FOOTBALL: Frustration for Ferguson

Bradford City 2 Newcastle United 0

PERHAPS IT was watching the match through the festive foliage in the restaurant which doubles as Bradford's packed press box that made it seem as if Newcastle were using a variant on that cheeriest of formations - the Christmas tree.

Bobby Robson, the most experienced manager currently working in the Premiership, facing the least, used all three of his front-line strikers for an away fixture, with Kevin Gallacher tucked behind Alan Shearer and Duncan Ferguson. For half the match that sense of adventure seemed certain to pay off eventually.

The movement of Shearer and Gallacher and Ferguson's power in the air were too much for City. But Newcastle wasted all their chances and saw the complexion of the game change radically at half time.

David Wetherall and Andy O'Brien, striving with little success to cope with Shearer and Ferguson in the first half, took a firm grip in the second. Better still, Bradford recovered to score two goals and send themselves into their next test, on Boxing Day against Manchester United, full of seasonal cheer if not blind optimism.

Wetherall headed the second goal after Dean Saunders had poached the first, from Lee Mills' breakaway and cross, on the edge of the six-yard box. Quite a transformation, made particularly apparent by the demeanour of Ferguson.

In the first half, he had been at his rarely sighted, terrifying best, rampaging through the Bradford defence at will. But as City wrestled back control, his body language changed completely. By the last 15 minutes, during which he missed three good chances, all to his feet, he wore the air of a defeated and disillusioned man, resigned to the fact that, in the words of his manager, he and his team- mates would not score if they played until Easter.

Unkind critics, trumpeting the inevitability of Bradford's return to their true station in life, have said much the same about their scoring potential. Saturday's victory was a triumph for the useful knack of making quite a lot out of very little, because their goals came from two of the very few chances they created.

Paul Jewell, hardly out of his pram when Robson was already managing successfully, does not put it down to good fortune. "I'm not a great believer in you being lucky or unlucky and that deciding whether you get relegated," he said. " You get good luck and you get bad luck but it evens itself out." Duncan Ferguson would quite possibly agree.

Goals: Saunders (56) 1-0; Wetherall (71) 2-0.

Bradford City (4-4-2): Clarke; Halle, O'Brien, Wetherall, Myers; Sharpe (Beagrie, 78), McCall, Windass, Lawrence; Saunders, Mills. Substitutes not used: Davison (gk), Westwood, Blake, Whalley.

Newcastle United (4-3-1-2): Harper; Barton, Helder, Hughes, Pistone; Solano (Dyer, 70), Lee (Fumaca, 84), Speed; Gallacher (Glass, 73); Shearer, Ferguson. Substitutes not used: Given (gk), Ketsbaia.

Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe).

Bookings: Bradford City: Saunders. Newcastle: Helder.

Man of the match: Wetherall.

Attendance: 18,276.

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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Service Manager

£37000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has a track record...

Recruitment Genius: Solar Field Sales Executive

£40000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable