Bradford City 0 Southend United 2: Boo boys are out early as City's poor start continues

AUGUST is usually too early in a season for the natives to become restless but patience seems to be thin on the ground in Bradford right now.

Certainly, that seemed the case last night after a third defeat of the fledgling campaign for Peter Taylor's men led to the players leaving the field at the end of both halves to a cacophony of booing.

Not only that but the fans in the Bradford End of Valley Parade also vented their frustration by chanting 'Taylor, Taylor, sort it out' as the Bantams manager walked down the touchline at the start of half-time.

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He did his best, making three substitutions during the interval – no doubt, he would have made more if possible – in an attempt to spark his side into action.

But the trio of changes made little difference as Southend United coasted to their first away win of 2010 thanks to goals from Anthony Grant and former Sheffield Wednesday striker Barry Corr.

Even Paul Sturrock's side playing the final 14 minutes with 10 men following the dismissal of full-back Sean Clohessy failed to inspire a City fightback.

All is not lost, of course with the season being just four games old.

When City last won promotion, they started the 1998-99 season so slowly that the opening four games yielded just a solitary point.

Such a poor return didn't prevent the Bantams from going on to clinch a place in the Premier League as runners-up to Sunderland.

Whether the current crop can go on to emulate Paul Jewell's side remains to be seen, but certainly last night brought few grounds for optimism.

City were, quite frankly, awful and could have few complaints as Southend claimed a first win on the road since beating Leyton Orient on December 28.

Sloppy is the best way to sum up City's efforts.

Nowhere was this more apparent than in defence where a combination of shocking marking and poor decision-making allowed Southend to prosper.

That the Shrimpers only had one goal to show for their first-half dominance had more to do with poor finishing on the part of the visitors than anything Bradford did.

The goal Sturrock's side did score came on 16 minutes and pretty much summed up everything that was wrong with City's defending.

Twice, they spurned an opportunity to clear with the second of those failed attempts seeing Luke O'Brien present the ball to Anthony Grant on the left flank.

He then looked up before curling a cross for the unmarked Corr to control and squeeze past Jon McLaughlin from six yards.

City could not claim they hadn't been warned, either, with only a last-ditch block by Luke Oliver having earlier prevented Corr from latching on to a Josh Simpson cross after the wideman had been allowed to run 40 yards unchallenged.

Non-existent marking then presented Craig Easton with a chance only for the Southend midfielder to shoot just wide.

More profligate finishing handed City another let-off on the stroke of half-time when Ryan Hall volleyed wide after latching on to a weak punch from McLaughlin.

Bradford did create a couple of decent openings themselves in the first half with a sublime pass from Tommy Doherty sending James Hanson clear on 11 minutes only for last season's top scorer to drag his shot wide of the post.

Gareth Evans also had a 25-yard effort deflected just wide but it could not save the players from a half-time tongue-lashing from the supporters.

Taylor was clearly so incensed by what he had seen that when the second half got underway, three substitutions had been made.

The changes did little, however, to improve matters with Southend doubling their advantage just nine minutes after the restart.

Again slack marking was to blame with Corr able to nod a deep cross from Sean Clohessy back to Grant, who was afforded sufficient time and space to control before firing an unstoppable shot past McLaughlin.

City's night almost got a lot worse two minutes later when Corr was again left unmarked eight yards from goal but could not direct his header on target.

Clohessy saw red 14 minutes from time after scything down O'Brien to incur a second booking but Bradford singularly failed to take advantage with Evans only stabbing their best effort wide.

It meant that when the final whistle blew, jeering predictably followed as the patience of the long-suffering Bantams fans finally snapped.

Bradford City: McLaughlin; Hunt, Oliver, Williams, O'Brien; Daley, Hunt, Bullock (Syers 46), Doherty, Moult; Evans, Moult (Threlfall 46), Hanson (Speight 46). Unused substitutes: Saxton, Rehman, Duff, Adeyemi.

Southend United: Morris, Clohessy, Mohsni, Barker, Gilbert; Simpson, Easton, Grant, Hall (Prosser 83), Corr (Paterson 80), Sturrock (Soares 76). Unused substitutes: Evans, Coughlan, Bouzid, Herd.

Referee: P Tierney (Wigan).