Steve Evans is the Grinch who stole Christmas at Bradford City

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: City can’t find a way through the Rotherham defence City can’t find a way through the Rotherham defence

City 0, Rotherham 1

In this season of goodwill to all men, Valley Parade will always make one notable exception.

Steve Evans will forever be the Grinch in City’s eyes. And he stole Christmas with three more points in West Yorkshire yesterday – Rotherham’s sixth successive win over the Bantams.

Now the fear is that this latest setback may also have stolen their season. Defeat leaves them eight points adrift of the play-offs and continuing to lose ground. With only one win from their last 13 league games, the momentum is heading in the wrong direction.

Once again, City can point to an exceptional goal as their undoing. Nobody seems to score tap-ins against them these days. But there was never any serious evidence of a fightback in front of the biggest home crowd of the season.

There was little cutting edge with the possession and Rotherham’s lead, established a quarter of the way into the game, always looked comfortable. No wonder Evans rarely appeared from the sanctuary of his dugout. He didn’t need to.

Phil Parkinson’s team selection took everyone by surprise. With no James Hanson or Andy Gray, who failed to recover from his weekend dead leg, Parkinson threw Oliver McBurnie in the deep end for his first start.

The 17-year-old Leeds lad, a 21-goal sensation for the youth team, made his debut against the Millers as a late substitute in the FA Cup defeat but this was another level.

McBurnie was not the only unexpected addition as Carl McHugh got the nod to fill the defensive void left by Rory McArdle’s one-match ban.

The Irish youngster’s only two appearances this season had been in cup ties but perhaps his inclusion ahead of Matt Taylor and Luke Oliver was a vote for heart over height from the City boss.

And the bench included Ricky Ravenhill, suddenly recalled a week early from his Northampton loan after Aidy Boothroyd’s sacking. The midfielder had not kicked a ball for City since September.

McBurnie got a traditional welcome to the big stage inside two minutes, Claude Davis stepping in his way to level the youngster.

The start was predictably fast and furious, with nobody given too long to settle in possession. James Meredith was tripped by Mark Bradley level with the Rotherham box but Gary Jones’ inswinging free-kick into the goalmouth eluded the claret and amber heads.

Nahki Wells had keeper Adam Collin scrambling with a shot on the turn that passed the post, before Bradley picked up the first booking for a late challenge on Nathan Doyle.

Davis, one of the central figures of that infamous brawl with Crawley, did not last long as he was subbed for Rob Milsom.

But the wind was knocked out of City’s sails after 20 minutes. Lee Frecklington rode a couple of tackles on the edge of the box, Kieron Agard helped the ball on to Haris Vuckic and the Slovenian produced a fine lob which left Jon McLaughlin rooted to the spot.

City had chances to whack the ball away during the build-up but it was a quality strike which the keeper could not stop.

The irony that it was Vuckic, a player that City had considered bringing in on loan, just added to the sense of frustration around the ground.

“That man Steve Evans, he’s laughing at you,” taunted the sold-out away end as the rest of Valley Parade fell silent.

It was depressingly familiar territory for the Bantams; losing to the Millers once again – and conceding first for the fourth successive home game.

For a short spell, Rotherham were in the ascendancy as City struggled to clear their heads.

Garry Thompson had a shot blocked and McBurnie a soft header comfortably caught before the pair combined for City’s best attack of the game. The youngster shielded the ball well to find Thompson, whose well-struck cross-shot was palmed behind by Collin.

That stirred up the atmosphere – but not as much as Vuckic’s clumsy lunge on halfway which left Kyel Reid in a heap. Out came the referee’s book for a second time.

Rotherham wanted similar retribution when Ben Pringle was fouled by Stephen Darby and Evans appeared on the edge of the pitch to gesticulate furiously. As the jeers got louder, referee Darren Bond ignored the visiting pleas and kept his card holstered.

There was nothing between the teams, although City had finished the first half in better fashion. But there was a lot of work ahead to claw their way back from a potentially damaging defeat.

With the booking hanging over him, Vuckic did not appear after the break. But Rotherham quickly threatened a second goal through their other Newcastle loanee.

Bradford-born James Tavernier whipped a fierce free-kick over the wall but McLaughlin threw himself to the left to turn it behind. From the corner, Kari Arnason nodded against the post but he had already been penalised for a push.

Parkinson made his first change just after the hour mark with Mark Yeates, back on sub duty after a flat display at Peterborough, getting another opportunity in Thompson’s place.

Tavernier, pushed forward in the reshuffle after Vuckic went off, had another chance to bury his home-town club but blazed loosely over the bar into the travelling support.

Then he had a third try after slack play from Matthew Bates with a low shot which McLaughlin pushed round the post.

Rotherham carried all the threat as Frecklington’s low cross-shot flew across the goalmouth and Agard’s dangerous burst was cut out in the nick of time by Bates.

Joe Skarz took the Millers’ bookings to four but their grip on proceedings remained unruffled.

Reid was a shadow of the second-half menace at Peterborough, with Wells another passenger. McBurnie looks a prospect but this was a difficult test for him and he made way for Alan Connell late on.

Parkinson even resorted to the Peter Taylor tactic of throwing on Luke Oliver as an emergency centre forward for the final stages.

Five minutes of stoppage time offered hope of another dramatic climax to rival Coventry and Leyton Orient but, like the previous 90, Rotherham negotiated the extra minutes without a hint of trouble.

Attendance: 18,218

Comments (11)

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8:27am Fri 27 Dec 13

What's my name says...

No plan B
No plan B What's my name

9:09am Fri 27 Dec 13

garyh1 says...

Plan B was launch it at Thompson instead of James Hanson !
We are playing the 2nd division football now and everyone else is turning up for a pretty easy 3 points , and selling our best won't make it any better , let's just re build for next year and get rid of the fringe players who give us nothing . invest mr chairman !!!!!!
CTID
Plan B was launch it at Thompson instead of James Hanson ! We are playing the 2nd division football now and everyone else is turning up for a pretty easy 3 points , and selling our best won't make it any better , let's just re build for next year and get rid of the fringe players who give us nothing . invest mr chairman !!!!!! CTID garyh1

9:12am Fri 27 Dec 13

bettyswollocks says...

This reporter can't even get simple facts right. When McLaughlin saed their freekick I went out for a throw in, not a corner.

Anybody who was lucky enough not to be at the game and is relying on this report to tell them what happened, take this with a pinch of salt and read the width of a post report if you want the true facts.
This reporter can't even get simple facts right. When McLaughlin saed their freekick I went out for a throw in, not a corner. Anybody who was lucky enough not to be at the game and is relying on this report to tell them what happened, take this with a pinch of salt and read the width of a post report if you want the true facts. bettyswollocks

10:10am Fri 27 Dec 13

Craig1985 says...

At the end of the day we have no one to blame but ourselves, when we can even pass the ball around how are we going to beat a very good inform Rotherham? We were lucky they were having a bad day and could only score once, it could easily of been 6 or 7.
Our team may as well of stayed in the changing room for 2nd half Thompson is useless how he keeps getting picked over yeates I don't know, wells did nothing all game again, jones was terrible for probably 80 of the 90 minutes.
Yet again we played long ball and Rotherham knew we would so we played right into their hands. When will parky try something else long ball doesn't work when it's all we do we need something else as well. We're against some good teams now we're not in league 2 anymore we need to step up a notch.
At the end of the day we have no one to blame but ourselves, when we can even pass the ball around how are we going to beat a very good inform Rotherham? We were lucky they were having a bad day and could only score once, it could easily of been 6 or 7. Our team may as well of stayed in the changing room for 2nd half Thompson is useless how he keeps getting picked over yeates I don't know, wells did nothing all game again, jones was terrible for probably 80 of the 90 minutes. Yet again we played long ball and Rotherham knew we would so we played right into their hands. When will parky try something else long ball doesn't work when it's all we do we need something else as well. We're against some good teams now we're not in league 2 anymore we need to step up a notch. Craig1985

11:44am Fri 27 Dec 13

lawsonio123 says...

well any scout watching Wells over the last 2 games must have revised his value it has gone down a few grand he needs a big feeder along side of him so this alone will restrict any would be buyers he is not Prem class so that leaves Championship teams and of course less money if someone is willing to take a chance after watching the last 2 games so maybe he will stay put and get a few goals for City He was not alone others turned in poor performances and some are clearly now not up to Div 1 standard Mr Parkinson must now sort them out and get it RIGHT in time for next season
well any scout watching Wells over the last 2 games must have revised his value it has gone down a few grand he needs a big feeder along side of him so this alone will restrict any would be buyers he is not Prem class so that leaves Championship teams and of course less money if someone is willing to take a chance after watching the last 2 games so maybe he will stay put and get a few goals for City He was not alone others turned in poor performances and some are clearly now not up to Div 1 standard Mr Parkinson must now sort them out and get it RIGHT in time for next season lawsonio123

12:32pm Fri 27 Dec 13

tinytoonster says...

