Match report posted by Richard (view the full thread on the forum )
Twelve hundred Town fans made the long journey to Yorkshire to see Swindon sign off their championship winning season with a dull 0-0 draw at Bradford - but the scenes of celebration at the end of the game made the long journey absolutely worthwhile. For most of the match, the game and accompanying atmosphere almost resembled a pre-season friendly, but it perked up in the last thirty minutes or so - the home side should really have put the game to bed, shocking finishing the only reason that the scores remained level.
Awful traffic meant that I took my seat just after the teams had entered the field - I missed the guard of honour that the Bradford players gave as the Swindon team entered the field - but was seated in time for the perfectly observed minute’s silence for the fifty-six people who tragically lost their lives at Valley Parade in the fire disaster of 1985.
The home side seemed very much up for it from the off - immediately pressing the Town back and out of their usual passing game, and the opening fifteen minutes was pretty much all Bradford - though they never worked a clear sight of goal, there were a couple of long range efforts that warmed Wes Foderingham’s hands, and more than one moment of panic in the Town area, with defenders having to throw themselves in front of Bradford attempts on goal.
Swindon’s first raid into Bradford territory came on the quarter hour, when some interpassing between Ritchie, Ferry and Nathan Thompson on the right flank was brought to an abrupt end by a late flying tackle on the latter - Rob Kozluk booked for the challenge which eventually forced Thompson to retire injured. Matt Ritchie swung the free-kick into the area, and at first Bradford looked troubled - a defender almost heading it across the face of his own goal, only for the ball to ricochet off the back of another defender, who eventually cleared for a throw. Paul Caddis threw it back into the box, and it was nodded down for Ritchie on the edge of the area - the Town winger made a hash of his shot though, the ball coming off the top of his boot, flying high and wide.
The rest of the half was pretty dire stuff, with Bradford still looking the most likely - a couple of attacks were broken down by silly fouls from home players - a dangerous looking corner stopped with a push, and most notably a long-range free-kick which forced Foderingham down to save well, but again the referee had already blown for a push in the wall. When they did get shots on at goal, the Bantams were wasteful - either shooting weakly straight at Foderingham, or in the case of Kyel Reid, way off-target after a quick break threatened to catch the Town defence out.
The closest they came was in injury time, when a shot from Nakhi Wells across goal had Foderingham again diving to push away - the ball dropping loose in the six yard box, before Aden Flint showed good composure to control and fire away.
The second half started in much the same vein as the first, with little in the way of goalmouth action - Bostock and Ritchie having shots easily saved by Bantams keeper McLaughlin - but with half-an-hour left, the home side finally created a couple of clear-cut scoring chances that their play had generally deserved, but the finishing was woeful.
Bradford had already spurned one golden opportunity, when the ball fell in the penalty area in a central position, Nakhi Wells only able to stab the ball wide when it seemed easier to have hit the target - but the chance of the game fell to 23 on David Syers on 66 minutes. The Bradford midfielder, bursting forward into the attack, did brilliantly to control a through ball from Will Atkinson - with the ball behind him, he managed to flick the ball in front of him to run onto with the back of his boot - and with the Town defence nowhere to be seen, he was through on Foderingham. He showed absolutely no confidence in front of goal though, taking an eternity to set himself, making it obvious that he was placing the ball to the Town keeper's left side - Foderingham closing him down to block.
The Bantams were well on top at this point, and their crosses into the box were causing all sorts of problems - Foderingham punching one away from right under the crossbar, then moments later having to do the same again. As he connected with the second one though, he was clattered by a Bradford forward player - Syers showed the finishing prowess he lacked previously, smashing the ball into the top corner. It was obviously going to be a foul, which made the Bradford celebrations a little surprising and rather amusing - and for a period, it got feisty on and off the pitch - stewards having to come and stand between the two sets of fans - but it at least raised the atmosphere.
It also seemed to prompt Swindon's best spell off the game - the Town finishing the stronger of the two sides. Miles Storey won a crunching tackle in the middle of the park, and fed Ritchie on the flank - the Town winger choosing to cut inside and shoot rather than use one of the other options ahead of him, and the keeper wasn't troubled.
A quick breakaway saw Swindon three-on-two with the Bradford defence, Bostock taking the ball on, then slipping in Caddis who in turn let in Rooney, who cut inside and fired just wide. Soon after, Rooney was brought down on another run, Caddis shot from the free kick and though it was on target, it was too central, and the keeper tipped over the bar. Benson also shot just wide after swivelling to shoot in the area, but in truth, the angle was too acute for him to ever have troubled the goal.
With two minutes remaining, Swindon were denied what seemed a certain penalty. After a poor corner had been cleared, the ball was lifted to the back post, where Aden Flint challenged with a defender - Flint won the header, and attempted to direct it across the face of goal, but it was prevented from doing so by the arm of his marker. There was no question that the ball had been blocked with the arm, and the arm was outstretched above the defender's head - right in front of the away support, everyone called for it, but inexplicably the referee waved the appeals away.
The referee played no injury time whatsoever - and though few of the home fans stuck around for their ‘lap of appreciation’ (much the same as our ‘lap of dishonour’ last season), the travelling Swindon fans were treated to their third celebration of the last three games. The undoubted highlight was a moment when di Canio sat sat all of his players down, and gestured for the Town fans to hush - when all was quiet, the Town boss prompted a chorus of 'stand up for the champions' - top class stuff - and though the game was perhaps not as we would have liked to have ended the season, the ten minutes afterwards were well worth the entrance fee alone.