Spotland - Rochdale
Tuesday, April 1st, 2008,
V Bradford City, League 2, 7.45pm
By Jordan Pattison
One of the shortest journeys in League 2 for the Bantams saw 1,400 City fans make the 45 min journey into Lancashire to Spotlands. Bradford’s away support is usually very good and this game was no exception, a victory would mean we could have kept clinging to a very unrealistic play off dream. Having showed reasonable form in 2008 and having last put 5 past Rochdale on my previous visit, most City fans were looking forward to this one, especially on the back of an impressive 3-1 away win at Darlington.
The journey is very quick and easy from Bradford and finding the ground is relatively easy with enough signposts to get you in the right area. Parking is very much a case of finding somewhere up one of the many streets names after famous wars and battles, we managed to get up Verdun Close, named after a battle in World War 1. The lack of nearby cash machines meant a £2.00 charge at a local garage, which for a tight fisted Yorkshire man like me, was almost enough for me to start spitting some feathers.
Hungry enough to eat a scabby donkey, we marched to the away end where we knew there was a fish shop right outside the ground, the queue was big due to our decent turnout. But that gave us plenty of time to try to work out what on earth a ‘Rag pud, chips and peas’ was. Not wanting to risk it, we stuck to the classic fish and chips and I must say it was lovely, even if it did mean eating it outside next to a drunk City fan who seemed to be allowing copious amounts of saliva fall out of his mouth for no reason. However, like every portion of chips there is always one bad chip.
We soon got into the ground and memories of scoring 5 last time were running through my mind, although this time, they were the favourites, chasing promotion themselves. Spotlands is a tidy little ground and the away stand has to be one of the best in the league for creating noise. The Dale fans to our left were the vocal ones although the seemed to have a conductor in a yellow stewards jacket who started all their chants. The banter between the two set of fans were plentiful but City’s vocal support was winning the battle of the fans.
The game was very enjoyable for about 19 seconds, until Rochdale scored their first goal. Classic City, with the phrase “lets keep it tight for the first 45” still ringing in the players ears, they proceeded to gift Rochdale a very early goal, scored by a small player (David Perkins) who turned out to be the best midfielder I had seen in League 2 so far this season. City rallied but after playing some good football recently, we seemed to be lacking ideas as Rochdale were outplaying us. When half time came we were lucky not to be 3 or 4 down.
City started the second half much better but never really created anything clear cut until we worked the ball into the box and won a penalty. We scored and most City fans expected us to push on and Rochdale to crumble. Unfortunately, Rochdale were much too strong and totally took control of the midfield, our midfield did cover every blade of grass but that was only because their touch was so bad. Which reminds me of a joke, What do Bradford’s midfield and Pete Doherty have in common…..they both get caught in possession an awful lot.
The 1-1 draw was good for neither team, that is why Bradford decided to become a generous guest as we decided to capitulate in the last few minutes and allow Rochdale to take all 3 points. As per usual the last 5 mins were classic City, conceding and then hitting the crossbar twice in the last few seconds. A 2-1 defeat and Rochdale were still on course for the play offs and City were on course for a mid table finish, I would say Rochdale look good for the play offs and the have a very strong central midfield.
Getting away was simple enough and we were soon on the motorway discussing what players we would be signing in the Summer, my real concern was would Ronaldinhio’s wife be happy with the Arndale centre in Bradford or would we have to set our sights a bit lower and go for Ibrahimovic. Rochdale is still one of my favourite league 2 away days with a great stand for away supporters and great music kicking out of the tanoy system, cant’ beat a bit of 'The Jam' on a cold Tuesday night. Still despite a last minute defeat it was a good outing and City’s away following was good in terms of quantity and quality and hope remains for next season as every other supporter in the country will feel the same.
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