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Club News

Report: Town 2-1 Bradford

24 February 2015

Club News

Report: Town 2-1 Bradford

24 February 2015

TOWN beat Bradford City by two goals to one, thanks to Massimo Luongo’s first half brace, writes Adrian Smith.

The Robins were made to fight hard for their three points after a defensive slip gifted Bradford’s Billy Clarke his goal in the 54th minute the win moves Mark Cooper’s team onto 60 points from 32 matches.

Swindon made three changes with Massimo Luongo, Raphael Rossi-Branco and Louis Thompson starting in place of John Swift, Harry Toffolo and Yaser Kasim. There was one minute’s applause before the match started in honour of Swindon Town Youth player Rhiannon Brown who passed away in January.

Swindon kicked off playing towards the Stratton Bank and made a bright start with some good passing moves which led to James Meredith being shown a yellow card for a foul in the 11th minute. Town’s bright start  almost led to Andy Williams scoring in the 14th minute when he got on the end of a powerful cross by Ben Gladwin but his effort went over the crossbar.

Gladwin then tried his luck a minute later but his effort  went well wide but shortly afterwards Gladwin squared the ball across midfield to Massimo Luongo who advanced several yards before firing past Jordan Pickford in the Bradford goal to give Town a 15th minute lead.

Gladwin was looking lively and he latched onto a great pass from Byrne on the left hand side of the area but his shot struck a defender and the ball went out for a corner and when the ball was crossed, Rossi-Branco headed over under pressure from the defence.

Louis Thompson was cautioned for a foul on the right Mark Cooper’s team now move onto 54 points from 26 games played and stay top on goal difference.

Andy Williams was denied by the woodwork in the 26th minute after outpacing the defence but his curled effort struck the upright with the keeper beaten.

Town had two corners in quick succession without being able to get a shot on goal and Bradford launched an attack downfield.

The referee Carl Berry awarded a free kick to Town 10 yards from the corner flag in front of the Arkells Stand for a foul on Louis Thompson but the resulting cross was headed away by the defence.

Swindon doubled their lead in the 34th minute through Massimo Luongo after Andy Williams had collected the ball in the penalty area and sidestepped a defender but Luongo came charging in and fired a hard low shot to the right of Pickford.

Gary Mackenzie was shown a yellow card for an off the ball incident in the 36th minute.

Bradford were awarded a free kick in the 39th minute taken by Knott but his shot was caught by Foderingham.

Gary Liddle was cautioned for fouling Luongo in midfield after the referee had played a good advantage

James Meredith was fortunate not to be shown a second yellow for fouling Byrne in the 42nd minute but the referee chose to give him a long lecture with the Bradford captain called over to listen.

Town had two corners in quick succession at the end of the first half which were cleared and there was a rare foray in the home penalty area for Bradford which was cleared by Stephens.

The Robins left  the field to good applause at half time in appreciation of a good attacking first half.

Bradford manager Phil Parkinson made one substitution at half time replacing Meredith, who had been fortunate to escape a red card, with former Town player Alan Sheehan.

Bradford started the second half with more purpose and earned a corner in the 52nd minute which led to Foderingham gathering a shot from close range.

Town pressed the self destruct button in the 54th minute when Luongo’s interception on halfway only gifted the ball to an opponent 40 yards from goal and he crossed into the penalty area where Nathan Thompson’s weak clearance gifted the ball to Billy Clarke who gleefully fired home.

Massimo Luongo was clearly seeking a hat trick and he collected the ball from Byrne before firing goalwards but the keeper made a superb fingertip save to push the ball over for a corner and when that was taken, the ball was cleared long for Bradford to attack but Gladwin cleared the danger.

Nathan Byrne went on a one man mission of his own taking on several defenders before firing just over the crossbar in the 61st minute.

Jon Stead was lectured by the referee for a late challenge but no yellow card was shown.

Bradford were counterattacking quickly now and Foderingham was forced to tip the ball over for a corner which was cleared.

Town enjoyed a good period of possession with several players involved before Gladwin found himself with space but his cross flew high and wide and out of play and the momentum was lost.

Bradford replaced Burke with Mark Yeates  and Stead with Francois Zoko in the 75th minute in an effort to try and get something from the match.

Nathan Thompson was cautioned in the 80th minute for a late challenge and at the other end Town were unfortunate not to have a free kick when Williams was fouled.

Nathan Byrne went on another mazy run covering 80 or more yards and into the penalty area before shooting wide of goal.

Both sides were pushing hard for the next goal and Bradford went close in the 90th minute but the  referee penalised them for a push by Liddle.

Ben Gladwin was replaced by Toffolo early in the 3 minutes of added time and there was just time for a yellow card for former Town loanee Stephen Darby after a late challenge on Stephens.

The final whistle was greeted with a great roar of relief from the majority of the County Ground faithful as the Robins got their promotion push back to winning ways.

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