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REVIEW | Wrexham AFC 0-1 Bradford City

The Bantams snatch the three points late on

11 February 2024

Feature

REVIEW | Wrexham AFC 0-1 Bradford City

The Bantams snatch the three points late on

11 February 2024

Despite a much-improved performance from Wrexham, Andy Cook seized all three points in the 90th minute for Bradford City.

On the back of three losses on the trot, home in the STōK Cae Ras was a welcome sight. 

Results and performances speak for themselves in North Wales, and so Wrexham fans would have been hoping that the wrongs would have been righted. 

The Red Dragons did indeed start with an intensity that has been missing recently, as Phil Parkinson said post-match: “I thought we were very much on the front foot all over the pitch; first half in particular.” 

Steven Fletcher made his first start after returning from injury, and it felt as though every ball that flew his way he not only won, but controlled and gave Wrexham an outlet to move forward. 

Ryan Barnett was also a feature of our attacks, finding joy down the right wing and cutting inside. The epitome of this being a delightful one-two with Paul Mullin, which saw him stab a long-ranged effort on goal to be well saved by Jamie Walker. 

In fact, all of the big chances came through Barnett, as his stepovers proved too much for the Bradford full-backs. His crosses arced slightly behind their defensive line, catching them unaware. On another day, Fletcher and Elliot Lee could have seen their resulting headers fly in.  

As the game drew on, chances dried up and the substitutions made by Parkinson sadly had little effect on the match. 

With that being said, it just felt as though there had to be a goal in this game. To the dismay of Wrexham fans, the story bowed in Bradford's direction, as referee Ben Speedie awarded a penalty to the Bantams just after the 80th minute. 

A routine cross from the away side narrowly evaded the foot of Ben Tozer on the edge of the box, allowing the ball to run through to Cook. Being tightly marked by Aaron Hayden, the number nine made his best efforts to wriggle free before falling down; a clumsy moment for the Wrexham centre back. 

Cook stepped up to take the penalty and appeared to be caught in-between two minds as to whether smash the ball down the middle or to Arthur Okonkwo’s right. Cook rolled the ball low and Okonkwo’s trailing legs denied the goal to the delight of over ten thousand Reds. 

The contentious decisions didn’t stop there though. 

In the 88th minute, Walker charged out to collect home debutant Luke Bolton’s cross and instead sprawled over the back of Matthew Platt’s back. With the goalkeeper down injured, Speedie eventually and correctly blew his whistle, but he did so when Wrexham had retained possession of the ball. 

Speedie incorrectly gave the drop-ball to Bradford City, where they then scored the winner. 

Platt’s long kick from the drop-ball was gathered by Lee, who quickly found himself under pressure from Kevin McDonald. The Bradford man continued his grapple of Lee for quite some time, before poking the ball to Cook. Speedie’s whistle never came on this instance. 

With an instinctive piece of skill, Cook was past Tozer and able to then squirm a shot at Okonkwo. The ball flicked up off the shot stopper’s chest and onto the head of the forthcoming Cook, who claimed the winner at the third time of asking.

After a heavily improved performance, it was a bitter pill to swallow for the Red Dragons, who failed to score at home in the league for the first time since since November 2021. 

The loss was underserved, but ultimately equated to a fourth in a row.  

Games coming thick and fast is a positive though, as Wrexham have a chance to end their losing run this Tuesday, as Parkinson’s men travel to London to take on Sutton United. 


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