Manchester City v Bradford 2001/02

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Nationwide Division One

16th December 2001

Attendance 30,749

City Mettomo(36), Horlock(58), Wright-Phillips(64)
Bradford Dunne(15 o.g.)

City Nash, Mettomo, Wiekens, Dunne, Wright-Phillips, Benarbia, Etuhu, Edghill, Horlock, Huckerby Goater – used subs Haaland(78), Wanchope(67), Ritchie(85), Whelan(unused), Weaver(unused)

Bradford Davison, Halle, Caldwell, Myers, Emanuel, Jess, Makel, Sharpe, Etherington, Ward, Blake – subs Tod(47), Juanjo(83), Molenaar(unused), Jorgensen(unused), Walsh(unused)


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Mettomo is miraculous at both ends

 Manchester City missed rather too many simple chances to make this victory over Bradford City totally satisfactory, but maintaining their second place in the First Division was important to keep the momentum high going into Christmas and the new year. Bradford, lacking a number of midfielders, including Stuart McCall, had taken the lead in the 15th minute when, after a needless Kevin Horlock foul, Ashley Ward went up for a Lee Sharp free-kick only to mistime his jump fractionally.

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Fortunately for him Richard Dunne’s timing and direction were perfection for an own-goal that might be described as City- esque, although most were initially convinced Ward had provided the finishing touch. When Aidan Davison pushed away Richard Edghill’s rising cross-shot, after neat work by Ali Benarbia, the suspicion grew that this might not be City’s afternoon.

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 They kept pressing forward but neither Shaun Goater nor Darren Huckerby troubled a Bradford defence that is the poorest in the division outside those at the bottom. The Maine Road crowd fell quiet. Horlock wasted a clear chance to equalise, before Lucien Mettomo popped up for his first goal for the club.

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Sharpe fouled Benarbia, whose inswinging free-kick was met perfectly by Mettomo’s head. “I think in the end we deserved to win. We missed a lot of chances but at least we created them, so we got it half right,” said Kevin Keegan. “Mettomo gets better with every game. His goal was important but he also cleared a couple of the line.” Unfortunately for City the Cameroon player will be missing next month when he goes to the African Nations Cup.

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Keegan had injury problems of his own, with Eyal Berkovic and Danny Tiatto out. Shaun Wright-Phillips looked uncomfortable in the left-wing-back position but kept his head nicely to score his team’s third goal after a stunning volley by Horlock, direct from Benarbia’s corner, had put the home side ahead 13 minutes into the second half. All four goals were from set pieces, with Benarbia providing two telling corners and a free-kick.

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“We don’t tell Ali what to do at set pieces, he tells us,” said Keegan, who singled out Horlock, recently linked with Crystal Palace, for special praise. Horlock now looks set to play an important part in City’s promotion challenge. Bradford’s manager Jim Jefferies was frustrated by his team’s defensive frailties. Going forward his team often looked more incisive and imaginative than the home side but at the back they were poor. STEPHEN BIERLEY WRITING FOR THE GUARDIAN 17TH DECEMBER 2001


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