Football: Everton drawn down to Bradford's level

Bradford City 0 Everton 0

IT BECAME a less credible statistic the longer this match dragged on, but Everton came out of this millennium as the team who have gained most points in England's top division. Not Liverpool, not Arsenal, but the blue club of Merseyside. On this evidence, the next thousand years will not compare favourably.

This was a dreadful game that had less to recommend it than another plate of cold turkey. It was clear to see how Bradford had been beaten 4-0 by Manchester United on Boxing Day but the mystery was how Everton had coincidentally thrashed Sunderland. On a wintry afternoon they were poor, the match was poor and the temperature was worse.

"It was a tight match but we had enough opportunities to win it," Everton's manager, Walter Smith, whose mood was not improved by a calf injury to John Collins that will keep him out for two weeks, said. "We didn't take enough care in the last third of the pitch." Frankly, there was not much in the other two-thirds either.

The afternoon began with Geoffrey Richmond, the Bradford chairman, thanking the supporters for their backing and berating the local council for its lack of support. A proposal to increase Valley Parade's capacity to 25,000 had won only narrow approval and, from the centre circle, he boomed: "It's time that they realise the people who voted them in can vote them out." It was probably a mis-use of power but, as the two teams of players were about to prove, you do not need to hold the purse strings at a club to do that.

The first half was so bad it could have been used as a promotional video for the virtues of watching Test cricket on television. Bradford were tentative and managed only a free-kick from Dean Windass that sailed close to the post after 27 minutes.

Everton, 5-0 winners on Sunday, were without Kevin Campbell, who was given the day off as his wife gave birth to a son, but his replacement, Joe Max-Moore, had a chance after three minutes when David Unsworth's long pass found him at the far post. The American's touch took him beyond Andy Myers but it pushed him too close to Matt Clarke. Little did anyone realise that this would be the closest Everton would come, because they soon stooped from Sunday's form and by the end were scraping along at Bradford's level.

They managed just two more chances of note, a free-kick from Mark Pembridge that grazed the upright and a last-minute header from Nick Barmby that was wastefully pulled wide from eight yards.

Not for the first time this season Bradford, spurred on by the tireless Stuart McCall, got better the longer the game went on and they might have sneaked a win with two headers from Lee Mills midway through the second half.

The first was narrowly wide but the next, from Dean Saunders' 65th-minute cross, was kept out of the Everton goal only by a combination of Paul Gerrard's dive low to his right and the post. On a day Watford won, it was an effort Bradford urgently needed to go into the net.

"I have got to be pleased with a point that might be vital at the end of the season," Bradford's manager, Paul Jewell, said. "We didn't play particularly well and it's a testament to the players that they ground out a result."

Bradford City (4-4-2): Clarke; Halle, Wetherall, O'Brien, Myers (Beagrie, 68); Redfearn, McCall, Windass (Blake, 74), Sharpe; Mills, Saunders. Substitutes not used: Lawrence, Westwood, Davison (gk).

Everton (4-4-2): Gerrard; Dunne, Weir, Gough, Unsworth; Barmby, Hutchison, Collins (Cleland, 51; Gemmill, 75), Pembridge; Max-Moore (Cadamarteri, 75), Jeffers. Substitutes not used: Watson, Simonsen (gk).

Referee: U Rennie (Sheffield).

Bookings: Bradford: McCall, Redfearn; Everton: Hutchison, Cadamarteri.

Man of the match: McCall.

Attendance: 18,276.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Electronic Service Engineer - Television & HI-FI

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Engineers for field & bench ser...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer - Award Winning Agency

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity for a t...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global provider of call ce...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service and Business Support Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: By developing intimate relationships with inte...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada