Graham Alexander gets it wrong, but there's plenty more to worry about for Bradford City: final word on Notts County loss
“I had a wheelbarrow, the wheel fell off; I had a wheelbarrow, the wheel fell off” was the chant midway through the second half’.
To be fair, the wheel had fallen off much earlier for Bradford City.
The leaves are on the ground and City’s season is in pieces, unfortunately. Conceding four unanswered goals by half-time was shocking.
Departing League Two has never been further away, with the fifty-point safety mark, as opposed to the seventy-odd points that usually puts you in with a realistic chance of play-off participation, being more pertinent at the moment.
Just under a fortnight into the job, Graham Alexander has not been provided with food for thought, try more of a banquet.
His counterpart Luke Williams, in the first paragraph of his programme notes, spoke of it being 'the toughest period of his time at the club' beforehand on the back of three defeats in the previous four outings for his side.
How Alexander must wish to have some of his Notts' rivals worries.
City, quite frankly, are in a mess and it certainly preceded their current manager.. Sorting out the squad will take more than one window.
A big travelling contingent were understandably grumpy and fed up as the carnage of the first half unravelled. Owner Stefan Rupp was not exactly flavour of the month, given the missives.
To his credit, Alexander acknowledged that he got it wrong in terms of his selection and took it on the chin.
A three-man central defence looks the way forward. It is difficult to hang your hat on two Bradford centre-halves and a combination after a hellish opening.
Alexander found out about his players on the previous Saturday. The education was akin to a lecture seven days on, certainly amid a first period that you don’t forget, however hard you try.
Across the Trent, declarations can be the order of the day at one of England’s great cricket grounds. Notts must have considered their own at the interval, four goals to the good.
David McGoldrick’s warning by way of an opening was not heeded as those in black and white gorged themselves.
Understandably, the hosts clocked off psychologically with their work emphatically done by the interval.
This was no run-of-the-mill League Two side in fairness. Going forward, it was as good as it gets with McGoldrick, Dan Crowley and Macaulay Langstaff toying with City for spells. They were irresistible.
Handed a first league appearance in two months, the rust was on show regarding Lewis Richards.
It started badly. Aaron Nemane got the run on him after being supplied by a sorcerer in Crowley, who has found a home at long last.by this evidence.
His cut-back was turned in by McGoldrick and it was all the encouragement Notts needed.
City, with a local boy in Bobby Pointon provided fuel by the 2,276 travelling contingent down his side of Meadow Lane, did find their legs of sorts. But the hosts had their number.
By the interval, Pointon had been sacrificed. Clearly, no place for boys. Even if it was men against boys a good while before he exited the fray.
The floodgates opened by the Trent after 35 minutes in.
Sam Stubbs failed to cut out a pass and McGoldrick’s fierce shot was parried by Harry Lewis. The ball fell to the returning John Bostock, whose drive took a deflection off Langstaff en route to the net.
Two became three when Crowley effortlessly sent Langstaff clear. The striker was never going to miss and coolly converted his 14th goal of the campaign.
The punishment was not over as Crowley and Langstaff toyed with City’s besieged backline and this time, it was the former to benefit, with a classy curler.
Jeered off at the interval, City were effectively playing for pride in the second period. In fairness, they showed that they care and displayed character and did not let sorry for themselves, even if Notts - with the outcome in the bag - did drop off.
Tyler Smith saw a shot saved low down by Sam Slocombe and fired over. An Andy Cook header landed on the roof of the net before City had one back when Alex Gilliead’s low shot took a deflection off Richard Brindley. before nestling in the net.Seemingly chagrined, Notts awoke from their slumber with McGoldrick going close on a couple of occasions.
The next goal was a City one, in the event, with Jamie Walker’s clinical low drive reducing the arrears as Notts followers got a tad fidgety for the first time.
Small beer. It was Notts afternoon as City lost a third successive league game for the first time since last Christmas amid a season which is sadly going nowhere. Again.
Notts County: Slocombe; Brindley, Baldwin, Cameron (Rawlinson 61); Nemane, O’Brien (Gosling 74), Bostock (Austin 61), Randall (Adebayo 61); Crowley, McGoldrick (Morais 81); Langstaff. Unused substitutes: Stone, Macari.
Bradford City: Lewis; Halliday, Taylor (Platt 45), Stubbs, Richards; Pointon (Kelly 45), Gilliead, Smallwood, Walker; Smith (Wilson 71), Cook. Unused substitutes: Doyle, Osadebe, Oduor, Chapman.
Referee: T Reeves (Warwickshire).
Referee: T Reeves (Warwickshire).