Notts County 4 Bradford City 2: Fans display anger after Bantams' season hits embarrassing low at half-time after being mauled by four-some Magpies

AFTER a very underwhelming and distinctly unsatisfactory opening third to 2023-24, Bradford City’s season descended to an embarrassing low by the Trent at half-time.

All played out to a watching televised audience across the country as well.

A pitiful, embarrassing defensive performance in the first half was ruthlessly exposed by a Notts side who enjoyed a feast.

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They ripped through Bradford like a knife through butter at times and found the net four times. It could have been even worse, in truth.

Notts County's Daniel Crowley looks on after scoring their sides fourth goal during the Sky Bet League Two match against Bradford City. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.Notts County's Daniel Crowley looks on after scoring their sides fourth goal during the Sky Bet League Two match against Bradford City. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.
Notts County's Daniel Crowley looks on after scoring their sides fourth goal during the Sky Bet League Two match against Bradford City. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.

The visitors simply could not cope and Macauley Langstaff, Dan Crowley and David McGoldrick in particular all had City’s number. They looked levels above them and there was a huge gulf in class.

Notts helped themselves to three goals in the final ten minutes of the opening period to augment David McGoldrick’s opener.

City’s penance in the fourth tier has never looked further away from ending, certainly in terms of the direction they wish to travel.

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It was hard not to feel sympathy for the sizeable travelling support who headed down the M1 to Nottingham - shelving out despite the game being on television and the festive season not too far away.

They were massively short-changed, with their angst interspersed with chants calling on owner Stefan Rupp to sell the club and leave.

For new manager Graham Alexander, who watched the horror unfold, there was not food for thought but more of a banquet as he scribbled notes and was deep in conversation with assistant Chris Lucketti.

The second half was about pride as Alexander will have been no doubt stating at half-time. In fairness, City’s players stuck out their chests and had a go and showed their mettle in fairness.

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It was the less that their band of 2,276 travelling supporters deserved.

A strike from Alex Gilliead deflected off Richard Brindley to reduce the arrears a few minutes before the hour mark.

A low angled shot from Jamie Walker on 75 minutes made things slightly interesting. Another certainly would have.

Unfortunately, the earlier damage - make that devastation - had been done.

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Notts may concede too many home goals for their manager’s liking, but going forward, they can look irresistible.

The misery for Bradford started early after just five minutes.

Crowley, who had an absolute beano, spotted the run of Aaron Nemane. Lewis Richards, in his first league appearance for two months, dozed off for a split second and it was enough.

Nemane was away and cut the ball to David McGoldrick, a class act who does not miss those sort of chances from close in.

The mutinous chants soon began from Bradfordians.

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Langstaff netted a rebound after City were exposed again, but an offside flag spared the visitors. There was scant respite after.

Langstaff soon fired wide after Richards error and while City did hint at getting a toehold into the game, chiefly thanks to the energy and vim of local boy Bobby Pointon, it was illusionary.

A brilliant reaction save from Lewis kept out Langstaff’s point-blank header, with Crowley’s follow up just off target, while at the other end, Andy Cook headed straight at Slocombe after a move instigated by Pointon.

And then the floodgates opened by the Trent.

Sam Stubbs failed to cut out a pass and McGoldrick’s fierce shot was parried by Lewis. The ball fell to the returning John Bostock, whose drive took a deflection off Langstaff en route to the net.

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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 showed character and did not let sorry for themselves, even if Notts - with the outcome in the bag - did psychologically drop off.

Tyler Smith saw a shot saved low down by Slocombe and fired over. A 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.

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Seemingly chagrined, Notts awoke from their second-half slumber with McGoldrick going close on a couple of occasions.

The next goal was a City one, in the event, with Walker’s clinical low drive reducing the arrears as Notts followers got a tad fidgety for the first time.

But it was Notts afternoon as City lost a third successive league game for the first time since last Christmas.

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.

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Bradford City: Lewis; Halliday, Taylor (Platt 45), Stubbs, Richards; Pointon (Kelly 45), Gilliead, Smallwood, Walker; Smith (Wilson 70), Cook. Unused substitutes: Doyle, Osadebe, Oduor, Chapman.

Referee: T Reeves (Warwickshire).

Attendance: 11,909 (2,276 Bradford City fans).