18 mins Michael Chopra opened the scoring after
when he dummied a Steve Brennan throw before continuing his run into
the box. Carl Cort then threaded the ball to Chops who drove it in from six
yards with the goalkeeper unsuccessfully trying to block the shot. 1-0
23 mins Chopra got his and United's second five
minutes later, playing a one-two with Jamie McClen on the left hand side of the
box, then converting with an angled shot with the outside of his right foot. 2-0
28 mins A shocking decision from the ref put the
Bantams back in the game after Steven Taylor won the ball cleanly in a one on
one with Danny Forrest but the ref gave a penalty and red-carded Taylor. A
decision that had Sir Bobby on his feet in the director's box. Michael
Standing scored from the spot. 2-1
40 mins Bradford equalised five minutes before the
break when a Caldwell back pass left Collin stranded and Forrest nipped
in to plant the ball into the empty net. 2-2
45 mins A minute into first half injury time Chopra completed his hat-trick. Collin gathered a City
free-kick and threw the ball out long, over the halfway line. McClen streaked
down the right into the box, negotiated the oncoming keeper and squared to Chopra,
who walked it in from close range to complete his second home hat-trick against
Bradford in successive seasons.3-2
Half time: Newcastle Reserves 3
59 mins The visitors made it 3-3 just before the hour
mark when a corner reached Paul Reid on the edge of the area and he
whacked a rising shot through a crowd of players and past Collin.
Full time: Newcastle Reserves 3
Tommy Craig said:
"Michael stole the show. He
looked very lively and very alert. He gave us what we've been missing and that's
a finishing touch. He deserved to be on a winning team for that performance. If
he continues to improve and perform like he did last night he is going to be in
the manager's head sooner rather than later.
"I cannot really give
my analysis of the game as that would put me in trouble with the FA. But what I
will say is what promised to be a good evening for both teams turned out to be a
"And given the
circumstances the shifts that they all put in after going a man down were
superb. Unfortunately we couldn't hang onto the lead in the second half, but we were
still pushing for the winner towards the end and that was pleasing."
On a dry night in Gateshead, United were unable
to achieve their first home win of the reserve season, despite racing into a 2-0
lead against a side who had failed to register a point in their previous five
games. Bradford also more than doubled their previous goalscoring total for the
With many overseas reserve players unavailable, Tommy Craig named a side in
which only Cort had cost a fee and only Bernard and unused sub Zola weren't from
the home nations.
Bernard occupied a left midfield berth with Taylor and Caldwell together in the
centre of defence and Elliott returning to left back.
Following our reduction to ten men, we got away with three at the back until the
interval, after which we appeared in a 4-3-2 formation with Bernard retreating
down the flank and Elliott accompanying Caldwell.
An entertaining and high scoring first half ended on a high note with Chopra
completing his hat trick, but the dismissal of Taylor and penalty award fatally
undermined our chances of a victory.
In the final half hour both sides had chances
but neither showed the quality to go on and win the game, with Cort looking
particularly unimpressive against mediocre opposition.
Referee was police officer Nigel Miller from Witton Gilbert, in charge of
the second successive reserve game at Gateshead, and he almost certainly cost
At 2-0 ahead we were in no danger until the Taylor red card and penalty, and
while some keen tackling from City was ignored, both Elliott and Ferrell were
booked for fouls no worse than those deemed fair when the visitors were dishing
it out. Bentham was eventually booked by Miller, to ironic cheers from the
There were one or two good touches from Bernard out on the left, although he
still has a tendency to over-complicate things with unnecessarily fancy
footwork. No such problems for Andy Ferrell though, who gave a confident and
committed performance in midfield with some well-time challenged. At times his
final choice of pass or shot left a little to be desired, but he certainly
couldn't be faulted for effort.