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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Bantams 2 - 0 United

Report from the final game of the campaign

7 May 2022

United brought the curtain down on the 2021/22 season with an away trip to Valley Parade.

Dead rubber ... not a chance ... with the Blues taking close to 1,800 fans across the Pennines for the encounter. 

Both teams were safe, that was a given, but planning for the future was high on the agenda for the clubs and the individuals involved.

Lewis Alessandra was in for the injured Joe Riley, making it just one change from last weekend's home game, and Max Kilsby was on the bench following the great news that he'd signed a pro contract just 24-hours earlier. 

First-year scholar Ryan Carr - handy in defence and midfield - was also involved in the 18 with some excellent outings in recent Central League Cup fixtures.

It was an emotional build-up, with the 56 remembered with a minute of silence, but both sets of fans were soon behind their teams in noisy fashion.

Attack was the order of the day, with neither team quite managing to get a clean sight until Walker burst through with nine minutes on the clock. His initial effort was charged down, but the follow-up volley had to be gathered by Howard as it flew his way.

Ellis was on hand to sweep up when Walker came again, and there was defending for the hosts to do at the other end when Patrick twisted his way into the area. He was checked by Songo'o.

Bradford took the lead on 13 minutes when Pereira fed the ball back to Vernam. His cross found Angol on the move and the slightest of touches took it into the bottom corner.

The Blues looked for a response and a cross into the area was half-cleared as far as Ellis. He set himself for the shot but it skewed off the top of his boot and sailed over the bar.

Howard was superb as he saved a 12-yard thunderbolt from Walker after Hendrie had overlapped to deliver, and two more snapshots were stopped at source with the nets under threat.

The lively Jamie Walker missed an absolute sitter on 23 minutes when Hendrie whisked a beauty into the mix. The striker met it at close range but his connection was weak and he watched in agony as it spun past the angle of post and bar.

Gibson tried his luck from distance as the away team battled to assert some authority, but there was a scare for the Cumbrians when Howard missed a punch from a deep delivery. Vernam had the goal at his mercy but the big stopper spread his legs to get a vital touch that sent it past the upright.

A training ground corner routine saw Gibson drill the ball to Dickenson, who was unmarked, 20-yards out. He controlled, but his attempt whipped an inch over the bar. 

Carlisle should have scored when Dennis sprinted through midfield with the ball at his feet. Armer helped out, and his teaser of a cross begged to be knocked in as it skittered across the face of the target. Dennis had continued his movement but he couldn't quite find the finish.

There was controversy ahead of the break when Alessandra worked hard to ride a challenge. He moved into space and pulled the trigger, but Songo'o blocked then fell on the ball. The free kick was awarded to the home team, with the blue contingent livid at the decision.

The half-time whistle brought a minor fracas as the combatants headed for the tunnel in what was a very charged atmosphere.

A slick move down the left flank after the break saw Patrick drop a shoulder before popping it back for Gibson to take over. He went for it but Bass was able to grasp it into his hands on the full.

Another great opportunity presented itself when the blue shirts switched the play from left to right via Dennis and Patrick. Armer was clean through but he hesitated and his volley was cut off at source.

More great play saw one-touch passes bring Whelan forward. He slid it onwards for Gibson to cross but it had just too much on it and the moment drifted away.

The attendance was announced as a fourth tier record at 18,283, with 1,668 having made it into the visiting stands, and everyone was united in a minute-long round of applause in memory of the 56 souls lost 37 years ago as the 56th minute ticked by.

There were huge roars for a United penalty on 69 minutes when Dennis burst through the lines with the ball at his feet. He appeared to be bundled over, but the referee showed no interest.

Salt was rubbed into the wounds when the Bantams broke, with Walker beating the offside trap. He stroked a fierce rasper into the side of the net.

Another Carlisle chance went begging when Roberts floated the ball towards the edge of the area. Dennis jumped high but he couldn't guide his header at the target.

It was almost a great moment for teenager Jack Ellis when he stepped through two challenges before going for glory. His shot was charged down.

Howard saved from Eisa late in the day, and Mellish blocked as the same man aimed for the top corner.

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Goals

Bradford City - Angol (13), Walker (69)

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Bookings

Bradford City - Cooke (79)

Carlisle United - Whelan (56), Armer (67), Dickenson (79), Omotoye (86)

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Teams

Bradford City - Bass, O'Connor (c), Songo'o, Walker (Cooke 77), Gilliead, Foulds, Vernam (Eisa 71), Watt, Angol (Cook 64), Hendrie, Peiera. Subs - O'Donnell (gk), Kelleher, Evans, Sutton

Carlisle United - Howard, Ellis, Whelan, Feeney (c), Mellish, Armer (Roberts 70), Gibson, Alessandra, Dickenson, Patrick, Dennis (Omotoye 81). Subs - Norman, Devine, Simeu, Kilsby, Carr.

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Match officials

Referee - James Bell
Assistant Referee 1 - Grant Taylor
Assistant Referee 2 - Matthew Smith
Fourth Official - Andrew Kitchen
Observer - Mark Brown

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Attendance - 18,283 (1,668)


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