“WHAT game were you watching?”

It is an accusation that will have been levelled at every football reporter – usually over a contentious player rating.

And often us humble hacks feel the same when we hear a manager extolling the virtues of a performance unrecognisable from the 90 minutes you have just witnessed.

I think back a couple of years to when Plymouth, bottom of League One at the time, pinched a smash-and-grab victory at Valley Parade.

The visitors scored early and then parked the bus to defy constant City pressure.

And afterwards, journalistic jaws nearly hit the floor as Argyle boss Derek Adams proudly declared that the better team had thoroughly deserved the result.

His description of proceedings did not match the notes the rest of us had been making. Stuart McCall was equally as flabbergasted when his counterpart’s version of events were subsequently relayed to him.

But football is a game of opinions, as they say, and some can see things very differently.

There can, though, be no arguing with Adams’ assessment on his most return engagement with the Bantams.

It is only a couple of weeks since the Scot was back in his latest guise as Morecambe boss for a fixture where his side could feel fairly hard done by.

The Shrimps had carried most of the attacking intent before falling to a late goal from sub Aramide Oteh with City’s only shot on target.

Clinical from a home perspective; tough to swallow for an opponent scrapping desperately to stay in the league.

But Adams made the point afterwards about the levelling of standards in the present League Two.

In his eyes, the gap between top and bottom has never been tighter – and from the evidence of City’s 26 games it is impossible to disagree.

“Anybody looking at it wouldn’t have known who was the fourth-placed team,” he said afterwards, prior to the Bantams dropping a couple of places last weekend in the claustrophobic play-off picture.

“There’s nothing in this league. In years gone by, the standard of League Two was a lot better than it is now.

“I’ve been to Bradford with Plymouth Argyle when we’ve had the likes of Portsmouth, Luton and Doncaster in this division. But the standard now isn’t the same as it was a few years ago.”

Fair to say that Adams is on the same page this time as any supporter who has sat through the often stodgy fare of this season’s fourth tier.

Look at City’s recent run and how little there has been between the teams. Leyton Orient, Carlisle, Macclesfield and Crawley have all turned up in questionable form but taken something in return.

Crawley, of course, had won only once in 13 before dismissing the off-colour Bantams on Saturday.

But that solitary success had been a 4-0 thumping of Northampton, another promotion hopeful, and they had also taken draws off Forest Green and Colchester.

“I know it sounds a real cheesy, corny phrase but there’s never an easy game,” said Gary Bowyer. “You just don’t get them anymore and that’s a credit to the league.”

The City boss agrees with Adams that it is more competitive than ever and has noticed the change since steering Blackpool up via the play-offs in 2017.

He added: “It’s a lot tougher now than it was then because of the amount of quality teams in the league and the investment in certain clubs.

“It’s such a competitive game and the teams down the bottom are fighting for their lives.

“While people will say these clubs aren’t this or that, they are dangerous opponents.

“That was the pleasing part for us during the period where we had to play one or two down there that we’ve matched the fight, Morecambe being a great example.”

Bowyer also cites the CVs of some of the managers now locked in combat at the lowest level. Ian Holloway, newly installed at Grimsby, is the latest with Championship experience like the Bantams gaffer.

“You look at some of the managers in this league and they have worked higher.

“Ian Holloway is a fantastic example going in at Grimsby. He’s managed in the Championship and Premier League.

“Paul Hurst has managed in the Championship and League One, Graham Alexander and Derek Adams have both managed in League One. That closes the gap between clubs.

“That’s down to the knock-on effect that we’ve said before.

“You’ve got all the foreign coaches coming over and working in the Premier League and Championship and what that does lower down.”

Whether it is more quantity than quality this season, League Two is likely to remain the most unpredictable battleground.