Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Bradford City: Late Bray goal fails to spoil Phil Parkinson's mood
Bray 1 Bradford City 2
Phil Parkinson isn’t usually one for glossing over little slip-ups.
But even he was prepared to cut City some slack after a late Bray goal provided the only minor blemish on an otherwise highly satisfactory afternoon in Ireland.
It was a quality finish from right back Ryan Dooney, who controlled a throw-in on his chest before half-volleying over Jon McLaughlin .
Usually the team could still expect a stern word or two from the gaffer for switching off five minutes from time.
On this occasion, though, there was only the merest hint of criticism. Parkinson felt his squad had put so much in to their week’s training camp that complaining about a late consolation would be “nit-picking.”
He said: “We got a bit scrappy towards the end but we’ll forgive the lads that on this particular occasion. The effort they have shown throughout the trip has been very good.
“It was disappointing to concede near the end but that’s a bit of nit-picking because we’d made a lot of subs .
“The lads we’d had to keep on for the full 90 minutes did look fatigued. But that was to be expected because we’ve trained really hard this week, right up to Saturday.”
Four outfield players lasted the whole game, including both centre halves as Andrew Davies was feeling under the weather.
Will Atkinson played from start to finish in midfield and claimed an assist for the first goal. Ritchie Jones, too, went the distance after missing Wexford.
Having begun with namesake Gary in City’s engine room, he switched to right back.
Stephen Darby’s first outing was restricted to half-time.
Alan Connell made his first start up front but he had to take a back seat in the goalscoring stakes.
The pre-season bragging rights remain as fierce as ever among the frontmen.
Ross Hannah and Nahki Wells kept up their record of scoring in every friendly. James Hanson fired his first blank but will be kicking himself for smashing over from close range after Atkinson’s knockdown.
Wells had the game’s first opening but was foiled by keeper Darren Quigley after Ritchie Jones put him through on the counter-attack.
But the Bermudian gave the large and boisterous away following the goal they were waiting for midway through the first half.
Atkinson slotted a neat ball through Bray’s left flank and Wells was on it in a flash to fire across the exposed Quigley.
A sudden torrential downpour sent the bulk of City’s support scurrying for the one covered stand as Gary Jones cut inside from his own corner to force a save at the near post. Then Atkinson seized on a mistake by defender Colm Tresson but over-cooked his pass for the unmarked Connell.
In a role reversal from usual, Bray made the wholesale changes at the interval. Ricky Ravenhill replaced Darby but the bulk of the switches came near the hour.
And Hannah had only been on five minutes when he received the ball with his back to goal and swivelled to drill into the corner.
It was a sharp finish from a player with the bit between his teeth – and he could have had a couple more.
Having won the race with Quigley for a through ball, he saw his goal-bound touch cleared away from in front of the line.
Then he somehow missed out on a second after forcing a spill from the keeper challenging for a corner. The ball popped off the striker’s shoulder and he reacted to the loose ball with an instinctive swing that smashed against the bar from no more than three yards.
Bray were clearly a step up from Wexford and managed a late show of defiance thanks to Dooney. But Parkinson’s week in the Emerald Isle had been well rewarded.
He said: “The discipline of the players on the trip, doing everything right, has been excellent.
“We couldn’t ask for any more from them and we’ve come back to England in good shape.”
CITY: McLaughlin, Darby (Ravenhill 46), McArdle, Oliver, Meredith (Bass 72), Baker (Reid 57), G Jones (Donnelly 72), R Jones, Atkinson, Wells (Hannah 57), Connell (Hanson 57). Sub (not used): Duke.