Bradford City homecoming cut up by Daggers’ directness

James Hanson celebrates his equalising goal with City team-mate Kyel Reid

Skipper Gary Jones sees a City raid thwarted by Dagenham keeper Chris Lewington

Dagenham keeper Chris Lewington denies City striker Nahki Wells

First published in Sport Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford City Reporter

City 1, Dagenham 1

It was as if Sunday had never happened; nothing more than a glorious day-dream.

If being at Wembley felt like a parallel universe, City returned to planet earth with a bump against a traditional nemesis.

At least James Hanson made sure that the Bantams grabbed a share of the spoils with a deserved late equaliser. A fourth home defeat in a row in the league would have been unjust.

But it felt flat after all the euphoria – and the top seven is still a way off even with those games in hand.

Mark Lawn had called for a proper homecoming atmosphere to greet the return to League Two normality. And those who were there could not be faulted in creating a decent noise.

But the 10,006 crowd figure was well down on the joint-chairman’s estimate – and at least 23,000 fewer than the weekend’s turn-out.

So, many of those who had screamed City ’Til I Die three days before had decided against following it up on familiar soil.

After the artists of Swansea, the artisans of Dagenham; from the Spanish inquisition at the twinkling feet of Michu and Pablo Hernandez to the no-nonsense boot of the self-proclaimed small pub team from Essex.

Nothing could be further removed from the Welsh wizards stroking the ball hypnotically around Wembley than the Daggers pumping it long into the channels to play for corners and throw-ins.

But if it was a case of City quickly having to get their heads back out of the Capital One Cup clouds, it was also a strange night for Dagenham as they began life without John Still.

The former longest-serving gaffer in the Football League had occupied their hot-seat – in his second spell with the club – since April 2004.

To put it into context, Bryan Robson was the Bantams boss at that time and his side were in the final throes of relegation from the Championship.

Dagenham, under Still, regarded Valley Parade as a second home – they had never lost in four previous visits. City had to buck that trend to reignite hopes of regaining some ground on their play-off rivals.

Parkinson shuffled the pack as promised, with six changes from Sunday. Jon McLaughlin was the only enforced one in goal for his first league action since October.

The City boss urged his side to go for it in the last leg of their marathon season and the presence of both Kyel Reid and Zavon Hines was proof of his attacking intent.

Dagenham sportingly gave them a guard of honour to walk on to the pitch and City were greeted by a sea of Wembley flags and plenty of noise from the stands.

Rory McArdle, playing at right back, had the first chance with a stretching volley that flashed over the bar after eight minutes.

But McLaughlin needed to be on his toes with a fine save on to the bar to deny Medy Elito as Dagenham countered. Matt Saunders dribbled past Michael Nelson to feed the winger, who cut inside and unleashed a fierce shot which the keeper was equal to.

Nathan Doyle took his bookings tally to nine for flattening Luke Howell but City tried to stay on the front foot. The home fans were certainly in a positive vein and doing their bit.

The tempo was fierce, with Dagenham double-teaming Reid to keep the winger in close check. And despite plenty of energy from the home side, McArdle’s early effort was their only chance in the first half hour.

Centre half Scott Doe, a veteran of previous Daggers raids on City soil, nicked the ball off Garry Thompson as he tried to latch on to a Gary Jones through-ball. But there was a threat from the corner as McArdle again popped up with a flick-header across goal.

A little bit of devil was finally creeping into City’s play but not enough and keeper Chris Lewington watched as Jones drove low and wide from 30 yards.

Dagenham were doing the job defensively with a foot here or a toe there, Luke Wilkinson robbing Andy Gray – who was finding it hard to get into the game – and Lewington diving at the feet of Thompson right on the edge of the penalty area as half-time arrived without a breakthrough.

But City had a huge escape four minutes into the second half after Dagenham fluffed a penalty.

Reid stumbled into the back of Wilkinson and it looked a harsh call as the assistant flagged. But justice – in home eyes –was done as Sam Williams fired a woeful spot-kick well wide of the right post.

Left back Olafemi Ilesanmi had been walking a disciplinary tight rope after a serious of debatable tackles on Hines. But referee Chris Sarginson’s patience finally ran out as his latest lunge earned a yellow card.

Lewington clawed away Nelson’s header in a crowded six-yard box and Gray showed good juggling skills with his back to goal before shooting wide.

City were trying but Williams nearly atoned for his hash from 12 yards with a clever curling effort that was not far off.

The hosts responded with a flurry of corners. McArdle’s curled shot from the first was deflected just over and then Andrew Davies panicked Doe into a hurried clearance against his own bar.

Parkinson swapped his strikers round and brought Nahki Wells and Hanson off the bench. But the pair had not even had a touch when Dagenham stunned Valley Parade into near silence with a 69th-minute goal.

