Verdict – Bradford City 1 Wycombe Wanderers 2: Bantams in need of reinforcements ... and fast

Sherwin Seedorf gets a shot away from Sido Jombati. Picture: Thomas Gadd.
Sherwin Seedorf gets a shot away from Sido Jombati. Picture: Thomas Gadd.
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JUST not good enough – and it hardly needed head coach Michael Collins to tell Bradford City fans that.

An opportunity to build on the midweek victory over Burton was badly missed against a Wycombe side on their second long trip of the week, having secured a draw at Plymouth.

The Bantams chief warned: “You put trust in the group but when you get a performance like that you have to question your thought process behind that.

“We have a week now to decide if we want to bring in some reinforcements and, if we feel it is necessary, then we will. If there are areas to reinforce then we will have to do it now because the window will shut and by that point you will be left with what you have got.

“If you are short then you will be short for the campaign until January. We have to sit down and decide – it was already happening but off the back of that performance that process will be sped up.”

Changing a winning side for tactical reasons did not pay off for City as the pair brought in, right-back Joe Riley and Sherwin Seedorf, failed to impress – though they were not the only ones.

Craig Mackail-Smith celebrates scoring the first goal of the game

Craig Mackail-Smith celebrates scoring the first goal of the game

Randell Williams gave Riley a testing time, especially in the first half, and the Manchester United product had the misfortune of seeing Bryn Morris’s mis-hit attempt deflect off him past a wrong-footed Richard O’Donnell in front of the Kop shortly after the break.

The City goalkeeper had been badly at fault for Wycombe’s first goal in the 28th minute, missing his attempted punch clearance from Joel Jacobson’s inswinging corner, allowing Craig Mackail-Smith to race in and head home on the line.

If only the City players had matched the effervescent display of the 34-year-old former Scotland striker then they would not have had to endure the boos which rang out well before the interval.

Collins changed things around by withdrawing Seedorf, back from a gashed foot, and Hope Akpan.

It was not good enough on far too many levels but the most obvious one was the lack of intensity in our play from the get-go. We were very slow in everything that we did.

Michael Collins

Apart from forcing Sido Jombati to clear over his bar as Eoin Doyle crossed from the right in the early stages, winger Seedorf was patently unsuited to the No 10 role which his coach felt would have unsettled the visitors through his speed.

Boro loanee striker George Miller, 20, replaced the Wolves loanee and 19-year-old Luca Colville came on for Akpan, who had failed to get grips with Wycombe’s marauding midfield men.

Sean Scannell, who had tested Wycombe out wide in the first period, also gave way to a troublesome groin and the introduction of another young player, Jordan Gibson, 20, added to the life and urgency injected into City’s play by Colville.

But that came after the important second goal, Dominic Gape clipping the ball into the path of the onrushing Morris, who still claimed the deflected goal though the eight-yard attempt looked covered by O’Donnell, who made a series of saves to deny a bigger scoreline.

Making an impact: Michael Harriman tackles Luca Colville, who came off the bench to give City hope with his late strike. Picture: Thomas Gadd

Making an impact: Michael Harriman tackles Luca Colville, who came off the bench to give City hope with his late strike. Picture: Thomas Gadd

At least Gibson caused Wycombe some anxious moments from the right flank, his cross-shot forcing Ryan Allsop to palm the ball away from under his bar.

Finally, after Jack Payne’s cross was met by Miller’s far-post downward header which Allsop’s left hand prevented Eoin Doyle from applying the finishing touch, Gibson set up City’s reply.

It came just before five minutes of stoppage time were signalled when Gibson drilled the ball into the area and a ricochet enabled the determined Colville to strike home from 14 yards.

Miller’s shot on the turn was blocked to deny an equaliser City but that would have been rough justice on the promoted Chairboys, who claimed their first win of the season.

It is back to the drawing board for Collins ahead of Saturday’s trip to Fleetwood and while he has plenty of youthful enthusiasm within his squad he may have to bring in some experience before Thursday’s deadline.

The City chief did not attempt to gloss over his side’s failings against a side which Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth claimed had the smallest budget in the division.

“I am not going to make any excuses. That was not good enough,” said Collins. “It was not good enough on far too many levels but the most obvious one was the lack of intensity in our play from the get-go. We were very slow in everything that we did.

“That lack of urgency and combined with the fact that Wycombe came with the bit between their teeth was enough for them to take the points.

“I expected a lot better than that. It should not take a 19-year-old footballer making his fourth competitive appearance to come on and show everybody else what they should be doing out there on the pitch. His endeavour, his enthusiasm to get on the ball and show bravery made a big difference to us but by that point it was too late.

“It was not good enough and will be quickly addressed. There is no point hiding away. We have to show far more for this football club. You have to give the fans something to grab hold of and get behind.”

Bradford City: O’Donnell, Riley, McGowan, O’Connor, Chicksen; Scannell (Gibson 64), Akpan (Colville 56), Wright, Payne; Doyle, Seedorf (Miller 56). Unused substitutes: Wilson, Mellor, Bruenker, Staunton.

Wycombe Wanderers: Allsop, McCarthy, Jombati, Stewart, Jacobson; Gape; Harriman, Morris, Bloomfield (Saunders 84), Williams (Freeman 75); Mackail-Smith (Akinfenwa 71). Unused substitutes: Ma-Kalambay, Bean, Kashket, Thompson.

Referee: M Heywood (Cheshire).