Craig1985 wrote:
At the end of the day we have no one to blame but ourselves, when we can even pass the ball around how are we going to beat a very good inform Rotherham? We were lucky they were having a bad day and could only score once, it could easily of been 6 or 7.
Our team may as well of stayed in the changing room for 2nd half Thompson is useless how he keeps getting picked over yeates I don't know, wells did nothing all game again, jones was terrible for probably 80 of the 90 minutes.
Yet again we played long ball and Rotherham knew we would so we played right into their hands. When will parky try something else long ball doesn't work when it's all we do we need something else as well. We're against some good teams now we're not in league 2 anymore we need to step up a notch.
one trick pony parky.
aim for a target man and pick up the scraps.
a young kid over someone who can control a ball?
connell must have banged parky's wife or summat to get overlooked so much.
then again connell likes ball on the ground and pass it about, not parky's type.
[quote][p][bold]Craig1985[/bold] wrote: At the end of the day we have no one to blame but ourselves, when we can even pass the ball around how are we going to beat a very good inform Rotherham? We were lucky they were having a bad day and could only score once, it could easily of been 6 or 7. Our team may as well of stayed in the changing room for 2nd half Thompson is useless how he keeps getting picked over yeates I don't know, wells did nothing all game again, jones was terrible for probably 80 of the 90 minutes. Yet again we played long ball and Rotherham knew we would so we played right into their hands. When will parky try something else long ball doesn't work when it's all we do we need something else as well. We're against some good teams now we're not in league 2 anymore we need to step up a notch.[/p][/quote]one trick pony parky. aim for a target man and pick up the scraps. a young kid over someone who can control a ball? connell must have banged parky's wife or summat to get overlooked so much. then again connell likes ball on the ground and pass it about, not parky's type. tinytoonster

2:18pm Fri 27 Dec 13

hepworth_123 says...

10:20pm Fri 20 Dec 13
hepworth_123 says...

Please see my comment below ,20th dec I told you folan had failed a drugs test this is why he as not had is contract extended.

Folan is not injured, tight hamstring how long does it take to heal a hamstring, I'm afraid you won't be seeing folan again. It's been hus hus, he failed a urine test for drugs.
10:20pm Fri 20 Dec 13 hepworth_123 says... Please see my comment below ,20th dec I told you folan had failed a drugs test this is why he as not had is contract extended. Folan is not injured, tight hamstring how long does it take to heal a hamstring, I'm afraid you won't be seeing folan again. It's been hus hus, he failed a urine test for drugs. hepworth_123

4:15pm Fri 27 Dec 13

Cityman23 says...

If Evans was the 'Grinch' we were certainly 'Santa Claus' GIVING the Millers every possible chance to leave 'VP' once again with the points. City are going through a bad patch of form made worse by injuries/suspensions but we've got to start grinding out draws/wins particularly at home.
If Evans was the 'Grinch' we were certainly 'Santa Claus' GIVING the Millers every possible chance to leave 'VP' once again with the points. City are going through a bad patch of form made worse by injuries/suspensions but we've got to start grinding out draws/wins particularly at home. Cityman23

3:57am Sat 28 Dec 13

TirNaNog says...

That's a bit harsh on the Grinch isn't it? Being compared to that fat, sweaty, beady-eyed pervert? I'd sue if I were the Grinch!
That's a bit harsh on the Grinch isn't it? Being compared to that fat, sweaty, beady-eyed pervert? I'd sue if I were the Grinch! TirNaNog

1:23pm Tue 31 Dec 13

pudseykid says...

bettyswollocks wrote:
This reporter can't even get simple facts right. When McLaughlin saed their freekick I went out for a throw in, not a corner.

