By Sebastian Sternik
So what did this friendly really do in terms of Bradford’s preparation for the upcoming season? The simple answer is, not much.
As you might already know, the Magpies turned up with a no nonsense squad and picked up a solid 4-0 victory at Valley Parade.
Dwight Gayle opened the scoring early on in the second half when he converted Christian Atsu’s low cross.
Gayle’s effort was almost saved by the Bradford keeper who managed to get a hand on the strike but just lacked the strength to prevent it from going over.
No more than a couple of minutes after the restart, Newcastle doubled their lead. Jacob Murphy powered through the Bradford half, skillfully turned the ball onto his left foot and converted with a nice finish.
Next it was Aleksandar Mitrovic who got onto the scoresheet. Rolando Aarons was the man who supplied the assist as his cross allowed Mitrovic to simply pass the ball into the back of the net.
Newcastle weren’t finished there and certainly ended the match in style. Once again it was Aarons who caused more havoc down the left flank. His cross was half cleared by the Bradford defence who watched on as Murphy beautifully placed his volley into the top corner.
Despite all that, what did this friendly do for Stuart McCall’s side in terms of preparations for the upcoming season?
Apart from a couple of half chances, there were very few highs for the home side to get excited about. However, it wouldn’t be fair to blame the team, who certainly tried their hardest on the pitch but simply found themselves outclassed by a Premier League opposition.
Moreover, Bradford played that match with five men at the back. It is very unlikely that McCall’s side will play that system again during this upcoming season.
Speaking at the post-match press conference the Bradford boss said:
“It was always going to be a massive step up. We knew inside the first minute that it was a massive step up even against Sunderland, with the way they closed us down and got about the game.
“We played in a way that we’re never ever gonna play again, certainly at home. But, with the quality they had we knew we had to put out a shape that we thought could subdue them.”
With that in mind, its pretty fair to say that this was a very unproductive friendly in terms of building for the forthcoming League One campaign.
But it wasn’t all bad. With over 7,500 supporters turning out, this was one of the highest turnouts for a friendly match in recent times for the Bantams. Many of whom were just excited to finally see some football.