Harford: Town were 'scintillating' in first half of Bantams triumph

Hatters boss Mick Harford
Hatters boss Mick Harford

Hatters boss Mick Harford hailed his side for the ‘scintillating’ first half which saw them defeat Bradford City 1-0 at the Coral Windows Stadium last night.

Despite the poor surface, howling wind and rain, Town produced some brilliant football at times in the first period, taking the lead through Jack Stacey’s 16th minute goal.

They could have added to their lead before the break, home keeper Richard O’Donnell making a number of saves, as Harford said: “It wasn’t easy, the conditions, the wind, the rain, obviously the pitch is not in great condition, but when you look at the first half, I thought some of the football was absolutely scintillating.

“We carved them open at every opportunity and the only criticism was if we’d been a bit more clinical in the final third, because in all fairness and no disrespect to anyone, the game should have been out of sight.

“The way we play, the way we moved the ball, we switched it well, got in advanced positions, got bodies in the box and I’m not sure how many attempts we had on target in the first half, but it was total domination.”

Stacey’s goal when it came was another wonderful passing move by the visitors, with Andrew Shinnie feeding the full back in to beat O’Donnell.

Harford continued: “Jack’s very athletic lad, he gets into advanced positions and I thought he took his goal exceptionally well, after a great team move.

“The way they shifted the ball around the pitch and got Jack into that space and he finished clinically.

“At that time I thought we could have maybe gone on and got two or three more goals, the amount of possession and the creativity we were playing with, but it didn’t happen.”

Town then came under some pressure in the second period, although the Bantams, under new manager Gary Bowyer, only managed one shot on target throughout the 90 mintes as they remain deep in relegation trouble.

Harford added: “Second half they came out, they had a go, very, very, very expansive team.

“When you look at the second half performance from them, looks like a team that belies their position.

“When you look at it on the face of it, they never really hurt us in terms of shots on goal, goalkeeper making lots of saves.

"Overall we did come under pressure and it was a real good defensive display in the second half from a team that looks like they know how to defend.

“The shape was good and I thought we limited them to very little opportunities.

“He’s (Bowyer) a good manager, the way he gets his team set up and he wants them to play very expansive.

“In my opinion if they carry on playing like that, if they can carry on getting those performances, then they could get themselves out of trouble.

“But we know, the lads in their know, it’s a massive, massive win for us.

“Coming here was a real difficult game for us and I’m proud of the players, the way they set about their business and how they got that result.

“The players again were absolutely spot on, they worked their socks off and they got their just rewards.”