Reid retains his perspective

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THAT SUNDERLAND are, at this juncture, sitting pretty for a European foray is the source of much joy on Wearside. The recent defeat of their bitterest rivals - the big-spending, under-achieving Newcastle - serving only to raise expectations.

THAT SUNDERLAND are, at this juncture, sitting pretty for a European foray is the source of much joy on Wearside. The recent defeat of their bitterest rivals - the big-spending, under-achieving Newcastle - serving only to raise expectations.

Those inside the club, however, insist a sense of perspective must be retained. Peter Reid, the manager, was happy to praise his players after the game, but was more effusive regarding the four bookings his side received.

Bemoaning an era in which, he feels, even the slightest physical contact appears to warrant a yellow card, he is clearly focused on the forthcoming winter toils for which he will need his strongest players on the pitch, not languishing in the suspensions' sin bin.

Reid's guarded language is borne from the simple assessment that Sunderland are, in reality, unlikely to stay with the leading pack. For long periods on Saturday they were second best to a spirited, if uncultured, Bradford and, had the Bantams taken advantage of a portion of the chances offered, the restrained comments of Reid would have had a sharper resonance.

Paul Jewell, Bradford's manager, judged the scoreline as unreflective of the proceedings, and this was not just an attempt to appease his tetchy supporters, many of whom had long departed by the time Kevin Phillips doubled the lead in the closing moments with a tap-in and a penalty after Gary Walsh had crashed Sunderland's leading scorer to the ground.

In the first half, Phillips was provider when he supplied a neat lay- off for Alex Rae to open Sunderland's account with a 20-yard drive, prior to which David Weatherall, Andy Myers and Robbie Blake had squandered decent chances to put Bradford ahead. The match was effectively over when, on 68 minutes, Niall Quinn rose to meet Rae's pin-point cross.

"It was a harsh lesson for us," Jewell said. "We started well and created a few chances but by the end we were chasing the game. We need to start scoring the first goal. But I'm not going to panic." To do so would be premature, but those lessons need to be learnt quickly or, as he pointed out, heads may drop and the yo-yo effect of the Premiership will be seen again in Yorkshire next May.

Goals: Rae (17) 0-1; Quinn (68) 0-2; Phillips (88) 0-3; Phillips (90pen) 0-4.

Bradford City (4-4-2): Walsh; Halle, Weatherall, O'Brien, Myers; Blake, McCall, Windass, Beagrie; Mills, Saunders. Substitutes not used: Wright, Westwood, Clarke, Jacobs, Grant.

Sunderland (4-4-2): Sorensen; Makin, Butler, Bould, Gray; Summerbee, Rae (Williams 73), McCann (Roy, 61), Schwarz; Phillips, Quinn (Dichio, 86). Substitutes not used: Marriott, Oster.

Referee: S Bennett (Orpington).

Bookings: Bradford: Beagrie, Windass. Sunderland: Makin, Summerbee, Rae, McCann.

Man of match: Rae.

Attendance: 18,204.

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