Wait for a League Two win continues after 10-man County beaten by Bradford

·5-min read
PUNCH: Harry Lewis clears under pressure from County's Mickey Demetriou
PUNCH: Harry Lewis clears under pressure from County's Mickey Demetriou

NEWPORT County AFC’s winless start to the League Two campaign continued after a nightmare afternoon at Bradford City.

The Exiles suffered a red card, two injuries and shipped two goals at Valley Parade for it to be pretty much contest over before the hour.

County headed to Yorkshire buoyed by their excellent Carabao Cup win at Championship Luton but endured a horror start and finish to the first half with a pair of blows in between.

Bradford came flying out of the blocks and got their reward with a superb opener from distance by captain Richie Smallwood after six minutes.

READ MORE: Rowberry's post-match reaction

The Exiles lost Aaron Wildig and Robbie Willmott to injury before a red card in added time when central defender and last man Declan Drysdale brought down Andy Cook on the edge of the box after taking a heavy touch.

It had been an even contest after the Bantams’ bright start but the dismissal left the visitors up against it if they were to leave Yorkshire with anything.

However, Harry Chapman struck seven minutes after the resumption with a shot that Nick Townsend should have done better with.

From there the game was a little flat in the Yorkshire heat with the hosts doing a professional job to secure three comfortable points.

It was one of those days for the Exiles, although there have been too many of those days since they moved into the automatic promotion spots in last season’s run-in.

County don’t have long to lick their wounds and desperately need to end a six-game losing streak on home soil when they welcome Salford City to Rodney Parade on Tuesday.

Forget a purring performance, County could do with an ugly win courtesy of a scrappy goal.

South Wales Argus:
South Wales Argus:

Rowberry rotated his side to reward performances from the win at Luton and keep his entire squad fresh and motivated.

He made three changes to the XI that faced Walsall with Liverpool loanee Adam Lewis coming in for Will Evans at left wing-back, Willmott got the nod in central midfield ahead of Sam Bowen and Lewis Collins started up front in place of Offrande Zanzala, who was not in the matchday squad.

Bournemouth midfielder Nathan Moriah-Welsh was on the bench after international clearance for his loan move came through on Friday.

Mark Hughes made one change to the side that caused their own Carabao Cup upset against Championship Hull with Lee Angol included.

The Bantams made a rapid start with County captain Matty Dolan conceding a corner inside 20 seconds with a timely tackle before fellow stalwart Mickey Demetriou climbed high to clear the set play.

Shots came in from Angol and Scott Banks before the stunning opener from Smallwood in the seventh minute.

The Bradford captain was allowed to cut in on his left and he gave Nick Townsend no chance with a superb left-footed strike into the top right corner from outside the box.

County were then forced into an early change with Wildig, who went down before the goal, limping off to be replaced by James Waite.

They had their first effort when Omar Bogle’s looping header went a yard wide and then Lewis Collins and Waite had shots from distance that didn’t trouble Harry Lewis.

Bradford went close to a second after 21 minutes when Banks played in Angol but he could only prod wide after beating Townsend to the ball, with the keeper getting his angles right to ensure it would have been a block if on target.

The shots were flying in at both ends with Dolan hitting the wall with a free-kick before Bogle slammed the rebound straight at Lewis on 25 minutes.

County were forced into a second change with 34 on the clock when Willmott went down clutching his right hamstring, Bowen his replacement.

Bradford should have then made it 2-0 only for Banks to drag his left-footed shot wide after working his way into a good position inside the box.

The Exiles had enjoyed their moments in the first half but they suffered a disaster when reduced to 10 men in added time.

Drysdale took a heavy touch and brought down Andy Cook leaving referee Will Finnie with no option but to pull out a red card rather than a yellow one after he adjudged it was a foul rather than a coming together.

Rowberry stuck with the 10 that finished the first half for the resumption, opting for a 4-3-2, but they were soon 2-0 down.

Chapman worked his way into the box down the left and, after the booked Bennett couldn’t risk a challenge in the box, curled in a saveable shot that squirmed past Townsend.

County, perhaps with Salford in mind, made a trio of changes on the hour with Dolan replaced by Aaron Lewis at the back and Will Evans and Chanka Zimba brought on up front.

Bradford were predictably dominating but were unable to stick the knife in; it would have got really ugly had they been more cutthroat in the box.

The game drifted to its conclusion with 16,533 Bantams fans heading home happy.

Bradford: Lewis, Halliday, Platt, Crichlow, Ridehalgh, Smallwood (captain), Gilliead, Banks, Chapman, Angol, Cook. Substitutes: Oliver, Young, Sutton, East, Songo’o, Odusina, Doyle.

Goals: Smallwood, Chapman.

Yellow: Banks.

County: Townsend, Norman, Drysdale, Dolan (captain, Aaron Lewis 60), Demetriou, Adam Lewis, Willmott (Bowen 34), Bennett, Wildig (Waite 8), Bogle (Zimba 60), Collins (Evans 60).

Substitutes not used: Day, Moriah-Welsh.

Yellow: Bennett, Waite, Norman.

Red: Drysdale.

Referee: Will Finnie.

Attendance: 16,704 (171 Newport).