Sorry Stevenage suffer tough day on the road at Bradford

Luke Norris went close for Stevenage in the first half at Bradford City.

Luke Norris went close for Stevenage in the first half at Bradford City. - Credit: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO

Stevenage suffered a bad day on the big stage as their trip to Bradford City ended in a heavy loss.

The well-supported Bantams had Valley Parade rocking as a double from Andy Cook and one for Tyreik Wright gave them a  3-0 success and a second defeat of the League Two campaign for Boro.

This was not a good performance, their worst of the season so far, as they were out-fought, out-thought and out-hustled by Mark Hughes.

But while there were worrying signs, not least their struggles down the flanks, one game should not disrupt what had been their best ever start to a Football League campaign.

What they cannot afford to do though is allow this to fester. Fix the problems and come back stronger.

Steve Evans made two changes from the side that beat Newport County on Tuesday, both in the wing-back position.

Luther James-Wildin and Saxon Earley came in with Kane Smith and Max Clark dropping down to the bench.

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Whatever the plan though, it was the wide positions that caused Boro the most problems in the first period and it was from where Bradford took the lead after just six minutes.

Dan Sweeney and James-Wildin were left looking at each other as a ball down the Bradford left got Tyreik Wright in behind the defenders.

He checked before the ball was crossed, Scott Banks getting the flicked header but Taye Ashby-Hammond alert to it and tipping it over for a corner.

But if that was a wake-up call, then all Boro did was hit the snooze button as the corner was laid on a plate for Cook to flick across the keeper and into the far corner.

It was a simple goal and not a great example of how good Stevenage usually are in the air.

That same left wing also brought another golden chance for the striker.

This time it was Harry Chapman who wriggled clear of James-Wildin and delivered a low cross that Cook stabbed towards goal.

Ashby-Hammond made a block to that one and then snatched the rebound as Cook tried to poke it home.

The other flank was almost as profitable when Banks crossed low but when Wright swung a right boot at it, it bounced off his standing foot and he couldn't force the loose ball in.

Boro did have a good spell but didn't take any of the chances that came their way.

Luke Norris came the closest, latching onto a Carl Piergianni knock down but he could only lift the ball over Harry Lewis in the Bradford goal and then wide of the far post.

Jamie Reid had a couple of sights as well but both of them ended with a poorly connected shot not troubling the keeper.

One thing they had done well was quieten the 16,000-plus crowd after the great start.

A few infringements got the home support vocal again before a foul throw by Earley got them even louder.

That noise was cranked up further by Boro assistant manager Paul Raynor talking himself into a booking a few minutes later, still complaining about it.

The Boro players also started to look flustered and two minutes later Bradford doubled their lead.

It again came down the Boro right with a cross taking out Ashby-Hammond and leaving Cook with the simple task of bundling it into the empty net.

Eight minutes later it as game over altogether as again Boro looked soft down down that flank.

This time it was Wright cutting in and being allowed to shoot, the deflection in the crowd putting it beyond the Boro keeper.

Substitutions came but bar a lot of huff and puff, there was what looked like a lack of belief in their attacking play and it never looked like they would mount even the slightest of comebacks.

There was one downside for the home side, Brad Holliday sent-off on 89 minutes for two yellow cards, both times fouling Earley.

It didn't stop there being an almighty roar at the final whistle though.


Stevenage: Ashby-Hammond, James-Wildin, Reeves, Piergianni, Sweeney, Norris (Rose 60), Roberts, Vancooten, Gilbey, Reid, Earley.

Subs (not used): Chapman, Clark, Taylor, Campbell, Smith, Read.

Booked: Raynor (bench) 54, Roberts 81


Bradford City: Lewis, Halliday, Platt, Smallwood, Cook (Oliver 77), Gilliead, Banks (Sutton 67), Foulds, Odusina, Chapman (Songo'o 67), Wright.

Subs (not used): Doyle, Angol, Young, Harratt.

Goals: Cook 6, 56, Wright 62

Booked: Halliday 36, 89

Sent-off: Halliday 89


HT: Bradford City 1 Stevenage 0

Referee: Lee Swabey (Plymouth)

Attendance: 16,917 (147 from Stevenage)