Exeter City make the long trip to Bradford on Saturday hoping to stretch the unbeaten run to 12. Ahead of the journey to West Yorkshire, we first travel back to 2013 for City’s last victory over the Bantams.
Jed Penberthy reports on the classic encounter between the two sides when John O’Flynn, Scot Bennett and Lawson D’Ath all netted for the Grecians.
Exeter City 4-1 Bradford City
St James Park, 16/03/2013
The old cliché goes that both teams have to play on the boggy pitch, but the conditions certainly did not favour the ex-Premier League outfit for their first visit to St James Park in four years.
Exeter hadn’t scored in the last two outings prior to the arrival of recent League Cup Finalists. Stalemates against Gillingham and Fleetwood forced Paul Tisdale into two changes attacking minded changes.
John O’Flynn came in for the rested Jamie Cureton, and Matt Oakley was dropped in favour of debutant loanee Lawson D’Ath from Reading.
Rory McArdle sat on the Bradford bench, along with top scorer Nahki Wells.
Within ten minutes City finally broke their two-game duck. Exeter forced a corner on the right-hand side. Left footed Craig Woodman trundled over to take. The full back whipped the ball underneath Matt Duke’s crossbar and the goalkeeper struggled and strangely flapped the home side into a one-nil lead.
On 22 minutes, James Hanson broke into the Exeter box but before he could pull the trigger, was expertly denied by Kevin Amankwaah’s last ditch challenge before Danny Coles cleared to safety.
On the stroke of half time Scot Bennett picked the loose ball in midfield. The ball found its way to Mark Moseley by the corner flag. The forward cut back and played Aaron Davies. The Welshman’s clip fell nicely toward the back post, for Lawson D’Ath to nod home a debut goal and celebrate with a Klinnsman-esque dive in front of the Big Bank.
Despite a double change from the visitors at the break, the second half began in the same vein. Neither team could really implement their passing style of play.
Paul Tisdale believed that his side played the conditions sensibly, but they couldn’t keep out Kyel Reid on 79 minutes, who flicked a goal back for the visitors after a corner.
Exeter made the points safe six minutes from time with a beauty.
Davies again found room around the Bradford box. His pass found Craig Woodman who steered the ball into the path of John O’Flynn. The Irishman “Cruyff-ed” the centre back before laying the ball on a plate for Bennett, who powered the ball through the hands of Duke and into the roof of the net from 25 yards.
On 89 minutes, Exeter ‘cherried the iced cake’ as John O’Flynn got in on the act. Late pressure from Bradford trying to scramble a way back into the game again left the Bantams short-changed at the back. Jimmy Keohane marauded forward with the ball and ample options.
He laid the ball kindly for Mark Moseley’s whose cross-come-shot was stabbed in at the far post by O’Flynn for three points and a happy weekend for Grecians supporters.
The result only temporarily dented Phil Parkinson’s promotion hopes, as the Bantams would top an already historic year with a 3-0 victory over Northampton in the play-off final. The spoils on this day however belonged to Exeter. A complete performance from the Grecians who’d finish the season strongly in 10th.
Exeter City: Krysiak, Woodman, Baldwin, Coles, Amankwaah, D’Ath (Keohane 63’), Bennett, Molesley, Gosling (Tully 80’), Davies, O’Flynn.
Unused: Evans, Moore-Taylor, Dawson, Bauza, Cureton
Bradford City: Duke, McHugh, Davies, Nelson, Darby, Atkinson, Doyle (Reid 46’), Jones, Connell, Hanson, Thompson (Hines 46’).
Unused: McLaughlin, McArdle, Meredith, Ravenhill, Wells.
Referee: Graham Salisbury