James Hanson flick on. Tommy Doherty floated a free kick in to the area where Hanson managed to get his head to the ball. His flick on fell behind the defenders and Daley used his pace to nip in and produce a neat first time finish.
Oxford replied strongly and Lenny Pidgeley had to be alert to stop Tom Craddocks header but man of the moment Omar Daley went on to double the Bantams advantage in the 57th minute. Daley was given the ball wide right and cut in beating two men before firing a left footed effort into the roof of the net.
Daley was playing with confidence and very nearly completed a hat trick when the ball sat up for him 20 yards out. He hit the ball first time but his effort flew narrowly wide of the post much to his despair.
City had the chance to increase their lead further in the 66th minute as James Hanson was felled in the box. A hopeful ball was hit down the right flank and some poor covering from ex-Bantam Jake Wright gave Hanson the opportunity to work his way into the box. Wright actually tripped Hanson himself but he managed to remain on his feet before a lunge from Mark Creighton took him out. Omar Daley was naturally eager to take it to complete his hat trick but Peter Taylor designated Lee Hendrie as the penalty taker. Hendrie hit his penalty to the keepers left but Ryan Clarke judged it correctly and pushed his effort wide. Luckily, the linesman spotted Clarke off his line and ordered the penalty to be retaken. Hendrie made no mistake this time as he put the ball in the bottom left corner.
It got interesting five minutes later as the teams came to blows and three red cards were handed out. Mark Creighton, already booked from the first half, felled Leon Osborne with a poor challenge which saw the first red card. It sparked a mass brawl which culminated in James Hanson and Jake Wright receiving their marching orders. Hanson allegedly elbowed Wright, which Wright himself then retaliated to.
Oxford already looked incapable of producing any sort of a comeback but being reduced to 9 men completely killed them off.
With tempers flaring, Taylor decided to bring off the temperamental Daley to a standing ovation and replaced him with Jason Price. Price had an immediate impact setting up the onrushing Adeyemi. Hendrie crossed to Price who cushioned the ball into Adeyemi`s path. Adeyemi hit the ball first time but a number of bodies were in the way to block the ball.
Dave Syers and Louis Moult were both introduced late on to replace Tommy Doherty and Leon Osborne.
There was still time for City to create chances and Moult went close as Price again laid the ball into his path. Moult hit his effort first time from 12 yards but Clarke was equal to it.
It wasn`t long before City had the ball in the back of the net again, though. Dave Syers had only just been introduced when he fired home a first time volley from Luke O`Brien`s deep cross.
The scoring wasn`t complete though, and Moult rounded up the scoring in the 93rd minute with a composed effort from 20 yards. Moult picked up the ball 30 yards out and took the ball forward before curling an effort into the far corner beyond the despairing Clarke.
The scoring was finally over at this point and the team went off the pitch to a standing ovation along with Peter Taylor who seems to have turned around the vast majority of his doubters. Long may it continue.
Date:Saturday October 30 2010
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