Bantams overcome Tangerines in hard-fought encounter – Match Report

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Bradford City 2 (Knight-Percival 41, Patrick 59)
Blackpool 1 (Daniel 43)

The first game of the new season saw the visit of newly promoted Blackpool to Valley Parade to face Bradford City in what was a competitive 2-1 victory for the home side in front of nearly 21,000 fans.

In what was a lively and open first half, Blackpool were almost gifted the lead following what was an almost calamitous mistake by Bradford keeper Colin Doyle when he was unsighted by Mark Cullen’s lofted effort which resulted in him nearly palming the ball into its own net only to then brilliantly scramble across his goal to prevent it crossing the line.

Following the shocking first half injury to Bradford Debutant left-back Adam Chicksen (happily now given the all-clear), the game never really got started again until the final five minutes of the first half.

In the 41st minute, a Bradford free-kick on the edge of the area was floated in from Nicky Law and met by the out-stretched foot of Nathaniel Knight-Percival, following a flick on by midfielder Timothee Dieng, which was the defenders first goal for the club.

The hopes that Bradford would hold on to the lead until half time were dashed only two minutes later when a well-timed through ball by Blackpool’s Cullen caught the Bradford defence napping and was finished off with a neat strike into the bottom corner by Colin Daniel following a nice passing move.

Daniel’s goal no doubt felt as a just reward for Blackpool fans with forwards Mark Cullen and Kyle Vassell in particular posing a threat on several occasions in the first half only for Matt Kilgallon’s experience in reading the game showing with some excellent last-ditch interceptions to prevent Blackpool getting in behind the Bradford defence.

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In a first half where Bradford did not really get properly started, they came out for the second half as a much-improved team with notable bright displays from debutants Omari Patrick and man of the match Jake Reeves.

In fact, it was the two debutants which combined to give Bradford only their second opening day victory for many a year. A piece of individual brilliance by Reeves involving a dummy shot-come-pass set up Omari Patrick with his cool first time shot resulting in an equally impressive finish from the edge of the box to mark his first ever appearance in the football league with a goal.

Patrick really grew in confidence following his goal and linked up brilliantly with substitute and fellow debutant Dominic Poleon only to see the latter’s shot blocked by the Blackpool defence.

Although being in the lead, Bradford did not always look assured with Blackpool’s attack-minded substitutes and pressing making for a very nervy end for a side which finally got over the line to record a 2-1 victory.

Despite the defeat, there are two notable aspects that Blackpool can take from the game. The first being the performances of Cullen and Vassell which looks a very good attacking partnership to have in the league this season and is certainly one to watch; the second being that they more than matched Bradford for large spells of the game which is important for any newly promoted side hoping to compete in League One.

As for Bradford, a shaky first half performance was turned into an improved second half display with Patrick, Reeves, Kilgallon and Vincelot among others having stand out performances which only bodes well for the long season ahead. The real issue for Stuart McCall is the lack of cover in defence, which now with the injury to Chicksen, is even more important to solve.

Bradford City: Doyle, McMahon, Knight-Percival, Kilgallon, Chicksen (Dieng: 23), Vincelot, Reeves, Law, McCartan (Devine: 79), Jones (Poleon: 79), Patrick. Subs: Sattelmaier, Dieng, Poleon, Gilliead, Pybus, Devine, Hudson

Blackpool: Allsop, Robertson, Aimson, Tilt, Ryan, Turton, Cooke (Gnanduillet: 83), Daniel, Vassell (Solomon-Otabor: 69), Cullen (Osayi-Samuel: 69), Delfouneso. Subs: Williams, Taylor, Clayton, Gnanduillet, Longstaff, Solomon-Otabor, Osayi-Samuel (Source: