It was a different kind of win for United on Saturday afternoon as they battled hard to earn their points, courtesy of a third goal for new arrival Rhys Bennett.
Speaking about the win after the game boss Chris Beech said: “I wouldn’t say it was a great performance, it was definitely dogged, and determined.
“There were some elements of great counter-attacking but some pretty wasteful decisions to make it a bit easier for us. Jon Mellish kept playing to the heels of our running players, it was like passing the baton and dropping it!
“They did well, much better second half, won more ball in the middle and we had a lot of shots. But Bradford did well, I thought they’re playing better than a team that would be associated with where they are in the league.
“Their players were determined and that made it hard for us. But you have to beat teams, different opposition in different ways, and it was a scruffy goal but we got the goal that counted.”
On the manner of the victory, he told us: “I think what happened in the first half, we tried to play too many short passes that feel good, because you’re keeping the ball, but you’re not passing for a purpose.
“Second half we did better, which gives more determination and energy to players that have it, which ends with more goal threats. There were some great strikes off Danny Devine, some swivel shots off Jon, and I don’t know how Aaron Hayden didn’t manage to see where the ball is bobbling between his legs just to toe it over a yard to make it two.
“The lad kept going and credit to them, without doubt. To come to a place like this, very good, to keep a clean sheet and win. Bradford made it very difficult.
“We needed to up or game in the second half. We played the ball forward quicker and better, which puts people on the back foot, and in turn we get on our front foot and end up dominating areas of the pitch much more.
“I know Elliot Watt well, and that takes away his opportunity to control a game. In the first half he didn’t control it, but did have a say in it. Second half it takes away that power from him and enhances ours.
“Elliot’s a good player, he did ever so well for us last season, I know he’ll be feeling it because he’s a conscientious lad. He’ll be feeling it now, but if he keeps going and Bradford do, they’ll get away from it.”
A feature of the good run the Blues have been on in recent weeks has been the way players have been able to step up whenever they’ve been called upon, without even a blink of an eyelid.
“Dean Furman comes in and plays almost a full 90 and he was very good,” the gaffer commented. “He set the goal up with his cross. Good ball in, but I just wanted that midfield to play against their opponent better, and they did second half.
“Dean was further up the pitch, hence what happens. Sometimes you have to teach old dogs a few new tricks. Sometimes you have to do that. What’s great about Dean and the rest of the players is they listen and try and implement.
“If they don’t and start becoming challenging, you’re not going to have a product that services positive results. That’s why half time was great. We could share information and get on our plan, and the lads implemented it.
“Danny Devine is another who has come in and made an impact. He was a real goal threat second half. I can’t remember him shooting in the first, which goes to show the difference in how we played.
“I thought the one he caught really well was in, he really struck it cleanly. To be fair to their goalkeeper, who’s experienced, he made a few quality saves on snapshots from distance. Rhys got free for the goal, so well done Rhys.
“What I’ll do, and it’s right in working life in my opinion, is if you’ve earned your right and opportunity arises for you, I’ll forgive certain things in that to make sure you have a chance to keep going.
“It’s important all the players in the dressing room including the young ones know they’ve got a chance. The bar’s risen. Somebody like Taylor Charters hasn’t come on as much as he did last year, I started utilising him, it’s because the bar’s gone up, they have to come to meet it.
“He is definitely better than he was last year, along with others, and I’m sure if they keep working hard they’ll get the chance as well.
“It’s important if you’re someone like Joe Riley, done absolutely nothing wrong, and at the same part can keep doing right, because that will be rewarded as a group of people. If we all work together like that we’ve got a chance of difference and still be ok moving forwards, rather than it’s different and if we go on some sort of losing or negative situation.
“I think if the players work really hard out of the team, when they come in they can take us up another level.”
And on the current injury situation, he said: “Callum Guy is fine. It wasn’t a muscle injury, it was just a little bit of discomfort, but he’s ok now. He’s had a bit of a rest but it’s good news because he’s been playing excellently. It’s great for us to have him back.
“For Brennan, he’s getting closer. It’s the anniversary of his dad passing so he’s gone down south to spend time with his family, and hopefully they all get through that as best as they can.
“He was out on the snow with us Friday and he looked like he was training for a bobsleigh team, he was moving that well. It’s all good news.”
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