Match 30
3 February 1984
Bradford City (h)

'Fourth Division here we come'


Exeter City 0
Bradford City 2 
(Hawley, Gray)

Match Report by Trina Lake 

IT MAY be far too early in the season to talk of relegation for Exeter City with 20 more games to play and 60 points available. But "Fourth Division here we come " was the sorry prediction from many of the dejected City fans who streamed away from St James's Park before the end of last night's desperately disappointing defeat by Bradford City. They can see little light at the end of the tunnel and who can blame them after witnessing another City sur- render at the hands of a side they could have beaten. Confidence is again beginning to ebb away from the players as nothing they do lately seems to go right. They matched Bradford and bettered them at times last night, but when they went a goal behind, what little pattern they had shown disappeared for a crucial period and the Yorkshire side were able to take control and secure a record-breaking victory. It was Bradford's 10th league win on the trot, breaking an 84-year-old club record and an all-time league record of 14 straight wins is now within their sights. Bradford allowed themselves the luxury of leaving out fit-again ex-Wales skipper Terry Yorath, but the sad thing about City's predicament was that once again they had no options. Their threadbare squad, weakened even further by injuries, is just not equipped to cope with the task of lifting the club up the Third Division table at the moment. Player-manager Gerry Francis was watching a Western League winger today in the hope of finding at least one player to help solve his mounting problems. He has never looked so despondent after a game and fans are even asking how much longer he will endure the humiliating struggle for survival after tasting success at the very top of his profession. His steadying influence in midfield along with the pace of Peter Rogers up front were sorely missed last night. Bradford worked hard to contain City and always looked far more dangerous on the break. They were content to concede possession while City failed to create too many clear openings. A typical fierce long-range shot from Stan McEwan, well saved by goalkeeper Eric McManus, and a poorly directed Simon Webster header from corner when he a was unmarked were City's best efforts of the first half. They did have an own "goal," courtesy of Bobby Campbell, disallowed, but the Bradford striker breathed a sigh of relief when Steve Neville was ruled offside. Bradford had never really looked like scoring apart from one shot from Stuart McCall that shaved the crossbar. And the picture was the same at the start of the second half. But the match turned on a miss by new boy Roy McDonough in the 50th minute. Steve Neville, who had another fine game, found him unmarked in the penalty area, but McDonough mis-hit his shot with only the 'keeper to beat and the ball rolled tamely wide. Bradford made no such mistake with the few chances that went their way. In the 67th minute they took the lead when Gary Haire's throw was headed on by Campbell and Terry Gray nodded the ball home from inside the six-yard box. Twelve minutes later Haire avoided a reckless 'tackle from Keith Viney, who had an otherwise immaculate game on his comeback from suspension, and squared a perfect pass for John Hawley, who curled a shot superbly past Len Bond to take his tally for the season to 18.

Five players were booked. City's Neville, Webster, and Ray Pratt and Bradford player-manager Trevor Cherry and Hawley.

Exeter City:
Bond, Kirkup, Viney, McEwen, Webster, Atkinson, Ling, O'Connor, Pratt, Neville, McDonough. Sub Marker (on for Ling).

Bradford City:
McManus, Podd, Withe, Jackson, Cherry, McCall, Haire, Ellis, Gray, Hawley, Campbell. Sub Abbott (on for Ellis).

Attendance: 3,105.



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