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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
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

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ang

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...

C#.NET Server Side Developer (C#, XML, WCF, Unit Testing,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition