Momentum Builds as Bantams Defeat Walsall

Derek Adams’ side beat Walsall 2-1 thanks to a late penalty from former Walsall man Andy Cook. The win means Bradford have picked up ten points from five games in 2022, their best run of form since the opening month of the season.

Within the opening three minutes, Walsall created the first big opportunity of the game. Jack Earing managed to find himself in acres of space on the right flank for the home side, before pulling the ball back across Bradford’s goal. The ball fell perfectly for former Bantam loanee George Miller just six yards, but he somehow fluffed his lines, and failed to test Alex Bass in City’s goal.

Just four minutes later, Bradford had a great opportunity of their own. The ball was played across Walsall’s penalty area, and eventually Jamie Walker played a pass to Liam Ridehalgh. The City left back strook the ball sweetly, but Carl Rushworth was able to save. However, Rushworth parried the ball into the path of Alex Gilliead, but the Bradford winger rushed his effort, firing straight at the Walsall ‘keeper.

After the end-to-end start to the game, the game had slowed down. Although, on the half hour mark, Walsall looked to counter following a loose pass by Paudie O’Connor. Brendan Kiernan broke forward, and picked out Joss Labadie on the edge of City’s area. Labadie shot the ball first time, but City debutant Alex Bass produced a finger tip save to deny the Walsall midfielder.

Bass’ save proved crucial, as in their next attack, City took the lead. After some smart work by Alex Gilliead and Liam Ridehalgh on the left, Matty Daly received the ball on the edge of the home side’s box. Daly decided to strike it first time, and his tame effort deflected past a hopeless Rushworth to the joy of the away fans behind the goal.

In the final action of the first half, Walsall missed another guilt-edge opportunity. The home side kept the attack alive after City initially cleared a corner. Donervon Daniels headed the ball back across goal, which Conor Wilkinson headed towards goal from just two yards out. Wilkinson thought he had equalised, but Alex Bass somehow scrambled across goal to deny Walsall again.

However, ten minutes into the second half, Walsall did get an equaliser, in fortunate circumstances. Zak Mills attempted a volley from the edge of the area, but he could only fire his effort at George Miller. Although, Miller’s touch wrong-footed Alex Bass, and helped direct the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

Frustration was growing amongst the travelling supporters, but with five minutes left, City were awarded a penalty for handball. Former Walsall striker Andy Cook stepped up and made no mistake from the spot, ferociously striking the ball straight down the middle, securing victory for the Bantams.

Whilst it wasn’t a pretty performance, Derek Adams and City fans will be pleased that their side is finally building momentum. After many good performances leading to disappointing draws earlier in the season, Bradford’s luck may have changed heading into the second half of the season. Up next for Adams’ side is consecutive home games against Crawley and Leyton Orient.

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