Football: Harte breaker for Bradford

FA Premiership: Leeds rely on disputed penalty to upstage derby rivals; Leeds United 2 Smith 54, Harte Pen 80 Bradford City 1 Windass 90 Half- time: 0-0 Attendance: 39,937

TO THE more telegenic qualities of Leeds' fledglings add the priceless commodities of persistence, patience and good fortune. A deflected shot by Alan Smith 10 minutes after half-time and a dubious penalty, converted by Ian Harte, 10 minutes from the end was enough to subdue spirited Bradford, but Leeds will play better than this and come away with nothing. Though David O'Leary begged to differ, this was a master class in the art of winning badly.

"I can only give my opinion," the Leeds manager said. "But I thought we played some really good football in the first half. Our movement was good, we just had to be a bit more composed in the last third of the field." More composure perhaps, more power definitely.

Deep down, O'Leary will know that on afternoons like these, against teams who have come to thwart rather than create, there is no substitute for the battering ram. Smith and the mercurial Michael Bridges too often found themselves outmuscled by David Wetherall, one of three Leeds old boys on station at the heart of a rugged Bradford defence. "Look at teams like Manchester United," countered O'Leary. "They keep playing and keep playing until the game opens up." But even with David Batty and Lee Bowyer in midfield, Leeds do not have the collective physical presence of United. Not yet at least.

Admittedly, Bradford made it very difficult for their West Yorkshire neighbours. They ran, harried and did all the mundane chores they were asked to do without ever quite dispelling the unspoken belief that a mere visit to Elland Road, their first in the league for nine years, was enough of a memory for a couple more decades. Bradford have never won there. Back from a week's furlough, wasting too much effort on Bradford City, residents of football's outback for most of the century, seemed a bit beneath Leeds' dignity. Perhaps they had another midweek trip to Moscow in the Uefa Cup in the back of their minds.

With five stretched across the midfield and Lee Mills a lone striker, Bradford made their intentions abundantly clear. Sneaking a point back up the motorway was the limit of their ambitions and for almost an hour, their industry proved more than a match for Leeds. Had Nigel Martyn - England's No 1, according to the man on the PA - not palmed over a point- blank header by Peter Beagrie midway through the first half, Bradford might even have sneaked a lead they scarcely deserved. At the other end, with Gunnar Halle and Lee Sharpe joining Wetherall in an Elland Road reunion, the action resembled an old Leeds training session.

By half-time, Leeds had precious little to show for all their possession. A long-range shot by the quietly impressive Eirik Bakke, a Norwegian Under- 21 international, was acrobatically saved by Clarke, who also parried Lucas Radebe's far-post header just before half-time. Smith, in particular, seemed out of sorts and once Sharpe had dropped back to reinforce the back line and cut out Michael Bridges' intelligent forays down the right, Leeds looked woefully short of imagination.

Smith was replaced by Darren Huckerby 15 minutes from time, but not before he had deflected Bridges' shot over the advancing Clarke and into the City net in the 55th minute. Whether Smith or the unfortunate Andrew O'Brien had got the final touch was hard to judge, but neither Smith nor the crowd was about to question the source of what would surely prove a decisive goal. "Typical Smithy," O'Leary said. Typical of the striker's self-confidence not just to bag the goal, but to claim the neat lob was intentional.

Bradford responded with some spirit, a ferocious drive from Beagrie forcing Martyn into a fine save and, not before time, a little local passion began to surface. Stuart McCall, already booked by Paul Durkin, was lucky to stay on after a late challenge on Bowyer. The arrival of Huckerby injected some pace into the Leeds attack, but there was a touch of good fortune about their second and conclusive goal, scored from the penalty spot by Ian Harte after Clarke had brought down Batty. The referee's assistant gave the decision, but Clarke's protests had some validity.

That, it seemed, would be that, except that Bradford refused to bow to the inevitable. Left with only the goalkeeper to beat after a mistake by Harte, Jamie Lawrence blasted his shot well over, burying his bottle- blond head in his hands. The significance of the miss only hit home moments from the final whistle when Dean Windass, looking offside, sneaked in behind Lucas Radebe and Jonathan Woodgate, rounded Martyn and snatched a smattering of pride from an otherwise forgettable afternoon.

If they maintain the same sense of commitment and organisation for the rest of the season, who knows, Bradford might even be back for another tilt at the lords of the manor next season.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

Property Finance Partner

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

Agile Tester

£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried