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Bradford Res 1 Liverpool Res 7 Aug 29 2002

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Bradford Res 1 LIVERPOOL RES 7

Report by Dave Usher at Odsal



Scorer(s) - Milan Baros (4), Gregory Vignal, Markus Babbel, Neil Mellor

Half Time - 4-0

Venue - Odsal Stadium

Date - Thu 29 Aug 2002

Star Man - Milan Baros













Four goals from Milan Baros ensured Hughie McAuley's reserves maintained their 100% start to the season with their annual rout of poor old Bradford at Odsal Stadium. (Incidentally, the signs outside Odsal proclaimed that this is "The home of the Bradford Bulls - The People's Team!!!" Some mistake surely?)


The reds fielded a very experienced line up, much like at Chester a few weeks ago, but this time they actually delivered the goods. There was only one change from the side that lost to the Conference outfit at the Deva Stadium, with Neil Mellor in for Vladimir Smicer, but the contrast in the performances are reflected in the scorelines.


Jari Litmanen was originally named in the side at number seven, but as the players came out to warm up (wearing last years white away shirt, along with Bradford shorts and socks!!) there was no Jari and Mellor was wearing seven. With the transfer deadline day looming large, it didn't take a genius to figure out that something was afoot with Jari, and I'm delighted for him that he's returning 'home.' At least he knows he'll be appreciated there. Good luck Jari, it's been a pleasure watching you.


There was also no place in the squad for Bernard Diomede, so hopefully he's preparing to pack his bags too, although quite who would have him I don't know.


Markus Babbel and Jamie Carragher both took their places in the back four, and the sooner one of them is restored to the right back slot in the first team the better. Markus' was excellent tonight, particularly in the first half, when he made several of his trademark forward surges. He even got his name on the scoresheeet, with a towering header from a Berger corner on the stroke of half time.


If I was to do a complete run down on the game, mentioning all the goals and near misses, I'd be here all day, so I think I'll just stick to the goals and a very brief rundown of other incidents.


The opening half an hour was actually a fairly even contest believe it or not. The reds shaded it, but the home side had a few openings of their own, and should have taken the lead through former Hearts man Juanjo, who found the side netting when he really ought to have scored.


Salif Diao had made an impressive start, and almost opened the scoring with a fine header, which was well saved by Nicky Beach in the Bradford goal. Then Mellor saw a smart shot well stopped by the home keeper.


The pressure was starting to build, and it the only surprise was it took so long for Liverpool to eventually make the breakthrough. When they did, it was a fine move and excellent finish by Baros. Biscan made space for himself on the right by eluding a couple of challenges, and Berger made a surging run into the inside right channel. Igor slipped him the ball, and Paddy cut back onto his left foot before picking out his compatriot in the area with a pinpoint cross. Baros met it with a sweet volley which found the bottom corner.


Number two arrived shortly after, and again it was Baros who was the scorer. Cheyrou struck a free kick into the wall, and the ball dropped to the Czech youngster, who finished smartly from eighteen yards out.


The five minute period before half time was full of incident, with two goals a very near miss and a ridiculously wild challenge from Diao which almost started a mini-brawl!


bradfordreport2.jpgDiao was very lucky to stay on the pitch, after the type of challenge which was last seen in the Cameroon / Argentina game in the 1990 World Cup!! Juanjo had tricked his way past the big Senegalese midfielder, who saw the red mist and just hacked the legs from under him. It's hard for me to do justice to this incident, as it's not the kind of foul you see that often in professional football.


You know when you're playing footy on the park, and some little lad (who you know you could fight if it turned nasty!) runs past you and makes you look daft, and you just take a big fucking swing at him and boot him as hard as you can, without even the slightest concern for where the ball is? Well that's what Salif did to Juanjo, and it was absolutely hilarious.


But some of the Bradford lads understandably didn't take kindly to it, although Jorgenson is a very lucky boy that Markus dragged him away before he bit off more than he could chew. You don't want to pick a fight with Big Salif. As funny as it was, I doubt if GH would have been laughing if the ref had produced a red card, which he would have been quite entitled to do in truth. Luckily for Diao, he was lenient.


Stephen Warnock almost added a third when he started and almost finished a wonderful counter attacking move. Collecting the ball on the edge of his own area he swept out a glorious ball to Baros down the right wing. Baros held it up til support arrived through the ever willing Berger, who crossed to the back post for the incoming Vignal. Greg did well to knock the ball back into the centre, where Warnock had continued his run and met the ball with a diving header. Unfortunately it went straight at the home keeper.


The reds didn't have to wait long for the third goal though, as Paddy's defence splitting pass saw Vignal charging through from left back. Greg met the ball with a nonchalant strike with the outside of his left boot past the onrushing keeper and into the bottom corner. Brilliant.


Within seconds it was four, and again Berger was the provider. First it was his shot which was tipped over for a corner, which he himself took, and planted right on the head of the incoming Babbel. A thumping header left the keeper helpless, and it's so nice to see Markus looking like his old self again.


Berger was the architect of virtually everything at this point, and was looking like the Berger of old, although the poor quality of opposition has to be taken into consideration. Paddy started on the left, but was popping up everywhere, and was the reds' most influential performer in the first half.


He was quieter in the second half, where it was Baros and Mellor who were the main tormentors of the beleaguered Bradford rearguard. With goals there for the taking, it would have been a major shock if the prolific Mellor hadn't got his name on the scoreshhet, and the second half was only a few minutes old when he did just that. Diao released Vignal down the left, and Greg produced a wonderful cross which Mellor headed home with customary aplomb.


Diao and Cheyrou were replaced on 64 minutes by Partridge and Welsh, and the two young subs combined to make goal number six for Baros. Welsh played in Richie down the right wing, and he unselfishly laid the ball square for the young Czech to complete his hat-trick.


Diao had been impressive, aside from that ludicrous foul, and Cheyrou had shown some lovely touches and a good range of passing, even if he wasn't in the game quite as much as you'd expect. He's got bags of talent, and once he settles he could be a very useful player for us.


Goal number seven arrived when a mix up in the Bradford defence allowed Mellor to touch the ball on for Baros who easily slotted home for his fourth. He could, and perhaps should, have finished with seven or eight goals to his name, as he missed a few easy chances, including a late one on one when Mellor had again sent him clear.


The partnership seems to be developing well though, and both players were looking to link up with eachother whenever possible. Initially, Baros seemed a bit reluctant to pass to Mellor (as does Berger I have to say), but as the game wore on and Mellor was creating openings for Baros, the Czech seemed keen to repay the favour, and it has the makings of a prolific partnership.


Baros has to be the star man for grabbing four goals, but everyone played well, and it just shows what they can do when the attitude is right. Kirkland hardly had anything to do, but was beaten by a thirty yard rasper from Craig Fishlock, as the home side managed to at least get a consolation. Some wag then yelled out "Come on Bradford, we can still win this"



TEAM: Chris Kirkland; Markus Babbel, Jamie Carragher, Stephen Warnock, Gregory Vignal; Igor Biscan, Salif Diao (John Welsh), Bruno Cheyrou (Richie Partridge), Patrik Berger (Daniel Sjolund); Neil Mellor, Milan Baros:



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