Football: Bradford lose touch

Bradford City 0 Ipswich Town 0
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BRADFORD'S CLAIMS for an automatic promotion place were significantly down-graded as their free-scoring touch went sadly missing under one of Ipswich's clean defensive sheets.

No team in the Nationwide league has managed as many shut-outs as George Burley's side, who notched-up number 19 in the process of dislodging Bradford from second spot.

Not that Paul Jewell, the Bradford manager, was prepared to accept this result as a major setback in his club's bid to climb into the Premiership. "As I have just said in the dressing room, it's not just big 5-0 wins that get you promotion," Jewell said. "It's the ability to pick up points in matches when you are not at your best, and today we definitely were not at our best.

"We did not play well but the players stuck at it. Credit to Ipswich who are very well organised which makes them difficult to beat. It was up to us to break them down, but we couldn't. But I suppose it's how they've managed to keep 19 clean sheets.

Although there was much satisfaction from Burley's point of view in nullifying the Bradford threat, the Ipswich manager was still something of a Mr Glum. Burley's chief gripe was the performance of Middlesbrough referee Graham Franklin, who booked striker David Johnson for diving.

Burley approached the Teesside official following the final whistle to challenge a decision which forces Johnson into a one match suspension.

"Maybe I am biased, but for me it was the wrong decision," Burley said. "That is why I spoke to the referee after the game. But he said he was closer to the incident. However, overall, I was pleased with the commitment of the players. We had a lot of possession and worked very hard. I can't fault their commitment."

Bradford City (4-4-2): Walsh; Wright, Moore, Westwood, Jacobs; Lawrence, McCall, Whalley, Beagrie; Blake (Rankin 88), Mills. Substitutes not used: O'Brien, Ramage.

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Wright; Wilnis, Tanner, Mowbray, Venus; Clapham, Dyer, Magilton, Holland; Harewood (Naylor 62), Johnson. Substitutes not used: Stockwell, Petta.

Bookings: Ipswich: Wilnis, Magilton, Johnson.

Attendance: 15,024.

Man of the match: Mowbray.

Referee: G Frankland (Middlesbrough).