City coughed up possession to the right of the box and Ben Strevens cleverly slipped inside McArdle. As the defence tried to recover, the ball broke sideways into the path of Howell, who gave McLaughlin no chance with a drive into the bottom corner.

On came Alan Connell for Stephen Darby as Parkinson threw everyone in search of an equaliser – and it came with four minutes to go.

Hines, who had troubled Dagenham all night, drilled in a cross which Wells touched on for Hanson to knock home from close range.

City sensed a dramatic victory now and almost had it as Wells was thwarted on the line by Abu Ogogo. All in all, an opportunity missed as the play-offs remain ten points away.

Attendance: 10,006

Comments (11)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:45am Thu 28 Feb 13

Oakenshaw white says...

10,006 LMAO
10,006 LMAO Oakenshaw white
  • Score: 0

7:53am Thu 28 Feb 13

ShipleytoSussex says...

Of course, not all of the 32,000 fans at Wembley live in Bradford anymore. Like lots of City fans who no longer live in the area, I made the journey from my new home (Sussex) on Sunday, but Valley Parade is a little far for a Wednesday evening.

I was however listening online, with my scarf and flag, and wishing I could be in Bradford last night to give the players the homecoming they deserved.
Of course, not all of the 32,000 fans at Wembley live in Bradford anymore. Like lots of City fans who no longer live in the area, I made the journey from my new home (Sussex) on Sunday, but Valley Parade is a little far for a Wednesday evening. I was however listening online, with my scarf and flag, and wishing I could be in Bradford last night to give the players the homecoming they deserved. ShipleytoSussex
  • Score: 0

7:59am Thu 28 Feb 13

OutOfBradford says...

Can someone please explain to me the big love affair with Kyel Reid !

The single most overrated player I can remember down at City for years.

Consistently poor and last night he was worse than ever.
Can someone please explain to me the big love affair with Kyel Reid ! The single most overrated player I can remember down at City for years. Consistently poor and last night he was worse than ever. OutOfBradford
  • Score: 0

8:14am Thu 28 Feb 13

Hoggy64 says...

Reid hasn't been the same player since his injury and last night he was awful.

Latest tactics seem to swap one pair of strikers with another no matter if one of them is having a decent game, aka Thompson. Gray is woeful and how he starts ahead of Connell is beyond me.

It's embarrassing when a a team known for being so direct actually manage to out pass us.

Big let down last night and despite all the hype our season is fizzingly out.
Reid hasn't been the same player since his injury and last night he was awful. Latest tactics seem to swap one pair of strikers with another no matter if one of them is having a decent game, aka Thompson. Gray is woeful and how he starts ahead of Connell is beyond me. It's embarrassing when a a team known for being so direct actually manage to out pass us. Big let down last night and despite all the hype our season is fizzingly out. Hoggy64
  • Score: 0

8:17am Thu 28 Feb 13

monkey belly says...

totally agree reid was a waste of space, and gray is just here for his fat salary.
totally agree reid was a waste of space, and gray is just here for his fat salary. monkey belly
  • Score: 0

8:27am Thu 28 Feb 13

Cityman23 says...

The southern side sportingly applauded City on to the pitch-a nice gesture- but then proceeded to thrust a 'dagger' into their promotion ambitions!

However, if we're honest, the 'wheels have been coming off' this promotion campaign for some time and erhaps we we were deluding ourselves that it was just down to cup preoccupatin.

To be fair, City have been bedevilled this year with injuries/illesses and not just the usual ones. Oliver, Davies, Reid, Meredith, Dickson to name but five!! And truth to tell, Davies and Reid have not convinced they are ye back to the form showed prior to 'taking sabatticals.'

Tonight, the fans had read the script and turned up flags in had to recreate a bit o Wembley at 'VP' which they achieved. But then..it all reverted to what we've unfortunately recently been getting used to-scrappy play/no incisiveness/worryin
g the opponents will get the first goal!

That D&G sqaundered the chance to precisely that,(albeit with a contentious pen) let City only temporarily off the hook. The Daggers laer got their lead and City chased the game right intil the end, when an equaliser changed The Bantams' tempo and too late, we began to show some urgency!

It may still NOT be too late for City where promotion is concerned but I personally feel, that 'dream' died tonight (for anther year). The point keeps the light flickering but for how much longer?

Truly, this season has been fantastic for City's cup explioits and I don't feel I've been short-changed this term. In fact it certainly is placed in my 'top five' seasons after watching the team for 34 years!

Sadly, the crowd-increase on the uual figure was minimal, but it did look as if most season ticket/flex card holders were AT the game, because the stands looked fuller but the figue was just over 10,000.

City will battle on, as they should and we're all behind them, but we should also begin to think of 2013/14, when with a few suitable recruits, we could be automatic promotion 'favourites.'

PS: Jim Hanson MUST be played (if fit) in remaining games. Hi absence showed and City had no 'punch' /heading threat without him.