Anybody who was lucky enough not to be at the game and is relying on this report to tell them what happened, take this with a pinch of salt and read the width of a post report if you want the true facts.
I travelled 250 miles 2 see this game...Evans team DONT play football! hence the numerous bookings. their goal was a very good one. City missed several chances, mainly in the 1st half, to score. they failed to do that..this may have been a poor display, but it played directly into the hands of a man incapable of teaching his squad "the beautiful game"...rotherham took the points simply because on the field they were school ground bully boys, which i suspect is what their manager was in his earlier years...which may explain why 3 days later his team lost 3 Nil....PP and his squad need to be better prepared for such tactics in the future..PLAY FOOTBALL..the 2nd half was a total disaster and i hope the bully boy on the touchline was happy knowing his squad were no better than nazi thugs
[quote][p][bold]bettyswollocks[/bold] wrote: This reporter can't even get simple facts right. When McLaughlin saed their freekick I went out for a throw in, not a corner. Anybody who was lucky enough not to be at the game and is relying on this report to tell them what happened, take this with a pinch of salt and read the width of a post report if you want the true facts.[/p][/quote]I travelled 250 miles 2 see this game...Evans team DONT play football! hence the numerous bookings. their goal was a very good one. City missed several chances, mainly in the 1st half, to score. they failed to do that..this may have been a poor display, but it played directly into the hands of a man incapable of teaching his squad "the beautiful game"...rotherham took the points simply because on the field they were school ground bully boys, which i suspect is what their manager was in his earlier years...which may explain why 3 days later his team lost 3 Nil....PP and his squad need to be better prepared for such tactics in the future..PLAY FOOTBALL..the 2nd half was a total disaster and i hope the bully boy on the touchline was happy knowing his squad were no better than nazi thugs pudseykid

1:26pm Tue 31 Dec 13

pudseykid says...

pudseykid wrote:
bettyswollocks wrote:
This reporter can't even get simple facts right. When McLaughlin saed their freekick I went out for a throw in, not a corner.

Anybody who was lucky enough not to be at the game and is relying on this report to tell them what happened, take this with a pinch of salt and read the width of a post report if you want the true facts.
I travelled 250 miles 2 see this game...Evans team DONT play football! hence the numerous bookings. their goal was a very good one. City missed several chances, mainly in the 1st half, to score. they failed to do that..this may have been a poor display, but it played directly into the hands of a man incapable of teaching his squad "the beautiful game"...rotherham took the points simply because on the field they were school ground bully boys, which i suspect is what their manager was in his earlier years...which may explain why 3 days later his team lost 3 Nil....PP and his squad need to be better prepared for such tactics in the future..PLAY FOOTBALL..the 2nd half was a total disaster and i hope the bully boy on the touchline was happy knowing his squad were no better than nazi thugs
final thought...i get emails from Bradford regularly...IF we are a team with a PLAN B...where was PLAN B on boxing day?...at present i would be happy to finish mid table in this league..clearly on the games i have listened to and had reports on, we are good enough, when we play, to be in this league, unlike some teams (mr evans) who clearly cant play football
[quote][p][bold]pudseykid[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bettyswollocks[/bold] wrote: This reporter can't even get simple facts right. When McLaughlin saed their freekick I went out for a throw in, not a corner. Anybody who was lucky enough not to be at the game and is relying on this report to tell them what happened, take this with a pinch of salt and read the width of a post report if you want the true facts.[/p][/quote]I travelled 250 miles 2 see this game...Evans team DONT play football! hence the numerous bookings. their goal was a very good one. City missed several chances, mainly in the 1st half, to score. they failed to do that..this may have been a poor display, but it played directly into the hands of a man incapable of teaching his squad "the beautiful game"...rotherham took the points simply because on the field they were school ground bully boys, which i suspect is what their manager was in his earlier years...which may explain why 3 days later his team lost 3 Nil....PP and his squad need to be better prepared for such tactics in the future..PLAY FOOTBALL..the 2nd half was a total disaster and i hope the bully boy on the touchline was happy knowing his squad were no better than nazi thugs[/p][/quote]final thought...i get emails from Bradford regularly...IF we are a team with a PLAN B...where was PLAN B on boxing day?...at present i would be happy to finish mid table in this league..clearly on the games i have listened to and had reports on, we are good enough, when we play, to be in this league, unlike some teams (mr evans) who clearly cant play football pudseykid

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