Bradford City defender Anthony O’Connor has challenged his side to rise above the stalling tactics operated by sides who take a lead at Valley Parade this season, as reported by the Telegraph and Argus.
Northampton Town led for much of their fixture in Bradford this weekend, taking a 20th-minute lead through Charlie Goode. As the minutes ebbed away, they attempted to break up the flow of the game, a tactic which backfired after Bradford levelled and grabbed a late winner.
In recent weeks, both Forest Green Rovers and Cambridge United have tried the same approach and 26-year-old O’Connor admits it is frustrating.
“It is frustrating but it’s just part and parcel of the game,” he said.
“If the other team are beating us, they try and kill the game. They buy free-kicks and things like that. Every team is going to do that when they come to Valley Parade, especially if they are protecting a lead or hanging on for a point.”
The former Aberdeen man believes that when the boot is on the other foot, Gary Bowyer’s side are looking to kill the game off with another goal, not by delays and stoppages.
“Would we be doing it if it was the other way round? We were trying to kill it off at Stevenage the other week when they were having spells on top.”
He did admit that the size of Bradford’s ground compared to their rivals makes every home game tougher for them.
“When we played Cambridge, their goalkeeping coach was saying ‘this is our cup final’. That’s the mentality that teams are going to have just because of the stadium, the fans and everything else that goes with it.”
The Bantams are currently tenth in League Two, with 11 points from seven fixtures.
The delaying tactics are something that most clubs employ at some point. If you’re away and in front of a big home crowd, the ideal approach is to get the home fans riled, agitated and perhaps edgy with their team. That’s achieved by breaking up play, having players go down and a host of other debatable approaches.
It’s all well and good O’Connor saying his team don’t do it, but let’s see what happens if they’re 1-0 up at Exeter City in a top of the table clash; they’ll do exactly the same.
All teams do it, whether they’re playing Bradford or Macclesfield. Gung-ho football isn’t the way to get promoted.