To the 'kop' please don't sing 'Stand Up For The 56' during matches. It is not the RIGHT thing to do, making it feel as if it's 'just another chant' and causing some to stand, others delay and stand, others remain seated and then all lose interest, at an exciting moment that suddenly materialises.
The memory of those pople is worth MORE than that, and we do so in May each year, when we're NOT distracted.
The southern side sportingly applauded City on to the pitch-a nice gesture- but then proceeded to thrust a 'dagger' into their promotion ambitions! However, if we're honest, the 'wheels have been coming off' this promotion campaign for some time and erhaps we we were deluding ourselves that it was just down to cup preoccupatin. To be fair, City have been bedevilled this year with injuries/illesses and not just the usual ones. Oliver, Davies, Reid, Meredith, Dickson to name but five!! And truth to tell, Davies and Reid have not convinced they are ye back to the form showed prior to 'taking sabatticals.' Tonight, the fans had read the script and turned up flags in had to recreate a bit o Wembley at 'VP' which they achieved. But then..it all reverted to what we've unfortunately recently been getting used to-scrappy play/no incisiveness/worryin g the opponents will get the first goal! That D&G sqaundered the chance to precisely that,(albeit with a contentious pen) let City only temporarily off the hook. The Daggers laer got their lead and City chased the game right intil the end, when an equaliser changed The Bantams' tempo and too late, we began to show some urgency! It may still NOT be too late for City where promotion is concerned but I personally feel, that 'dream' died tonight (for anther year). The point keeps the light flickering but for how much longer? Truly, this season has been fantastic for City's cup explioits and I don't feel I've been short-changed this term. In fact it certainly is placed in my 'top five' seasons after watching the team for 34 years! Sadly, the crowd-increase on the uual figure was minimal, but it did look as if most season ticket/flex card holders were AT the game, because the stands looked fuller but the figue was just over 10,000. City will battle on, as they should and we're all behind them, but we should also begin to think of 2013/14, when with a few suitable recruits, we could be automatic promotion 'favourites.' PS: Jim Hanson MUST be played (if fit) in remaining games. Hi absence showed and City had no 'punch' /heading threat without him. To the 'kop' please don't sing 'Stand Up For The 56' during matches. It is not the RIGHT thing to do, making it feel as if it's 'just another chant' and causing some to stand, others delay and stand, others remain seated and then all lose interest, at an exciting moment that suddenly materialises. The memory of those pople is worth MORE than that, and we do so in May each year, when we're NOT distracted. Cityman23
  • Score: 0

8:34am Thu 28 Feb 13

Cityman23 says...

Just realised I put 'D&G' my wife's scent instead of 'D&R'!!
Just realised I put 'D&G' my wife's scent instead of 'D&R'!! Cityman23
  • Score: 0

8:52am Thu 28 Feb 13

neiltherealdeal says...

Reid is a really good player at our level, he just had a poor game last night. He always has 2 or 3 men on him so creates space elsewhere. He's just struggled for consistancy since his long term injury.
If people get on his back it will do no good whatsoever and i for one will be gutted if we can't keep him for next season and can easily see him coming back to haunt us with another team!
Reid is a really good player at our level, he just had a poor game last night. He always has 2 or 3 men on him so creates space elsewhere. He's just struggled for consistancy since his long term injury. If people get on his back it will do no good whatsoever and i for one will be gutted if we can't keep him for next season and can easily see him coming back to haunt us with another team! neiltherealdeal
  • Score: 0

9:24am Thu 28 Feb 13

Rambo says...

Oakenshaw white wrote:
10,006 LMAO
Everytime you have a go at our crowds, i point out the fact leeds have had as low as 17,000 and 18000 on several occassions this season, then all of a sudden 38000 turn up for the big cup games. You never seem to respond...
[quote][p][bold]Oakenshaw white[/bold] wrote: 10,006 LMAO[/p][/quote]Everytime you have a go at our crowds, i point out the fact leeds have had as low as 17,000 and 18000 on several occassions this season, then all of a sudden 38000 turn up for the big cup games. You never seem to respond... Rambo
  • Score: 0

10:00pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Stevie-C says...

Oakenshaw white wrote:
10,006 LMAO
Clown. Remind us what round of the capital one cup your lot went out??? Biggest under-achievers EVER. Ctid
[quote][p][bold]Oakenshaw white[/bold] wrote: 10,006 LMAO[/p][/quote]Clown. Remind us what round of the capital one cup your lot went out??? Biggest under-achievers EVER. Ctid Stevie-C
  • Score: 0

10:37pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Colin Allcars says...

Come on, don't forget the gate includes all season ticket holders including those not there, in which case almost all of the 23,000 extras were sat at home watching Coronation Street.
Come on, don't forget the gate includes all season ticket holders including those not there, in which case almost all of the 23,000 extras were sat at home watching Coronation Street. Colin Allcars
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree