City 0 Wimbledon 4

VALLEY Parade's music man let his frustrations get the better of him as 'We're on the road to nowhere' blasted out for those who had remained to the bitter end.

It may have been a misjudged attempt at gallows humour – and one which earned a rocket behind the scenes.

But the Talking Heads tune put an apt seal on a dire afternoon which rekindled dark memories of the worst days in League Two.

This was not the vibrant, upwardly-mobile City that we have grown accustomed to year on year since Phil Parkinson finally gave the club a shake.

This was not the arena where last season many came and nobody conquered.

This was not the Stuart McCall team that have set up almost permanent residence in a play-off position since he returned.

It is hard to recall such a depressing occasion since those horrible times when the likes of Dagenham, Barnet and Hereford would turn up and fill their boots.

There was so much wrong with Saturday it is almost impossible to know where to start.

Ropey defending – Rouven Sattelmaier and Nathaniel Knight-Percival will have had nightmares watching the highlights – will rightly top the list. Wimbledon's forwards must have thought they had won the lottery.

Midfield was no better as the visitors' three completely out-scrapped their City counterparts.

Jake Reeves and Nicky Law both had shockers – but did that still justify the ironic cheers when both were substituted?

Whatever the anger at the performance, it left a very uncomfortable taste in the mouth to hear such public mocking for a team currently clearly so low on confidence.

There was also the sight of McCall being ordered into the main stand by referee Geoff Eltringham for catching assistant James Mainwaring with his outstretched right arm.

The City boss claimed he was protesting with arms wide after the assistant did not flag for a foul right in front of him – and Mainwaring ran into it.

Yet McCall's banishment to the steps of the Press box added to the growing sense that so much is going wrong this month.

A post-match chat with chairman Edin Rahic assured the Bantams boss that his position remains unaltered, despite the club's worst losing run for over a decade.

But these still appear deeply uncertain times at a club who have built their progress in recent years on stability.

It was only a few weeks ago that Rahic was talking about a possible shot at the top two. January has completely pulled the rug from under those lofty ambitions.

A month that began with the unsatisfactory departure of Luke Hendrie from the team hotel at Yeovil, the uncertainty over Tony McMahon, the wait for action in the transfer window, will end on the back of a fifth successive defeat.

Suddenly that League One play-off place that appeared carved in stone is in very real danger of disappearing as rivals sit ready to pounce.

Very soon, City could be in the position of chasing – something they have struggled to do in games when falling behind.

Saturday was just the latest example of conceding first and being unable to claw their way back.

The pre-match playlist had hit the right note with a rendition of 'Pressure Drop' as the team came out to warm up.

But you begin to fear when even one of the nine-year-old mascots, when asked for a prediction on the microphone, came back with a 1-1 draw. Then again, we would have taken that ahead of what was to follow.

McCall had talked since the Rotherham debacle of Saturday being a "must-win" occasion and making sure the players "did their talking on the pitch".

Without the width provided by the injured Alex Gilliead, he threw three up front to match Wimbledon's trio of bruisers at centre half. None of them got a sniff.

The Dons also snapped at heels and covered every scrap of mud – blade of grass might be stretching it with Valley Parade these days – to boss the battle in the middle of the pitch.

And up front, they took full advantage of the gaping holes in a back four where indecision was final.

Adam Chicksen battled gamely on his welcome return, while youngster Callum Guy showed enthusiasm as he filled in once more at right back, but there seemed an air of panic every time Wimbledon were near the penalty area.

Knight-Percival, such a consistent figure over the first half of the season, was culpable in the build-up to all the goals. Sattelmaier also had a game where nothing went right.

The expanding catalogue of self-inflicted blows soon increased with the visiting opener.

Knight-Percival gave a ball up thinking it was going out, only for Lyle Taylor to brush past him and cut back for Jimmy Abdou to shoot through the despairing Sattelmaier.

Arguments about whether the ball went out of play, and TV replays suggested it was not fully over the line, could not excuse the statuesque reaction in the defence.

City needed a spark after a poor first half and thought they had it soon after the restart.

Paul Taylor's shot was flicked on by Matt Kilgallon and Dominic Poleon applied the decisive touch against his old club.

The ground rocked, the music blasted, City trotted excitedly back to the halfway line – and Wimbledon descended on the referee.

He was persuaded to consult the assistant and then ruled it out for offside. It was nearly a minute later.

McCall queried it with the ref afterwards and was told the call had been made by Mainwaring from the other side of the pitch.

The officials probably did get it right – but the way they went about it, allowing Wimbledon's loud complaints to force such a belated change of heart, looked dreadful.

Injustice seethed but Wimbledon quickly doused that with a soft second goal. Cody McDonald turned Knight-Percival and Andy Barcham squeezed a bobbly shot past Guy and through Sattelmaier's legs.

McCall introduced Kai Bruenker and Matty Lund, two of the cavalry, but City swiftly found themselves even further in trouble.

McDonald swatted Knight-Percival off a bouncing ball before cutting inside for an effort that crawled apologetically under Sattelmaier's right hand for number three.

McCall had vacated the dugout, and several hundred had left the stadium, by the time McDonald completed the humiliation as he got away from Knight-Percival to score another. Four shots on target for Wimbledon yielded four goals.

Schoolboy stuff – but that's probably being unfair on schoolboys.