Bradford City defender Steve Williams in peak form until late goals flatter Bolton A-listers

Williams at his best to rise to Coyle challenge

Michael Flynn congratulates Nialle Rodney on his goal

Trialist City goalkeeper Mark Howard clears the danger against Bolton

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

City 1, Bolton 4

There must be something about the sight of Owen Coyle in pre-season that brings the best out of Steve Williams.

The elegant but erratic centre half burst onto the scene two years ago in a friendly against Coyle’s Premier League-bound Burnley.

And this afternoon Williams was in imperious form again when the Scot brought his Bolton side to Valley Parade.

Tidy and confident on the ball, strong and commanding in the tackle, it was chalk and cheese from the sketchy character who faced Guiseley earlier in the week.

Against a full-strength opposition – albeit a leggy one, having only touched down from their American tour 24 hours earlier – Williams looked a class act alongside the brute strength of skipper Guy Branston.

Peter Jackson has already warned Williams that this season is make or break. The sun-baked fans yesterday got a reminder of just how good he can be on his game.

“That’s the best game I’ve seen him have since I’ve been at the club,” said Jackson.

“The last time the centre backs played together up at Guiseley, they were a little bit shaky. But they formed a good partnership yesterday.

“Obviously you’ve got the power of Guy at the back and hopefully that will rub off on Willo now.

“You look at James Hanson as well. If he can do that against (David) Wheater at the back, then he can destroy any centre half in League Two.

“Like Willo, that was one of his best games and I’ve told him that’s his standard from now on.”

Jackson had plenty to smile about after an encounter that was very easy on the eye and a lot closer than the final margin of defeat suggested.

Two late goals from A-listers Kevin Davies and Ivan Klasnic glossed Bolton’s victory unfairly for the hosts, who had played their full part in proceedings.

City created just as many opportunities, particularly from set-pieces where Chris Mitchell’s quality delivery really stood out. And how refreshing to see crosses come from City’s left wing – and from a left foot – in the shape of trialist Jack Compton.

Jackson reckons Compton’s fitness can go up a couple of notches but the former Falkirk wideman, playing his second game in three days, showed enough to be worth sticking with.

Williams, though, was the star of the show in the first half and seemed to be involved in just about everything.

He planted one header on top of the Bolton net and saw another blocked on the line by Mark Davies. Then he produced a goal-saving tackle in front of his own unguarded net to deny Darren Pratley, who had danced round Mark Howard.

The on-trial keeper got the nod for his third appearance and was at fault for Bolton’s 14th-minute opener after rushing from his goal to bring down Pratley. Howard guessed the right way with Martin Petrov’s penalty but the Bulgarian’s placement was too precise.

Driven forward by Mitchell and a determined Michael Flynn, City were well in the contest. Dominic Rowe had the best chance of an equaliser but blazed his left-footer high and wide.

Bolton doubled their advantage 20 minutes after the break. Greter Steinsson swept a long ball over Branston and Robbie Blake showed his customary poise to hold it up until Pratley was in position to sweep home.

Blake’s standing ovation from the home fans soon after was well deserved.

Simon Ramsden, equally, earned the applause for a 67-minute appearance – his first at Valley Parade since February. Two games over the weekend will have done his confidence a power of good.

Newly-arrived substitute Nialle Rodney had the crowd on their feet again within four minutes. Picking up possession 35 yards out, he brushed past Mark Connolly on a jinking run before bending a delicious shot round Adam Bogdan’s fingertips.

If Hanson and Williams have set their standard for performances, Rodney had just put the bar ridiculously high for City’s goals this season.

Hanson was close to jabbing an equaliser before Howard’s legs thwarted Petrov. But the keeper was caught in no man’s land as Kevin Davies, on for Blake, lobbed Bolton’s third.

Howard made amends with a good save from Tope Obadeyi, before Petrov picked out Klasnic for a top-notch finish from a tight angle.

It was harsh and unfair but the scoreline was pretty immaterial. City had delivered where it mattered.

City: Howard, Ramsden (Burns 67), Williams, Branston, O’Brien, Rowe, Mitchell, Flynn, Compton (Wells 80), Stewart (Rodney 67), Hanson (Hannah 82). Subs: Bullock, Brown, Lacey, Dean, McLaughlin.

Bolton: Bogdan, Steinsson, Connolly, Wheater, Alonso, M Davies (Gardner 58), Pratley, Muamba (Obadeyi 58), Petrov, Blake (K Davies 73), Klasnic. Subs: Robinson, Cahill, Knight, Lainton.

Attendance: 2,349.

Comments (9)

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7:44am Mon 25 Jul 11

spleen ventor says...

Hugely encouraging performance against a very strong Bolton team. To say the scoreline flattered the Trotters is the understatement of pre-season so far.
The game did highlight one thing...the standard of refereeing hasn't improved with the dawn of a new season!...but then, when did it ever(?)
Hugely encouraging performance against a very strong Bolton team. To say the scoreline flattered the Trotters is the understatement of pre-season so far. The game did highlight one thing...the standard of refereeing hasn't improved with the dawn of a new season!...but then, when did it ever(?) spleen ventor
  • Score: 0

8:32am Mon 25 Jul 11

al&co says...

Many positives but please 'Jacko' get a goalkeeper and make it soon!
Many positives but please 'Jacko' get a goalkeeper and make it soon! al&co
  • Score: 0

9:06am Mon 25 Jul 11

yorkiewyke says...

Sad to note the standard of refereeing
has not improved
Sad to note the standard of refereeing has not improved yorkiewyke
  • Score: 0

9:06am Mon 25 Jul 11

tyker2 says...

as a right back and left back are surplus to requirements one assumes that he is staisfied Ramsden will get a full season and that OB is going nowhere with green also coming in
as a right back and left back are surplus to requirements one assumes that he is staisfied Ramsden will get a full season and that OB is going nowhere with green also coming in tyker2
  • Score: 0

12:33pm Mon 25 Jul 11

Freddy says...

I had quite a problem trying to identify City Players. The Programme (Printed ages ago) did not match up the names or shirts. Announcements went to Bolton's Player Substitutions!.Nothi
ng on City's Players-THANKS!!.
*
Had a look at New Away Shirt-- IT IS NOT PINK!!!. IT IS CHERRY RED.- Has no hint of Claret/Amber. Stockings ALL BLACK. Surely TWO rings of Claret and Amber should be round the TOPS of the SOCKS!!.
PLUS- why can't we have irredescent shirts that GLOW . Would look good anytime, be a great road safety asset, and look fantastic under Floodlights!!!.
Also, if we clash with teams playing red or yellow- What will be the THIRD STRIP???.
*
Could not get a Team Sheet, and surely The Club could have flogged Photo Copies, into the out of date programme.
*
I did like Rowe playing in a 7 Shirt. Rodney showed great confidence. Hannah looked lost.Branston is a good General at the back.
*
The coffee tasted- a bit like coffee!!.
The Keeper -Howard was not good enough. Williams is on trial, and played a lot better.
*
Overall a good training/friendly exercise, with City learning quite a few skills and tactics, from a very slick/tight passing Bolton.
*
Finally - spent 5 Hours on Retford Railway Station, as some male person committed suicide at Grantham Tunnel.
12 Trains held-2000 people stranded through the night, whilst Police sorted their 'Crime Scene'! What a day out!.
*
I had quite a problem trying to identify City Players. The Programme (Printed ages ago) did not match up the names or shirts. Announcements went to Bolton's Player Substitutions!.Nothi ng on City's Players-THANKS!!. * Had a look at New Away Shirt-- IT IS NOT PINK!!!. IT IS CHERRY RED.- Has no hint of Claret/Amber. Stockings ALL BLACK. Surely TWO rings of Claret and Amber should be round the TOPS of the SOCKS!!. PLUS- why can't we have irredescent shirts that GLOW . Would look good anytime, be a great road safety asset, and look fantastic under Floodlights!!!. Also, if we clash with teams playing red or yellow- What will be the THIRD STRIP???. * Could not get a Team Sheet, and surely The Club could have flogged Photo Copies, into the out of date programme. * I did like Rowe playing in a 7 Shirt. Rodney showed great confidence. Hannah looked lost.Branston is a good General at the back. * The coffee tasted- a bit like coffee!!. The Keeper -Howard was not good enough. Williams is on trial, and played a lot better. * Overall a good training/friendly exercise, with City learning quite a few skills and tactics, from a very slick/tight passing Bolton. * Finally - spent 5 Hours on Retford Railway Station, as some male person committed suicide at Grantham Tunnel. 12 Trains held-2000 people stranded through the night, whilst Police sorted their 'Crime Scene'! What a day out!. * Freddy
  • Score: 0

4:09pm Mon 25 Jul 11

basil fawlty says...

Nice to see a young lad like Rowe getting games. Wouldn't have happened with the idiot (Taylor) still here as he'd already have brought in one of his old boys!
Nice to see a young lad like Rowe getting games. Wouldn't have happened with the idiot (Taylor) still here as he'd already have brought in one of his old boys! basil fawlty
  • Score: 0

4:44pm Mon 25 Jul 11

yorkiewyke says...

Agree with Freddie, if that is the away strip on display in the shop there is no sign of pink, as Freddie says it is cherry red
Agree with Freddie, if that is the away strip on display in the shop there is no sign of pink, as Freddie says it is cherry red yorkiewyke
  • Score: 0

4:48pm Mon 25 Jul 11

yorkiewyke says...

On yesterdays performance get Compton signed before some one else beats us too it
On yesterdays performance get Compton signed before some one else beats us too it yorkiewyke
  • Score: 0

7:59pm Mon 25 Jul 11

clarkybantam says...

yorkiewyke wrote:
Agree with Freddie, if that is the away strip on display in the shop there is no sign of pink, as Freddie says it is cherry red
Sure you won't looking at the new training kit ;)? Because I'm pretty sure I didn't see the new away kit in there!
[quote][p][bold]yorkiewyke[/bold] wrote: Agree with Freddie, if that is the away strip on display in the shop there is no sign of pink, as Freddie says it is cherry red[/p][/quote]Sure you won't looking at the new training kit ;)? Because I'm pretty sure I didn't see the new away kit in there! clarkybantam
  • Score: 0

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