REPORT: Fun in the sun as fans enjoy watching the confident Bantams

REPORT: Fun in the sun as fans enjoy watching the confident Bantams

THE new black and white stripes have sparked a pot of reaction among City fans.

Either you like the vastly different look of the away kit as something completely out of the ordinary – or you complain about the use of an alien color combination in the club’s history.

But then think back to the heartache City had the year they became ‘cherries of tension’ and ended the most memorable season since the Premier League.

If the Newcastle/Juventus look delivers results in the ‘real’ games like Saturday’s debut at York, no one will grumble.

It was one of the occasions when watching City was a joy; incisive passes, good movements and clinically taken goals and all played under an absolutely glorious sun.

Undermining conditions inhibited tempo but not smarter use of the ball so as not to waste possession and precious energy.

“The ball is obviously going to move faster than the players,” said a very pleased Mark Hughes.

“If you get the tempo right for your game, your passing is nice and crisp and precise, which it was, then you’re going to move people around and they’re going to be disappointed.”

York was certainly what the approximately 900 traveling fans savored on their first trip to the Minstermen’s tidy community home. It was a tasty appetizer before the main course within a fortnight.

City were still without half a dozen players, whether playing pre-season fitness catch-up in the case of Vadaine Oliver, a few knocks or even returning from injury/surgery like the two missing full-backs .

But Brad Halliday made a very positive finish down the right where he was a willing presence marauding forward in the third attack.

It was also good to see Levi Sutton back in action, first as Halliday’s defensive replacement before returning to midfield.

On an afternoon when Hughes used 19 outfielders, only Reece Staunton went the distance like Finn Cousin-Dawson had against Derby. “Paying their dues” smiled Hughes when asked about the young duo’s stamina.

Richie Smallwood embodied the patience that the manager liked most in his team’s performance.

Surely the captain-in-waiting, the former Hull skipper seemed to operate at a leisurely pace at times as he let the ball do the work.

But most of the good stuff seemed to come from him and his delivery accuracy frequently sought out Emmanuel Osadebe and Lee Angol playing the wider roles to support Andy Cook.

Kian Harratt, right, spins to score City’s fourth goal

Granted, you still factor in the opposition in these pre-season games, but Smallwood already seems a cut above.

Another encouraging sight was the hunger of Cook, who confidently hid his goal and dominated the centre-halves with his hold-up play.

Cook was involved in the build-up to City’s first goal in the 14th minute, exchanging passes with Angol who was sent off to Kian Scales for a well-placed finish on the keeper.

The second came after a corner returned to taker Jamie Walker. Angol had the slightest touch on his follow-up cross, but Cook had found room eight yards out to meet him with a hard-hitting half-volley that flew past a startled Ryan Whitley.

York has reinvented its team since promotion to the National League with 15 signings – but hadn’t lifted a glove on the Bantams.

And despite massive changes at the break, with defender Maxim Kouogun the only remaining starter, they found themselves three short shortly after.

City had swapped six but Angol was still in place and made his presence felt by moving behind the home defense to beat new goalkeeper Ethan Ross.

With Cook out, Kian Harratt and Jake Young were eager to add more – Young’s enthusiasm getting the better of him with a flurry halfway through that he ran straight out of play.

The pair then combined deftly to bring the former Forest Green man into the box, but his dinked shot was blocked well by Ross.

Experienced frontman Lenell John-Lewis pulled one back for the hosts to briefly make a contest of. But City restored their three-goal lead when Sutton’s low cross found Harratt, who spun in the box and hammered him into the roof of the net.

YORK: Whitley, Fallowfield, Whittle, Kouogun, Sanders, Greaves, Burgess, Hancox, Kouhyar, Boden, Duku.

Second half: Ross, Trialist, Kouogun, Crookes, Whittle, Mafuta, McLaughlin, Dyson, Hurst, John-Lewis, James.

TOWN: Lewis, Halliday (Sutton 46min), Platt (Songo’o 46min), Staunton, Foulds (Crichlow 46min), Smallwood (East 46min), Osadebe (Young 46min), Scales (Wood 77min), Walker (Threlkeld 62min), Angol ( Cousin-Dawson 62min), Cook (Harratt 46min).


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