10th March 1992
Bradford C (a)
City pay for McCarthy's 'madness'
Bradford City 1, Exeter City 1
by RICHARD COOMBER
poople were getting back
A MOMENT of madness by Sean McCarthy five minutes after the interval probably cost Bradford City two points that would have taken them up into 16th place in the table. Instead, Exeter grabbed a heart-breaking 89th minute equaliser and City dropped one place to 19th, just two points ahead of the relegation zone. The big City striker, who had earlier been spoken to about a wildly late tackle, was sent off for an unnecessary and crude challenge on Jon Brown as the Exeter right back was guiding the ball over the byline for a goalkick. McCarthy had no chance of winning possession and with over 200 league games under his belt, City had the right to expect the Welshman to realise that the last thing they needed was to be down to ten men. On top of that their injury-hit squad will now lose his services through suspension during part of the dog fight for survival. Referee Trevor West had no option but to produce the red card though it must be said he put on the poorest display of refereeing I have seen this season. He lost control of the match in the first minute when he failed to see a bad two-footed tackle by Andy Morris that left Frank Stapleton in agony on the pitch. City players were incensed that it didn't even warrant a free kick and within a minute Lee Duxbury was booked for trying to take revenge on Morris with a Gazza-style high tackle. Skipper Robbie James soon followed him into the book for kicking the ball straight at Andy Cook after another foul had been given against his side. City dominated the first, bad- tempered 45 minutes and had their finishing matched some of their approach work, they would have been comfortably in front at the interval.
They could justifiably feel aggrieved to get only an indirect free kick inside the area when McCarthy looked to be held back by Brown just before the break. But I thought West did get it right later when he disallowed another vehement penalty appeal after Lee Duxbury sprawled over Kevin Miller after losing possession. City's ten men battled well, though one would have liked to have seen a bit more effort from a fairly anonymous Mark Stu- art and took the lead when Miller failed to hold a close range header from Stapleton following a Phil Babb free kick, leaving Paul Jewell a simple tap in. Only with 20 minutes to go did the visitors show any ambition to use their one man advantage. The excellent Cook made several raids down the left flank and put in good crosses, one of which resulted in a fierce low volley by Vince Hilaire, but Paul Tomlinson did well to get down on it quickly. As the pressure mounted, City started to lose their shape. Too many people were getting back into the box so there was no one to meet with clearances which allowed Exeter to keep pumping the ball back in. However it looked as though City would survive through stubborn resistance and a slice of the luck that has eluded them lately. But, with just over a minute to go, Paul Wimbleton swung in a corner, City couldn't get it clear and Peter Whiston smashed it into the roof of the net. It was a game City deserved to win and they have paid a big price to learn that, whatever the provocation, losing your discipline is ultimately counter productive.
BRADFORD CITY: Tomlinson, James Williams, Stuart, Blake, Babb, Duxbury. Torpey. Stapleton, McCarthy. Jewell
Subs (not used) Richards. Dowson.
EXETER CITY: Miller, Brown, Cook, Hilaire Daniels Whiston, Hodge (Cooper 62min). Wimbleton, Morris. Kelly Marshall Sub (not used) Sprod.
REFEREE: Trevor West (Hull)