Writer: Sheffield Bantam
Date:Monday December 13 2010
City halted a four match winless run on Saturday, beating bottom of the league Hereford to ensure that Peter Taylor`s men maintained a relatively close distance between themselves and the play off places.
The dull game was sealed as early as the 8th minute when summer recruit Dave Syers bagged his 6th goal of the season. The solitary goal was enough to give the Bantams the three points on a cold afternoon in BD8. Syers received the ball in the middle of the Hereford half from right back Richard Eckersley before taking the ball on and smashing the ball into the net off the right hand post. It was Syers` 6th goal of the season and his effort caught everyone off guard, including the Hereford keeper who the ball had passed before he had chance to save it.
The three points sees City climb to 14th in the league, 4 points off the final play off place, which is held currently by Torquay United. With the busy Christmas period about to come up, City find themselves within touching distance of the play offs whereby a good run could see them feasibly sit in the top 7 after the New Years Day game at Lincoln. Changes were again made from City`s last outing nearly three weeks ago at home to Accrington, both Leon Osborne and Jason Price dropped to the bench, to be replaced by Dave Syers and Omar Daley respectively.
Despite the victory from Syers` early goal, City were never really at the races. Lee Hendrie was made captain again and despite his industry in the middle of the park alongside Tommy Doherty`s wide range of passing, City couldn`t get into gear and had to grind out the result.
Following Syers` goal, the next chance fell to another one of City`s blonde boys in the shape of Luke O`Brien. The ball fell to O`Brien 25 yards out in front of goal and his unleashed a stinging left footed effort which Hereford keeper Adam Bartlett could only push away.
The longer the half went on, the more Hereford came back into the game, though. Hereford`s first chance fell to Spanish striker Guillem Bauza. The ball fell to Bauza on the edge of the box and he bent an effort towards the far corner which Pidgeley could only push out for a corner.
From the resulting corner Hereford nearly equalised as Janos Kovacs volleyed the ball, which looked to heading for the top corner, before a City head put it out for another corner.
City were under some pressure from the Bulls and their next chance was worked from the right hand channel, where former City youngster and Player of the Year Joe Colbeck whipped in the ball, but Guillem Bauza was unable to direct his header well enough.
When City did play the ball, however, they looked good and two one on one chances could have wrapped the game up before half time, but both Tom Adeyemi and Omar Daley fluffed their chances. Firstly, Adeyemi was played through and took his effort from 8 yards out but placed his weak shot straight at the Hereford keeper. Ten minutes later Daley weaved his way through the Bulls defence but was too slow to pull the trigger as Kovacs got back in to nick the ball from Daley.
City managed to get to half time 1-0 up and looked to build on a solid if unspectacular first half to gain their first win in over a month.
The teams returned to the pitch, and rather than capitalising on the lead, City sat back and invited wave after wave of attacks from Hereford, who looked the more likely to create something. However, the first clear cut chance of the half fell to the home side, and it was Dave Syers again who nearly added his and City`s second of the afternoon. After receiving a knock down from James Hanson, Syers miscued his initial shot but that put off Bartlett in the Hereford net who could only smother his shot giving Syers a second chance to score. Unfortunately for City, Bartlett showed quick reflexes to push the ball wide of the goal and keep the score down to just 1-0.
This was to be one of the last bits of attacking play from City as they seemed to be content on defending and holding onto the lead they already had.
Hereford almost made City pay for not building on their lead as loanee Nicky Featherstone span and hit the post from 8 yards out with Lenny Pidgely beaten. City did themselves hit the post two minutes later as Daley collected the ball from Tommy Doherty 25 yards out. Daley let fly with his effort, which looped over the keeper only to hit the inside of the post and bounce out. Adeyemi followed up with the rebound but Bartlett was up quick enough to tip it wide.
The game petered out from here on in, as City sat back, content with holding Hereford, who despite greater amounts of possession and territory, never looked like equalising. Leon Osborne and Jason Price were introduced to proceedings to try and give City some attacking impetus but nothing much came of it, and when Rob Kiernan went off injured, Price had to play the last ten minutes of the game at centre half. The unusual looking defence managed to hold out until full time and the Bantams carved out a much needed three points in the run up to the busy Christmas period.
At this point in the season, it is all about getting results whatever the performance, and Saturday was certainly City winning ugly.
Date:Monday December 13 2010
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