Accrington Stanley 2 Bradford City 0: Taylor suffers Bantams defeat

FORMER England Under-21 coach Peter Taylor now knows what a huge job he has on his hands after his Bradford City players largely failed their auditions at Crown Ground.

With many out of contract at the end of the season, Saturday's game could well be a taste of things to come for some as Accrington Stanley are a non-league club in terms of ground and facilities – though their band of fans are Premier League in terms of vociferous support.

If they do not want to be playing outside the Football League next season, then the City players have just 16 games left to impress Taylor, who aims to be given the job on a permanent basis in the summer.

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Taylor has taken both Hull and Wycombe out of the basement division so knows what sort of characters are needed for a promotion fight.

Only two outfield players impressed the man who took over from club legend Stuart McCall – goalkeeper Matt Glennon could do little to prevent either goal following sloppy defending.

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"I thought Michael Flynn and Lee Bullock were good today, they pushed on like good leaders but we needed a few more of them," said Taylor, who could well have a loan signing brought in ahead of tomorrow's trip to leaders Rochdale.

Taylor's long-time No 2 Junior Lewis is also due at Valley Parade today to help with coaching, though it was stressed that Wayne Jacobs will continue to be assistant manager.

There were few changes to the side Jacobs named for the previous week's goalless draw at home to Grimsby, though captain Simon Ramsden was switched with Zesh Rehman from central defence to right-back and Gareth Evans and James Hanson were handed the starting roles up front.

City, in mid-table limbo, eventually finished fielding a 3-4-3 formation as they chased the game, strikers Michael Boulding and Peter Thorne being thrown into the fray.

Taylor explained: "I have people in mind who I want to bring in but it really was a case of having a good look today as it's the first time I have seen some of them play. I have been around a little bit so I have got some players in mind and I think we do need some."

It could have been a different outcome had Hanson not fluffed a close-range opportunity shortly after the goalless first half.

Stanley's response was swift thanks to a winger who evoked memories both in looks and style to former Chelsea and Scotland star Pat Nevin.

John 'Silky' Miles had given Ramsden a tough time in the first half and he cut in from the left as Robert Grant flicked on a ball down the middle past the pedestrian Matt Clarke to knock the ball over the onrushing Glennon in the 54th minute.

Glennon went full length to prevent Miles making it 2-0 but the same player wrapped up victory in the 87th minute.

Former City striker Michael Symes made a run down the right and drilled a low cross beyond the far post. Miles, unmarked, was given plenty of time to move inside and tuck the ball home in front of the City fans packed into the open end.

Glennon, who had a short association with Taylor at Hull, admitted: "That was not the best start to give our new manager. We didn't play particularly well either. It was very awkward out there on a horrible, bobbly, sticky pitch but we did not make the best of it.

"We defended quite well in parts but two lapses of concentration and we have lost 2-0."

Glennon, still smarting at not being given a chance to impress Lee Clark at Huddersfield, being 'rested' five days before he took charge after making 122 consecutive appearances, was particularly annoyed by the manner of Stanley's goals.

"When I came in a month ago we were a little bit all over the place but over the last two or three games I thought we had started getting a little bit more solid and I thought we had ironed out those little lapses. I thought we had a established a decent relationship but that broke up a little bit today and allowing a midfield runner to score two goals isn't great."

Glennon, enjoying a return to first-team action but not the results following a successful minor knee operation, believes Taylor can galvanise City. "I think he's going to bring more organistation and confidence into the team. He has a lot of experience and organisational ability. We are going to learn more about what he wants us to do over the next fortnight but I'm sure today wasn't it."

Accrington Stanley: Dunbavin, Lees, Kempson, Edwards, Winnard; Ryan, Joyce, Procter, Miles; Grant, Symes. Unused substitutes: Bouzanis, Kee, McConville, Turner, Murphy, King, Flynn.

Bradford City: Glennon, Ramsden, Rehman (Thorne 83), Clarke, O'Brien; Neilson (Osborne 69), Flynn, Bullock, Brandon (M Boulding 60); Hanson, Evans. Unused substitutes: McLaughlin, Williams, Bateson, O'Leary.

Referee: T Kettle (Rutland).

MATCH FOCUS

Hero: Michael Flynn

The distribution of Flynn could have been better but City's central midfield man made some great tackles and challenging headers, showing good positional sense as well as helping to plug the gaps at the back.

Villain: Trevor Kettle

It was undoubtedly the right decision but City fans must surely have wished after their team's abject display that the referee had not given the game the go-ahead following a noon pitch inspection.

Key moment

46th minute: James Hanson side-foots Simon Ramsden's free-kick onto the roof of the net from inside the six-yard area.

Ref watch

Trevor Kettle: The Rutland official did not have a busy afternoon and none of his decisions affected the outcome.

Verdict

Peter Taylor needs to restore City's confidence and a couple of loan signings may just refresh the squad as the new manager plans for next season.

Next game

Rochdale v Bradford City, League Two, tomorrow, 7.45pm.

Quote of the day

Unfortunately, they are not in the position that everybody expects them to be so they have dropped their standards on too many match days – one of them was today.

– City manager Peter Taylor.

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A second half double from John Miles ensured Peter Taylor's debut as Bradford City ended in defeat.

Over 1800 hundred City fans had made the short journey across the Pennines to see the beginning of the Taylor era, but they were left disappointed as the Bantams lost out in a tight encounter.